The new series of X-Factor have just started. I’ve blogged extensively in the past about the tragic televisual car accident that is ‘reality’ TV talent shows. The thing that I think is most sad about this is that they never seem to say ‘go and get some sodding singing lessons, you moron!!!!’ to the losers that get up there and are rubbish.
Let’s put it simply – if you REALLY want to be any good at something, you need to study at it. Singing ability is VERY RARELY innate. instrumental ability never is. It requires practice, and the techniques involved in singing are just as hard as those involved in instrumental performance. If you want to be a singer – in fact, even if you’re already a singer – you SO need to get some lessons. They’ll protect your voice from the thrashing that bad technique will give it, they’ll give you better intonation, more control, better breathing. There are NO DOWNSIDES WHATSOEVER to getting singing lessons.
So why aren’t these cabbage patch kids-grown-up who come on TV claiming that ‘singing is their life’ getting any fucking lessons?? If I ever decide to launch myself as a singer as well as a bassist, I’ll get lessons. As a bassist, I went to music college for two years. It’s what you do when you want to get good.
Is it easy enough to understand?
And the same goes for those who can already sing but want to accompany themselves. In the right hands an acoustic guitar is an instrument of almost limitless beauty and potential. In the wrong hands it’s an out of tune cheese grater pouring red ants into the listeners ear-holes. So get some lessons! Again, it can only do you good.
I went to a really good gig on Friday night – Christine Collister has quite rightly been described as one of the best female singers in the country. She’s highly in demand as a session singer, and does gorgeous versions of other people’s songs. She’s also a reasonable guitarist. If she studied a bit, she’d be a fantastic guitarist, and would have the whole package. It’s not that she’s bad, it’s just that with a voice that good, it would be fantastic to hear it coupled with guitar playing to match. She can play, it wouldn’t take her long. She’s already come up with some pretty interesting arrangements, but the guitar is very definitely her second string.
So, you want to be the best? It does indeed take the dedication that the marvellous Roy Castle reminded us of on a weekly basis is our childhood. And the single best way to learn that stuff is one on one lessons. I don’t say this because I’m a teacher, I teach because it’s true.