Technology tells us we can’t sing

ChristianWeek columnist Michael Krahn  writes a perceptive column and points out  the rising trend in people who say they cannot sing. An excerpt:

“I see a parallel between the lack of confidence in singing and the world of visual images in tabloid and fashion magazines. Photoshopped images create unrealistic body expectations. In the modern era of music autotuned recordings give us unrealistically perfect sounds…

… The problem is not that there are people with uncommonly attractive bodies or uncommonly strong voices; the problem is that we have bought into the idea that unless we possess perfection in body and voice we are in the minority and should keep ourselves both hidden and unheard. This idea is an affront to human dignity and to God, who created our bodies and our voices in all their glorious variety.”

I would whole-heartedly agree that as a solid session of  the whole church  singing God’s truths can be revitalising, and almost a foretaste of things to come.  But it’s true sometimes we can get unrealistic expectations of what good singing is  from the pitch-perfect commercially-successful music playing on our stereos. In autotuned recordings, vocal lines are digitally altered so that their singing  becomes perfectly in tune (here’s a notorious example by Cher). And if that inhibits our desire to sing, then that’s not good.

Nowhere in the Bible does it say that only the talented vocalists sing worthily. It doesn’t say that Mary passed Grade 5 singing exams before praising God with her Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55). When Miriam and the ladies celebrated following their Exodus from slavery (Exodus 15:21), the Bible doesn’t say they weeded out the bad singers and sang with a hand-picked choir.

The worthiness of our singing, like anything we do, should be  assessed on whether it’s done  to the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31) – why we sing matters more than how we sing. If  I’m in the pews and singing because of my immense gratefulness of the salvation I’ve received, then whether I sound as nice as  John Mayer or  KT Tunstall  naturally becomes less of a concern.

The whole article is worth reading:


Do you think  auto-tuning has  made  us more reluctant to sing God’s praises? What else makes you less likely to sing during a worship service?