If you think you "can't sing" – read this! If you love singing – read this!

It is a celebration that we are all made differently. Every cell and organ in our bodies resonate at different frequencies. 

Have you ever sung or coughed in the bathroom, and suddenly a deep full-bodied resonant note rings and sings in the space? That's acoustic resonance! 

Our bodies are also resonant acoustic chambers, and each carry different fundamental notes and harmonics. It's as if nature has literally made us all instruments – diversified and unified in the greater representation of harmonic spectrum.

Our bodies, bone structure, mannerisms, breath and emotional energy, all play a role in how we carry ourselves and our literal resonance. 

There was a time where I believed I could not sing.


It was only when I found myself at Humber College from 2008-2012, for Music/Trombone Performance, that I learned how to finally develop a relationship with my voice.

Most of my experiences hearing my voice singing before then, were singing at church (when I use to go as a kid). Honestly, I would feel like I was just barely screeching out the soprano melody lines sometimes! (Haha.)

I remember my dad doing that classic finger-in-the-ear-wobble joke, with the hilarious eye-squint. Haha, at least we could laugh about it..I guess.

It wasn't until Music School, that I actually learned that there is thing called "alto," and that you can sing different notes in the chord! AND you can even change the key of the song to better suit your voice... incredible inventions! ;)

Singing became an outlet for self-love, artistic expression and a a stress relief practice, while in College. It felt so completely necessary to take "the edge off of" the growing pains and navigation of the school environment, with the added pressures and deadlines of artistic expectation.

I remember writing my proposal to the head of the Brass Department in my 4th year, to plead my case for the opportunity to study private voice lessons with Christine Duncan, instead of private trombone lessons. I was so fortunate to be granted that opportunity, as it encouraged the seeds which were in my voice, and my understanding of it. 

We all have seeds for singing; like fields of flowers, we too bloom when we allow our voices to shine and vibrate like fertile seeds of Spring. We are blessed with fire potentials for illumination, as we all have a human voice, with bodies that are able to guide it into full expression.

It is important to remember that we can't and should not all strive to sound like Mariah Carrey and Celine Dion.

In North America, we have set up a social narrative around what is it means to be successful as a singer and what one should sound like, with competitive realty shows like American Idol so prominent in the Arts and Entertainment industry and in the media.

It's not about a competition of voices. 

Each flower is beautiful and complimentary, just as each of our voices have their own place in the choir of life. 

Think of the animal kingdom. We've got some bad ass lion roars, choruses of crickets, blurpin' n' bloinkin' frogs and cawing crows.

They are NOT all trying to sound like each other. Singing is a language art, and a vehicle into the collective consciousness. 

Of course if we have never sung or rung our voices, we will not understand their nuanced needs. If we cannot get over our fear of singing, we are crippling this opportunity to get to know our own voices. The good news is that it is never to late to develop a relationship and conversation with your voice. Sounds funny to be conversing with yourself, but I truly believe this kind of courage, trust, play and release of expectation, is so needed in our personal development and healing. 

I learned to sing while driving to and from College every day. (Cars are amazing for this!) I have explored the depths, grumbles, groans and tones of the thrones of my vocal chambers... while in my parents car!

Photo taken during New Lineage's (Improvisational Choir) weekly residency at the Art Gallery of Ontario, in 2017.

Photo taken during New Lineage's (Improvisational Choir) weekly residency at the Art Gallery of Ontario, in 2017.

Upon graduating in 2013, I continued to write my own music, sing in several different indie/tribal/folk/rock/pop bands, and continued to sing incredible gigs with The Element Choir. Being able to sing several times with The Element Choir on Tanya Tagaq's performances, were some of the most powerful experiences I've been a part of on stage. 

Having travelled to Cognac, France to sing and play trombone with ColinResponse in 2013, was another surreal pivotal moment as a singer (who once thought she couldn't sing). 

I've been a beautiful journey, brushing off the cob-webs-of-fear in my vocal understanding. Learning the nuances of my vocal abilities was super easy to do, as all it took was a little bit of consistency and patience in letting my voice be heard, as well as humility for how it continues to grow and change as we change. 

All that is required to be able to sing is:

1. Having a human body with vocal chords.

2. Giving zero fucks. 

Awaken your voice. Give it permission to sing.

If singing is unfamiliar to you, I'd recommend starting to with sighs and sounds that are spontaneous and that feel good in the body. Remember that this isn't music class or preparation for a dang Christmas recital.

The Element Choir performing with Tanya Tagaq at The Great Hall, in 2017. 

The Element Choir performing with Tanya Tagaq at The Great Hall, in 2017. 

None of the sounds that come out of your mouth have to make sense, and they don't even have to be in tune. However, the sounds can still be approached with enthusiasm and intention. 

The voice has the ability to transform the body. It can even release nitric oxide and other relaxing hormones. In (Opera Singer and Vocal Coach) Fides Krucker's blog, she writes about how yawning elongates the spine, creates endorphins and benefits humans in other socially expressive ways. 

The voice is genderless, ageless and timeless. 

I invite you to sing your own song. If you are new to singing, bring a gentle and curious approach attitude, as it is going to be different and something the world may have not heard before. This is good. This breakthrough of being you, will change your life. We don't have to sound like anyone else, but ourselves.

Laugh at and love your voice. Laugh when you are out of tune. Record yourself and listen back. Be heard. Share poetry or random spontaneous improvisation that comes from the heart. When will you start?

Let your voice shine in the choir of life. 


– Jill Stella





Posted on December 4, 2017 .