"My high-school a cappella teacher would embarrass me in front of the choir. 'Mavis, you're in the basement. Mavis, you're singing with the boys.' I said, 'Mr.Finch, my voice isn't soprano. I can't sing up there with the girls.' So I just got out of the choir."
Mavis Staples (b. 1939) U.S. R&B and gospel singer, actor, and activist
Imagine if Mavis Staples had quit singing altogether because of the narrow-minded "constructive" criticism of her high school choir director. What a tragedy that would have been! (Her family's band The Staple Singers were famous for their 1970s hits "Respect Yourself," "I'll Take You There," and "Let's Do It Again."
I have heard many, many people tell me stories about a choir director or parent tell them to "just mouth the words," or "don't quit your day job!" A few of them have rehabilitated their singing, but most of them refuse to sing at all anymore. What a tragedy for them -- and for all of us who never got to enjoy the gifts of their voice.
Every voice is unique. It would be terrible if EVERY voice sounded like Pavrotti, or Dylan, Bieber, or Sinatra. We mustn&