If someone has told you that you can’t sing, don’t believe them.
“I have never had anyone who could not learn to sing,” says singing instructor Angela Sommer, who gave a lesson for beginning singers Saturday at the Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Centre.
The workshop was one of several events held at the centre as part of Williams Lake Arts and Culture Days.
Sommer says singing is a matter of getting over your fear of failure, finding a comfortable singing range and not concentrating so hard on the notes at first that you freeze with fear.
“I have a whole bag of tricks to get people to loosen up when they sing,” Sommer says.
A couple of tricks she had the workshop participants do were to follow her in singing a silly little ditty “Give poppa a proper cup of coffee in a proper coffee cup.”
Another trick to loosen up was to have participants dancing as they sang another song.
She taught the participants how to breathe and not to be afraid to ask questions of their instructor.
She said she has been singing and playing music since she was a little girl so she may at times lose sight of the fact that beginning students don’t understand the music lingo that she is using.
For instance she said it wasn’t a silly question to ask what the difference is between melody and harmony or how you keep your voice from following other voices when you are singing with a choir where there are high and low parts to the music.
She advised the participants to stand next to a strong singer and follow that singer in the part they are singing.
She also taught the group some breathing excercises and had fun with them singing various popular, and easy to sing songs, without the need to read music.
When you see someone up on the stage singing what appears to be an effortless rendition of a song, she advised the students that there is really a lot of work behind the performance.
“I have been singing for 46 years and am singing every day, but I will still practice a song 100 times to get it just the way I want it,” said Sommer, who teaches singing lessons for all age groups.
She also invited women ages 18 and older who would like to sing to join her at the Just For Fun singing group sessions on Thursday evenings from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at St. Peter’s Anglican Church on Carson Drive.
Sommer leads the group in singing songs without the need to read music. She said singing just for the fun of it, without the need to read music or anyone judging your ability is also a great stress reliever.
The Just for Fun women’s group met on Friday evenings last year but she said the group will meet on Thursday evenings this year, which is a better fit for people who have to be out of town on weekends.
The Just for Fun singing group is a free activity for women funded by the Women’s Contact Society, which also provides free babysitting while the women sing.