The Truth About Having a Bad Singing Voice


Do you love to sing but are afraid you have a terrible voice? This is the most common fear and complaint that vocal teachers hear. Some people believe they can never become singers because they hate the sound of their voice, and they discourage themselves from giving singing their best shot.

Even if you have a “bad” singing voice in the beginning, the truth is that once you understand the basics and establish good practice routines, you’ll become a much better singer. You’ll also come to appreciate the uniqueness of your voice!

Here are 3 tips to remember when deciding whether you should pursue singing.

Why You Think You’re a Bad Singer & Why You Actually Aren’t

People have similar reactions after hearing a world-class pianist. “She is such an amazing musician,” someone might say. “What incredible skill!” others might point out. But no one is likely to cry, “What a beautiful piano!”

After hearing a world-class singer, on the other hand, the reactions are quite different. “What a beautiful voice,” most people say. “He is so talented, his voice is so impressive,” others might suggest.

Do you notice the difference? Singers garner more compliments for their actual instrument (their voices) than for their skills. But in truth, while the instrument is important, the musician is just as – if not more – important.

Separate the Instrument from the Musician

Imagine someone gifting you an instrument you’ve never played before. For example, a clarinet, which you’d have no idea what to do with it. Even if you made sound with it, it’d likely sound cringe-worthy. Would you judge the clarinet as terrible? No, that clarinet, in the hands of a practitioner, could produce beautiful music.

Your voice, like a clarinet, is an instrument too. If it sounds terrible at first, it doesn’t mean it’s useless, you just have to figure out a way to make it useful.

Even if you magically traded voices with an incredible singer, you still wouldn’t be able to sing! It’s like getting a more expensive clarinet: you still have to learn how to use it, and practice it deliberately.

Your voice is a work-in-progress. Don’t be so quick to judge it, and write yourself off. And if you’ve ever asked the question, “can anyone learn how to sing?” check out the video below.

Focus on the Work & Improve Your Musicianship

As the saying goes, “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”

Singing is hard work, but you can be smarter about it by learning and improving your musicianship in all areas. You have to learn to perform proper breathing exercises, like wind instrumentalists.

You have to learn how to access different notes within your range, like string players. You have to gain control over all of the tiny muscles of the throat, face, jaw, and mouth.

Learning these concepts, and training yourself with practice will not only help you sing better, but it’ll also improve confidence in other areas of life.

So before you rule yourself out of a singing career, try practicing and learning from a professional teacher. Try free classes with TakeLessons Live, or 1-on-1 private singing lessons near you. 


nikam natung

August 22, 2016 at 12:31am

I have very harsh voice but i want tp sing so someone please give me tips for vocal exercise


December 20, 2016 at 5:24pm

do the regular do re mi fa so la ti do scale then do the do ti la la ti do re mi fa so la so fa mi re do ti la la ti do then sing mary had a little lamb singing all nites even flats and sharps between two octaves of C on the piano it rlly helps


January 09, 2017 at 8:43pm

I think many people praise the voice and not the singing ability because some people are just naturally good at singing, with absolutely no training or lessons. There isn't a person in the world who can magically figure out what all the keys of a clarinet do or even how to hold the bow of a violin correctly. But there are plenty of people who are just born with a naturally good singing voice. (not exceptionally good, that's where lessons come in)


August 12, 2017 at 7:50am

I've heard plenty of babies singing beautifully. lol. Seriously, you aren't born good at anything. There are people who are good at sports through sheer will and some who had a little easier way of it because of their body type but their will to do things like sports drove them through childhood to become better at it. Music is no different. You might have a better tool to start but you still learn whether it be on your own or through training. I learned to speed read - I wasn't born able to do so. I've learned more than most people learn many times over in a lifetime. This is something I was inclined to do but I could have as easily turned out differently if I never started reading or wanted something different. I've had many people tell me it is "different" for me because I grasp things differently. I learned this over my lifetime. I'm sure I didn't understand anything as a baby. I'm not awesome at music but after nearly a decade of training I can play a dozen instruments reasonably well. People who are "naturals" at singing simply trained themselves in a different way than normal people recognize.


May 26, 2017 at 1:59am

I can hit the notes(some of them at least). I know the breathing techniques. I know it all has to be timed and when to time it. I'm familiar with music theory and how to read it. I just don't sound good when I do it. Admittingly, I'm not a powerhouse or a bravado singer. But I don't need to be louder when I've leaned so much and still sound like shit. It's my voice. A pianist can't work with a broken piano...


August 01, 2017 at 9:21am

Yeah, the article doesn't touch on the fact that you can learn to play an instrument with a pretty cheap one and then, when you're good with it, upgrade to a really nice one so you sound amazing. No so with voice. You get one voice. If you sound like a nasally crocodile, better find something else to be famous for like Bob Dylan with his storyteller-singing.


August 12, 2017 at 7:54am

A good guitar player can pick up a $5 yard sale guitar with a missing string and bust out a good song. They can tune the remaining strings to play any song they need and give the guitar versatility. Your voice is no different. While a great guitar might sound better - you probably wouldn't notice the difference. Heck, there are people who can play a whole song with a tin can and a piece of string that sounds awesome. Your voice has limitations, so you learn how it works within those limitations and apply your voice to the things it is suited for.


September 20, 2017 at 1:26pm

Yes some people are just not confident in their voice even if they have a beautiful voice. Some people does have a bad voice and are not lying when they tell you that. I'm one of them. I even thought I was a better singer than I actually am even if I always said I was a bad singer. I usually have difficulties singing without hearing the lyrics and the notes of the voice even if I remember how it goes. So recently I recorded myself while listening to the song with hearphones. I'm the worst singer I ever heard. Even when I hear myself singing and I know I'm close enough to the note, I'm actually very far away when I listen to the recording. For a bonus, I sing like my nose is plugged.

Tehya Thomas

October 23, 2017 at 3:08pm

Yeah, I recorded myself too and I grimaced in disgust at my own voice. It was absolutely horrific. I'm really sad that I can't sing, but it is what it is. I really thought I could learn, but you can't pay somethings that broken. I guess I should stick to clarinet

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