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date: 22 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The adult “non-singer” (“NS”) remains a common phenomenon in Western society.This designation includes those who self-perceive as “NS” and those who are perceived by others as “NS”.Over time, this “NS” state has been referenced in the vernacular byterms such as ‘tone deaf’, and untilfairly recently, was accepted as an innate state, reflecting the dominant “can/cannot” view of fixed human singing capacity in Western culture. However, a growing research interest in singing’s developmental nature has challenged this bipolar view. Evidence establishes that humans possess a species-wide facility for singing as a learned musical behavior. The literature reports many adult “NSs” either being told they were “NS” in childhood, or (mis)inferring that identity,resulting in impeded or arrested singing development,which then endured. These attributional events occasioned a re-formed identity as a fixed “NS”with ensuing negative personal and socially-detrimental effects. Research reveals that adult “NS” attributed in childhood may indeed recover/discover singing successfullywith targeted developmental intervention. The “NS” condition is as much a socio-cultural as a musical challenge, and its nature as such is contextualizedherein. A comprehensive discussion of “NS” follows from an experiential stance, revealing the negative implications of the fixed “NS” label. A common “NS” attributional process is described, exposing the needs arising from such a socio-cultural attribution. Enablement strategies and techniques for facilitating “NS” singing re-entry are detailed and explicated. Impediments and challenges underpinning “NS” are discussed and approaches to prevent and/or reverse “NS” are explored.

Keywords: adult “non-singer” (“NS”), singing recovery/discovery, enablement strategies, attributional process, socio-cultural

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