Can’t Carry a Tune in a Bucket? Hope for Embarrassed Off-Key Singers with the “Edwards” Method

You sound horrible! Please don’t sing!” If you or someone you know can’t sing in tune, take heart! NOW, this embarrassment can be ended – FREEMy method is simple, 99% effective and has worked for everyone except a set of twins encountered over 40 years ago.

alfalfaYou sound horrible! Please don’t sing!” If you or someone you know can’t sing on pitch, take heart! NOW, the embarrassed can sing in tune – FREEMy method is simple, 99% effective and has worked for everyone except a set of twins encountered over 40 years ago.

My Method was developed while I taught General Music at a Junior High School. It’s perfect for any choir director who wants to incorporate “untalented” but willing singers into their choir. I’ve effectively used it to teach members of the High School Varsity Football Team’s Defensive Unit to sing in our “Quire” as well as those who wanted to sing in church choirs.

The Edwards Method will not in itself make a great singer; that requires a trained voice teacher and strong desire. However, after they can sing in tune, there’s nothing to stop them from great achievement. (After teaching my son to sing on pitch, he joined a boy choir, had parts in several musicals and is now a church worship leader.)

Why People Sing “Off-key” or “Off-pitch?”

My research shows “out-of-tune” subjects rarely sing a random note. Instead they almost always sing a major or minor third higher or lower than the actual pitch. Occasionally, a subject may sing a perfect 4th lower or perfect 5th higher than the actual pitch. In each situation it’s part of a triad chord in some inversion.

What causes out-of-tune Singing

My unproven theory is – when a child is young and at a pivotal moment in their life, someone told them they were singing beautifully – when in fact they were singing in harmony or “off pitch.” So they associated harmony with the actual pitch.

Another situation is found among boys. Since wanting to be considered more masculine, they can try to sing low notes like adult males. This leads them to sing almost monotone on a very low note. To date I have never encountered a person who consistently sings random notes!

Requirements for Success

The Edwards Method only requires 6 items: 1) a willing subject that really wants to learn to sing in tune; 2) an instructor; 3) any instrument, however any keyboard instrument is easiest, especially piano; 4) a quiet location such as a private office or studio; 5) 3-6 twenty-minute appointments each several days apart and; 6) patience.

The Edwards In-Tune Method – Step-by-Step Procedure

Before starting, I like to tell the student “it isn’t your fault you don’t sing on pitch. It really started when they were very young and someone told you that you sang beautifully, when you were really on the wrong pitch. So, I’m going to help you find the right pitch.”

Step 1 Have the subject sing and try to hold ANY note.

Step 2 Locate and Play the note they are singing on an instrument. (Don’t be alarmed, for in most cases the subject will immediately switch to the off-tune note (i.e. the higher or lower notes mentioned earlier). Remember, their ear is still hearing a harmony note.

Step 3 Try again and again, asking the subject to sing one note again and hold it for as long as they can no matter what you play on your instrument.

Step 4 Play the note repeatedly at the same time they are singing it. NOTE: If the subject sings only 1 note, you need to teach him how to alter the pitch. Have them make a noise like a siren Rrrrrrr having it go up and down.

Step 5 Patience is a key. Subjects may immediately change pitch, but don’t give up. They will eventually, stop changing pitches, allowing you to play the note they’re singing. Encourage them with “That’s the note you’re singing!”

Step 6 Play the note over and over while they sing their pitch as long as they can. This reinforces the pitch in their mind creating a new norm. Play the note inside a chord, so they hear it in a different context.

Step 7 Ask them to sing the next note higher or lower, playing it with them. No matter what pitch they sing, play it with them. Again, be prepared for several failures. Have them start over, by singing one tone again, repeating the procedure.

Step 8 As they gain new skill and confidence, teach a simple melody such as “Silent Night” or “Do-Re-Mi.”

Step 9 Repeat this session over and over. For best results do this daily for 3-6 days in a row. The more time in between sessions, the lengthier and more sessions will be required.

Step 10 Occasionally review the procedure with the subject over the next 6 months.

Sing in Tune Conclusion

There are not many common things more embarrassing to a person as when others make fun of them for singing “off-key.” Now, they’ll grin ear to ear, because they can sing in tune. They’ll never have endure those awkward, uncomfortable stares ever again.

It doesn’t matter whether more people will sing in a choir or not. It can now be used just to help anyone sing in tune! I encourage the use of The Edwards Method of solving the problem and helping those in need. As Zig Ziglar says in See You At The Top, “You can get everything in life you want, if you help enough other people get what they want.” You are now empowered to help others sing in tune!

Photo by Doug Kline