Okay, so I learned I’m a baritone. And that I’m not tone deaf. Am I an preternaturally talented, just undiscovered?


I tell people I’m “karaoke-trained” because I am. As opposed to classically trained. So I’m more Monkey hear, monkey sing. All those long car rides and a 50-song long Spotify playlist of songs I sorta know the words to. Lots of practice.

So when a music teacher friend started playing “Let It Go” on the piano in the normal key, I was able to hit the right notes. But when he dropped it an octave to compensate for my singing it an octave below where Idina Menzel sings it, I got lost because the chords became unfamiliar. Thus are the consequences of karaoke training. Being guided by the already recorded vocals, being subject to the inbuilt cues of the original song as opposed to knowing beats and timing, and not being able to hear when one is off-key, because you may end up harmonizing/being drowned out by the actual vocal track.

Where do I go from here? Well, I’m not gonna give it up. I’m told the best way to get better is to record myself singing and listen to it over and over. Which I’ve done a little bit. And my pitch accuracy improves once I sing acapella without any backing music. But then I run into problems with timing and tempo. That’s where I need that refresher on the fundamentals of music. All those years of piano and what stuck? Not enough. I’m not tone deaf but I can’t do that thing where you identify a note just from hearing it. Whatever that’s called. I dunno. I really would like to take a music theory class. Just to pick up all these terms.

Apparently there’s a term for that point where I have to “jump” from my normal speaking range into a falsetto to hit high notes: the break. It’s annoying because I have to drop an octave to sing pop songs done by tenors. I recorded myself singing “Shut up and Dance”, listened to it, and immediately deleted it because I thought it sounded absolutely terrible sung an octave below the original.

Not everybody can sing every song. I know that. I for sure can’t sing a vast array of pop songs out there, because… I don’t know how to “cover” a song. Make it my own. Put my own spin on it. Maybe fundamentals of music will let me get there. My first voice lesson is Tuesday. My teacher’s name is Ryan.

One Response to “Song”

  1. Dylan says:

    Perfect Pitch*
    And unfortunately, you are either born with it or you just don’t have it. However, with enough training you can develop excellent “Relative Pitch”. That is, you hear a certain tone, and then can identify a secondary tone based on the interval.

    Keep up with the music, and I hope Ryan is a good teacher. Let me know if you should need any recording advice.

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