For as long as I can remember, I have always been around music. I can recall as a child waking up on Saturday mornings to the sound of my dad playing the electric piano. Even though he had his headphones in, the keys made a rhythmic clinking sound. I would watch him play, and often times he would let me sit with him and show me just which keys to hit.
My grandmother was always singing. Whatever task she was working on, there was always a melody to go with it. Mom too. Family get-togethers always consisted of everyone bringing a guitar or some other stringed instrument and singing late into the night.
Dad was our church pianist and mom played the organ. My uncle Jack was the choir director. For us, music was a family affair.
My Mamaw would sit me up on the couch and prop her guitar on me, supported by pillows because I was too small to hold it. Even though I didn’t know how to play, I sure pretended like I did. Eventually, she taught me to play my first few chords.
I was privileged to have been surrounded by music since I was a kid. When others sang, it was only natural that I sang along.
Being a worship leader, people often tell me “I can’t sing.” The list of excuses go on: “I’m tone-deaf!” “You don’t want to hear me sing!” And my favorite, “What I do isn’t even a joyful noise.”
But I have great news! EVERYONE CAN SING! The ability to sing doesn’t come from a toss of the genetic dice. If you can speak, you can learn to sing. Although the quality of the voice is dependent on many factors, barring a physical vocal disability, everyone can learn to sing.
Don’t take my word for it. Go ahead. It’s worth a Google.
The primary factor in a person’s musical ability is the environment in which they grew up. Children surrounded by parents, siblings or other adults who sing grow up to be singers.
You may wonder why I am making such a big deal about singing. Well, because God did. Sometimes it’s just not cool. In high school, I didn’t exactly win the popularity contest simply because I made the All-State Choir. It doesn’t win you the macho award for being a great singer. However, God commands us to sing.
We often times forget that God has a passion for singing. “Oh sing to the Lord a new song. Sing to the Lord all the earth.” – Psalm 96
In Zephaniah, we see that God himself is singing over us! Wow! Jesus sang hymns with his disciples. So we worship a God who sings!
The Bible contains over 400 references to singing and 50 of them are direct commands to sing. We’re commanded twice in the New Testament to sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16)
So how do you teach a self proclaimed “bad singer” to sing?
You have to admit that you can learn to sing. Think of singing as talking, but on pitch. It does require you to be a little uncomfortable at first and get a little out of your “speaking voice.” It requires a little more air.
Relax. Don’t try to strain your voice to sound like Elvis or Celine. We typically speak in a lower range than we sing. So just relax your voice and use your breath to support and produce the sound. You know, like you do in the shower.
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t sound “great.” Remember, great singers have been practicing and working out their vocal muscles for years. Once your vocal instrument is up and running, the ability to sing well is dependent on practice. I wouldn’t expect to start running today and win a race next week. I would have to exercise and work at it.
Don’t worry about what others think. You aren’t singing for them anyway. Your song should be directed at and glorifying God. It’s not about the others. Who cares if you didn’t quite hit the high note? It’s all good.
Practice. So are you ready to find your “singing voice?” One of the best ways to do this is practice. Singing in our congregation is a great way to sharpen your skill.
Join the choir! We have fun. There is no audition. And we are packed with singers of all skill levels. It’s a great place to learn how to sing. We even accept the “tone-deaf” people. (By the way, if you were truly tone-deaf, you wouldn’t even recognize your friends voices on the phone when they call.)
Get your children around musical people! Don’t rob them of gift of singing freely and worshiping through singing. Singing is much easier to teach to a child than an adult. The earlier the better. We have incredible children choirs at Stuart Heights.
Singing isn’t an option in Scripture. It’s a command.
Colossians 3:16: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
Ephesians 5:18-19: “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart…”
God’s people are more than just invited to sing – we are commanded to sing. When we sing, we’re doing what God asks of us!
So next Sunday, during worship, go ahead and decide you are going to sing. Maybe start out by at least lip-syncing. Just move your lips. Checking Facebook or constantly looking at your watch doesn’t exactly encourage the choir and band. You can even smile if you like.
And remember, we are all there for the same purpose, to Glorify God.