Are you a Singer or a Non-Singer?

— July 21, 2021 —

Many of my clients will identify with one of these two designations, usually so they can tell me what I can expect when I hear them sing! 

However, the answer to whether you are a Singer or Non-Singer has everything to do with… you.

But it is a perennial question for many people, and I believe it can cause some pain for some. What I think it really asks is: how do you use your voice?

Your relationship with your voice is shaped and molded over many years, since the moment you began to use it, really. You have been imprinted by your family, school, society, some of whom have a stake in your well-being, and some who could care less. 

But I know YOU care.

Whether you are a Singer is a question of your identity. And ultimately, it has nothing to do with other people. It has to do with you. How do you define yourself? How do you embrace or reject this designation of “singer”? 

Well, how does it make you feel? 

I am someone who has chosen a pathway in the field of music, vocal music to be specific. I have training in singing. I am an expert in vocal technique. I sing publicly for a fee. Therefore I must be a singer, right?

Um, not so clear, actually. 

I actually retired from Soprano Life, because the pursuit of Soprano-hood was making me miserable. During the pandemic, it was impossible for me to find my footing with a singing practice because there were one million other things that I needed to prioritize and I was having a hard time, like everyone else.

Am I still a singer?

Let’s reframe the response. I am someone who loves to use their voice. I love to sing. (Most of the time.) And I am learning to use my voice. 

Please do not fret if this question gives you agida. I ask the question because I know it may evoke a feeling of discomfort for some. But I want you to examine whether or not that discomfort is coming from within, or without. 

Who defines what you do with your voice? You. 

You have permission to sing in whatever genre you please, to enjoy whatever song you enjoy, to cast away the expectation that you should be able to do something by now, or have it all figured out.

You certainly do NOT have to have it all figured out! But please hear me: you also do not have to exist in a constant state of existential crisis as to how you use your voice, or how you define yourself vocally or musically. Staying confused and unclear is another choice you can make that not only defines, but confirms, your identity.

I don’t recommend it.

If you are someone who is unclear about how you use your voice, I recommend you begin a new narrative for your singing identity:

I am discovering how to use my voice.

Take the edge off, dear one. No need to fuel your doubts with fear and regret. But remember that only you can define your identity.

So are you a singer or a non-singer?

It doesn’t matter. This question drives me bonkers. Let’s trash the damn category. 



IMAGE: Photo by Sebastian Unrau on Unsplash

Allison Mondel
Allison Mondel is a musician, philosopher, advocate, and mentor. Her greatest delight is to understand how things work, and share her hard-won wisdom with others. She writes about the higher nature of music and the voice, alchemizing personal roadblocks, and the pursuit of one's creative vocation.

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