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Do You Feel Like an Inadequate Singer?

Singer in dark lighting on stage

Our self-awareness is a big part of what makes us unique as individuals – says Dr Dan.

I celebrate your individuality, as I hope you might celebrate mine. Unfortunately, it is often in our mutual celebration of each other, that the sneaky cost of comparisons can creep in.

You see, when I celebrate your individuality, I acknowledge your strengths. If you are a singer (and I am pre-supposing that you are!), I might note your extensive range or I may observe your rich timbre that so readily presents certain musical genres.

Interestingly, it is all-too-easy to celebrate those things in others that we sense that we lack in ourselves. Now, if you have got it all together and you are a fully matured human being with no skerrick of character flaw left, stop reading.

I reserve the remainder of my article for those of us who continue to struggle with that hard task master that is a sense of inadequacy.

Success is relative

You might think it ludicrous that a man with two national top thirties, a doctorate and a professional singing career spanning more than twenty-five years would still at times feel like a singing imposter. But all-too-often I do. Why?

Well, I think human nature always wants what it does not have. National top thirties! That is nothing compared to top five or even number one. Doctorate! Ha. What about all those University Professors. Singing career… that’s a joke when you stop to consider the Stings and Bonos of the world. My career is child’s play.

It is all relative, isn’t it! Or is it? No. Relativity only causes comparisons, and when we compare, we often find ourselves sorely lacking.

Learn to love YOUR voice

My encouragement typically follows in the wake of a person’s frustration about what they ‘cannot’ do.

I am often encouraging people to be the very best ‘them’ that they can be. My encouragement typically follows in the wake of a person’s frustrated comment about what their voice ‘cannot’ do.

Now, we are all on a journey of technical improvement, but there are some things that countless hours of practise cannot give you. Your anatomical instrument has been set since birth. Don’t bemoan what it is not. Celebrate your voice for what it is.

We can start to grow by acknowledging others and their voices without the additional need to quantify and qualify. We can learn to be comfortable with our sound in its current state, without the pressing need to improve notes or conform its tone. And, we can rejoice in small personal achievements, regardless of what that might be.

I would never suggest that the journey of reconciling your vocal inadequacies is an easy one. Nope, it is hard, which is why we all continue to grapple with the challenge. I do believe, however, each of us can mature as people and more specifically as singers.

Leave me a comment below, and if you feel comfortable, share your journey with us all and the stories you have collected along the way.

Daniel Robinson

Dr Dan is a freelance artist and educator. He is the principal Singing Voice Specialist for Djarts and presents workshops to singers across Australia and abroad. He has served as National Vice President (2009–11) and National Secretary for the Australian National Association of Teachers of Singing (2006–11). Over the past two decades, while maintaining his own performance career, Daniel has instructed thousands of voices. This vast experience enables Daniel to effortlessly work with voices of all skill levels: beginners to professionals. You can join Dr Dan every Tuesday & Thursday on his YouTube channel: Dr Dan’s Voice Essentials. Dr Dan is also the creator of 7 Days to a Better Voice: a FREE one-week technical detox for your voice.

  • Linda Dalton

    Food for thought Dr Dan, this is so true. How good are we at comparing ourselves to others , particularly in the field of performing arts…acting, dancing, singing?It’s a sign of healthy insight but it definitely has a downside of an unhealthy feeling of inadequacy.
    And what’s worse, the erroneous conclusion one may draw..” I’ll never be as good as ‘so and so ‘, I may as well give up!”
    We ( the Royal ‘we’) have to get into the much healthier habit of comparing ourselves to…ourselves! Over time, with practice, I can honestly say I feel better about my voice now than I did several months ago. Not inadequate!
    Many thanks here for your words of encouragement and guidance😊

  • So glad the article has encouraged you Linda!

  • Jennifer Anne Booth

    Dr. Dan, this article is a tremendous source of encouragement. I have been following your instructions on YouTube for a year and I purchased your Voice Essentials CD. Through your training, my singing and confidence has improved. God has used you in my life through each growing pain I have had as a singer. Today, I needed this article. As you say, embracing our perfectly imperfect voices is essential to developing as a vocal artist. Thank you!

  • Catherine

    “Comparing ourselves to…ourselves!” I love the way you put this and it’s an excellent way of approaching the subject. Thanks for sharing!

  • Thank you Jennifer. I’m so pleased my instruction has proved beneficial.