How I Learned I Was Bad at Singing

March 3, 2020

When I was in second grade, my music teacher decided to inform my parents that I was bad at singing.

My dad and I were in front of our garage one day. We had a really flat driveway, with a basketball hoop, and I remember standing there as I heard him telling me that according to my recent report card, I wasn’t doing too well with singing.

This was a total surprise to me. I thought I was good at singing. It actually really hurt to hear that, and I know that because it still hurts today when I think back to it.

I think I was too young to understand the concept that teachers evaluated students, and that it was a bad thing if I was evaluated unfavorably, but it definitely bothered me to think that my teacher didn’t like my singing.

I decided to prove my teacher wrong by singing the Star-Spangled Banner right then for my dad.

I’m sure it was horrible.

But yeah, that was the end of my singing career for quite some time. One teacher, with one remark, had such a strong impact on me. And I was only 7 years old.

I’ve always wondered why this happened. I also wonder how many other kids are having the trajectories of their lives permanently altered in this way.

About the author

Michael Korman has played the piano in opera productions and recitals, as well as directing music at a church and coaching classical singers. He draws upon his experiences with meditation and mindfulness to inform his views on music. In addition to music, Michael also holds degrees in computer science. When he's not playing the piano or meditating, he might be practicing drawing or calligraphy.

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