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Published December 25th 2013
Ever wanted to learn how to sing? It's never too late and best of all you can do it in your free time.
Singing in front of the mirror can become a reality image istockphoto.com
I don't believe there's a person in the world who hasn't posed in front of a mirror, hairbrush in hand, dreaming about the life of a rock star, adored by millions of fans, and leading the high life.
But Jon Bon Jovi, Pink, Justin Bieber, Robbie Williams, One Direction, and Beyonce had to all start somewhere. They didn't wake up one day and were suddenly famous, they all had to work at it.
The wonderful thing about singing is you can start to master it no matter what age you are. We've all heard people say 'I'm tone deaf' or 'I can't sing to save my life'. Like many things, some people are born with talent, others have to work at it. In the end like any sport, hobby or career, it's the dedication and commitment you have to achieving what it is you want. Do you want to sing as a hobby or do you want to make it a career?
I had always wanted to sing from an early age and have been fortunate that 25 years later, I'm still working in a rewarding industry.
It has been proven that singing can also help with health and well being. It gives you confidence, helps depression and anxiety, lowers blood pressure and stress levels, releases 'feel good' endorphins, gives your lungs and body a workout and the feeling you've achieved something meaningful.
Joining a local choir group gives you a sense of belonging
Singing is also a popular social activity, with many people joining community theatre groups, karaoke nights, choir and church groups. This improves social and communication skills, strengthens team work skills, and gives you a feeling of inclusion and acceptance. TV shows such as The Voice, Idol and The X-Factor have viewers tuning in just to hear people sing, because it makes them feel good.
So where do you start? Singing in the shower is just the beginning! The voice is like a muscle, the more you exercise it, the more you get results. You need to learn about pitch, scales, placement, breathing and how you bring your voice to life - that will be unique to you.
Find a good singing teacher with credible experience and start training your voice. If you can't afford lessons each week, or you're feeling shy, you can train in your own home. You can find exercises online or sign up to a course. I would highly recommend a teacher to supervise your progress as they can hear and see what you're doing - you don't know if you could be damaging your voice. A site I can recommend through my experience is Galt Singing Lessons.
Sing to backing tracks, record yourself, and listen back to it, you'll be surprised how that helps with keeping in tune. Try not to copy other singers, develop your own style, just like they have developed their singing style. Sing as often as you can, drink lots of water, cut down on coffee (tightens and restricts the vocal cords), milk (layers your vocal cords with phlegm) and alcohol (will constrict and dehydrate the vocal cords). Most importantly, get lots of sleep.
I know of a man in his late 60's who surprised his daughter at her wedding, singing her a song after taking singing lessons privately in his home without telling anybody. It's never too late to learn. Older people are taking up singing later in life, as are young children starting early. The one thing about singing is it's free, and you can take it up when you feel you're ready to. You can also sing wherever and whenever you feel comfortable.
Dedicate yourself to your craft, you won't learn how to sing after half a dozen lessons, look at the bigger picture and aim for results in the long term. You need to be passionate, committed and work towards improving and strengthening your voice daily. Let your hair down at a karaoke bar with friends, it's a great way to perform in front of an audience and gain confidence.
You never know where your singing will lead to and what doors will open. You may get into a band where you can earn extra money doing something you love. You may get into a musical. You may join a choir or community group. You may write a hit song and get signed to a record company. Whatever it is you want to achieve, singing is fun and that's why birds are always happy!