Learning to sing is hard. Really hard.

Most people don’t know that because…well…the people who’ve already learned how to sing make it look easy! They’re supposed to. If a singer is up on stage struggling, and really showing how hard something is, it makes the audience uncomfortable. So making it look easy is part of the job.

It’s the same thing with The Voice and other TV singing competitions. They make it look easy. They make it look like someone can get a few sound bite tips and it can totally make over their singing. It’s not an honest representation of how learning to sing really works.

It’s not like the shows are up to something insidious when they do it–they only have an hour, so they don’t have time to show more than one or two tips.

But…there is something else. Something those shows do that I do see as insidious dishonesty–they will flat-out lie in order to craft their narrative.

I knew someone on America’s Got Talent. She had been in choir with me in high school. She’s been training as a singer since the late 90s and has a 4 year music degree, and she’s had incredible success. Several Broadway roles, and lead roles in national touring casts of Broadway shows! But when she went on America’s Got Talent a few years ago, her backstory on the show was that she was a “teacher” and she was “ready to change her life.”

Yeah. Total and complete lie.

I’m positive that the show crafted that backstory for her, because it makes much more compelling television than the truth. I mean, who tunes in to watch someone who says “I’ve trained my whole life for this, I already have a great niche career, but I’d like to expand my audience”?

Why do I tell you all this? Because there are a lot of things out there giving the general public the idea that musical skill is something that you simply have, or you don’t. There are a lot of things out there making you think that it’s easy, or that it comes quickly.

Don’t believe it, and don’t get discouraged. That narrative is a lie.

Those who stick with it, those who are willing to put in the hard work, are the ones who will eventually succeed.