Learning to Sing at 40


In August of last year, I started taking voice lessons. Mind you, with the exception of karaoke for the last 2 years, I’ve never sung in front of anyone since 2nd grade.

Here’s some reasons why part of my brain says starting voice lessons at the age of 39 is silly:

  1. My mom always told me I couldn’t sing and its genetic and there’s nothing I could do about my inability to sing
  2. When I did record my voice, it didn’t sound anything like the radio
  3. I hate the sound of my speaking voice
  4. I’ve never been “good” at music, even after having a guitar for 20 years (and having a bunch of musician friends)
  5. I’m almost 40. its a little late to start, ya know. By the time I get “good”, I’ll be in a wheelchair with an oxygen mask.

Well, 4 months later, I’m still at it… despite my mom’s shock.  And while my voice instructor compares me to a baby learning to walk, I actually can feel and hear the improvement and my confidence at karaoke is way higher. I’ll be blogging on my progress and what I learn, but here’s my first reflections:

  1. What nobody told me, or perhaps realized, was that my voice is actually pretty low — its hard for me (especially with my limited range) to sing many pop songs on the radio because pop music today tends to be a lot higher (e.g. tenor-y). I’m a baritone. A bassy baritone. So thats really good to know… which leads to..
  2. I actually like my voice when I’m singing on key. And I think I’ve “found my voice”. Thats huge – the first psychological hurdle.
  3. My ego is pretty intact even though I know I can’t really sing well yet. For example, while I’ve see 7 year old kids singing “better” than me, I know that I’ll get there someday (yes, I aspire to sing as good as a 7 year old). In reality, I actually believe I can get a lot better with a ton of work that I’m excited to undertake.
  4. I want to sing in front of other people. Singing is largely about self-expression, and if nobody wants to listen to you sing, then you are self-expressing to yourself. Thats really the same as shower-singing. I don’t really need lessons to do that.
  5. I have to start singing with other people. This is hard, both because of my social awkwardness and also because I’m intimidated singing with people who are good musicians or singers. I need to find an encouraging supportive environment in which to sing with others (singers or musicians)…

And so I write this blog entry to push myself to take the next step and sing more with others. As I mentioned in twitter:

I don’t got New Years Resolutions for 2013… I got PLANS!

Who’s in?


2 thoughts on “Learning to Sing at 40

  1. Singing is 100% air, and 99% of that goes to vowels. Just remember to breathe, and you’ll be fine.

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