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ref: 89db8a0db3b15ad1a131b443ccfe2a0d5f08170a sive.rs/site/15-years -rw-r--r-- 4.8 KiB
89db8a0d — Derek Sivers formatting 4 months ago
                                                                                
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<title>After fifteen years of practice | Derek Sivers</title>
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<header>
<div class="blogparent">from the book “<a href="/n">Hell Yeah or No</a>”:</div>
<h1>After fifteen years of practice</h1>
<small>2010-06-15</small>
  <audio src="https://m.sive.rs/sive.rs.15-years.mp3" preload="none" controls="controls"></audio>
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<p>
	Since the age of fourteen, I was determined to be a great singer.
	But my pitch was bad, my tone was bad, and everyone said I was just not a singer.
</p><p>
	At seventeen, I started taking voice lessons and practicing two hours every night.
	I’d go into a soundproof room to sing long tones, scales, arpeggios, and specific song phrases over and over.
</p><p>
	At eighteen, I started touring, performing two to four shows a week, always as the lead singer.
	Often they were outdoor shows, sometimes with no PA system at all, so I had to learn to project to be heard.
</p><p>
	At nineteen, I was still practicing two hours a night but still having a problem with pitch.
	People kept telling me I was just not a singer — that I should give it up and find a real singer.
</p><p>
	Then I heard <a href="http://warrensenders.com/">Warren Senders</a> singing Indian vocal music, and his pitch was so perfect that I went rushing up to him afterwards to ask how he did it.
	“How are you able to hit the notes so perfectly dead-on? Are you just naturally good at this?”
</p><p>
	He said, “No! When I first started singing, not only was I not within an inch of the note — I wasn’t within a football field of the note! I was horrible!”
</p><p>
	“So how did you do it?”
</p><p>
	He jabbed a finger in my chest, and looked me in the eye.
	“Practice. Thousands of hours of practice, and eventually I got it. I can show you how.”
</p><p>
	That year, I took a bus out to his house every Wednesday night, and he taught me some <a href="/more-than-one">esoteric ways of thinking about singing</a>.
</p><p>
	I continued touring for years, always as the lead singer — still taking voice lessons with different teachers in different cities — still practicing tones, scales, and trouble spots for an hour every night.
</p><p>
	At twenty-five, I recorded my first album.
	When I gave it to a record producer who was a real mentor to me, he gave it a focused listen and then said, “Derek, you’re just not a singer. You really need to stop trying. Admit you’re a songwriter, and find a real singer.”
</p><p>
	But I bounced away from that meeting unfazed.
	I knew I just had more work to do.
	I toured for three more years after that, always pushing, always practicing, always determined to be a great singer.
</p><p>
	At twenty-eight, I started noticing that my voice was getting good!
	I recorded a few new songs, and for the first time, I really liked the vocals!
</p><p>
	At twenty-nine, I had done it.
	After fifteen years of practice, and about a thousand live shows, I was finally a good singer, at least by my own standards.
	You can judge for yourself at <a href="/music">sive.rs/music</a>, where my old recordings are at the bottom, and new recordings are at the top.
</p><p>
	Someone who heard me for the first time said, “Singing is a gift that either you’re born with or you’re not. You’re lucky. You were born with it!”
</p><p>
	I had to remember this story now because I’m spending most of my time doing new things I’m not good at.
<strong>
	It’s overwhelming to feel so in awe of the people who seem to do it naturally.
</strong>
	I’m just a beginner.
	It may take me another fifteen years, but I’m determined.
</p>
<img alt="" src="/images/15-years.jpg" />

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© 2010 <a href="https://sive.rs/">Derek Sivers</a>.
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