Different apples from the same tree

You have probably heard it said that some brothers and some sisters have almost the same voice. And the same is true of some mothers and daughters and some fathers and sons. This is logical. We all inherit many different characteristics from our parents when we are born: the size and shape of our body, the colour of our eyes, skin and hair, our health, our learning ability, our sportiness, the way our brains work, our talents and skills, the sensitivity of our senses (seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, tasting). There is not a characteristic you can think of that cannot be inherited from your parents. But you don’t get them all, of course. Otherwise, you would just be a copy of your mum and/or dad! You only get some of them, and in varying degrees. Even so, every child, every brother, and every sister inherits characteristics from both their mother and their father. Some of these characteristics are more readily transferred to girls and others are more readily transferred to boys. All these various possibilities ensure that every child is different, but it also means that they can be similar to their parents and their brothers and/or sisters. If you have a sporting mother and a musical father, there is a good chance that you will also be either sporting or musical or both. But this chance is different for each child. And there is more to it than that: just because you inherit a talent from your parents at birth, this does not necessarily mean you are going to use it. You may be a good singer, but you may inherit other talents that you enjoy using more. Or you may be a good singer but don’t sing very often because your friends don’t sing or because there is no choir near where you live. In other words, there are three important factors: the chance that you have a characteristic, what you do with it, and the opportunities you have and the encouragement you get to use it. This combination of factors is also different for every child.

This information will help you to better understand your own voice. It may sound the same as other members of your family, but it might not – and there is nothing wrong with that. The important thing in both cases is to learn how to understand your voice, and understand it fully. Just because your voice might sound like your brother’s (the structure of the voice), this does not necessarily mean that you can do the same with it (working of the voice). Or perhaps you sing more than other members of your family, but suspect that, like them, you may be sensitive to dry or impure air. For this reason, discussing the ‘family history’ of your voice can be fascinating, both at home and in the choir. You will discover more about similar problems experienced by others and how they have managed to solve them or come to terms with their limitations. In this way, you will take a big step forward, because ‘understanding the world is understanding yourself’.