Singing in a choir means singing with other people, of different ages, abilities, and interests. This can be wonderful for many reasons, but it can also cause us to compare our voice to others, and find ourselves lacking. Here are three ideas for how to deal with comparison in choir:
#1. Don’t compare apples to oranges:
Comparing your voice to someone else is inevitable, but unfair to yourself. Unlike every other instrument, which are made to industry standards, and often manufactured from pre-set specifications (check out a Steinway piano factory here), human voices are incredibly unique. In fact, they’re so unique that they can be used to identify individuals, much the way fingerprints are used in biometric scanners. The quality and tone of your voice can even change on a daily basis, due to illness or even changes in hormone levels. So comparing your voice to someone else’s is an exercise in frustration, because they will naturally be quite different.
#2. Choir composition:
Because our choirs are composed of singers at all different levels of music education, it makes sense that you might hear some voices that sound ‘better’ than yours. Instead of hearing someone who’s musical education is more advanced than yours, and feeling despair, use this as inspiration!
One of the reasons we have mixed age choirs is so that our choristers can learn from each other. If you know someone near you understands music better than you do, and has more control over their instrument, be sure to watch how they learn, or ask them for help! Your fellow choristers can often offer insights that will be very beneficial to you, since they are also learning!
Beauty is entirely subjective, and so too is the perceived beauty of an individual’s voice. Some people love Adele’s dark, huskier sound, while others prefer Mariah Carey’s lighter coloratura. Just because you don’t find a particular voice tone or colour beautiful, doesn’t mean everyone else does. Remembering this when you find yourself comparing your voice to another voice will be helpful. In the same way that someone who is short cannot magically wish themselves tall, you can’t wish the natural sound of your voice away – and you never know who might be wishing they had your voice, instead of the other way around!
What are some other tips for dealing with comparison in choir? Tell us in the comments below!