I remember the day I found out I couldn't sing. I had sung all my life, from a small child, but never with accompaniment, and only for my own enjoyment. I was 18 when I decided I wanted to be a professional singer. When I say "wanted to be" I mean desperate to be. By then I was convinced that it was who I was, and what I was born to do.
On my 19th birthday, my aunt gave me a gift voucher for singing lessons with a well-known local singing teacher. I was beside myself with excitement and anticipation. I was going to finally make my biggest dream a reality. I had never been for singing training before, but I was certain it was going to be wonderful.
I arrived for my first lesson, which was an assessment, to find out what type of range I had, what sort of voice I had, and what kind of singing I wanted to focus on. The singing teacher seemed very nice, and after chatting for a few minutes, she took me through a set of breathing exercises which, she explained would help to support the voice while singing. I was eager to get on with the singing, but patiently followed her breathing instructions.
Finally, we went over to the piano, and she asked me to sing the notes she played. She played just one note at a time, and I was to sing that note. Which I did. At least, I thought I did. However, she stopped, looked at me with a frown and asked me if I'd ever had vocal training before. I said I hadn't, but had always sung for pleasure, right from a child. She asked me how old I was, and when I told her, she announced that at my age it was near to impossible for me to learn to sing in tune.
I was devastated. I left the lesson feeling numb. I was sure I'd never even hum again, never mind try to sing. I didn't want to open my mouth at all. Even to speak.
A few days later, my aunt (who had received a refund for the singing lessons I had been rejected from) was telling a friend, who was a professional singer and director, what the teacher had said. The friend exclaimed that it was nonsense, and that she didn't care what the singing teacher had said, she would help me to sing. It took a while, and my confidence has always been tainted by the teacher's comment, but I have now made my living as a professional singer for over 30 years. My hope is that that teacher never said the same thing to anyone else. I'm stubborn and refused to accept I would never live my dream, but someone who is more sensitive, or who didn't have the wonderful friend I had, who helped me to develop my talent, may never even try.
Thank you and May God bless you!
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