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Dan Pearce

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Dan Pearce is writer of the hit-blog Single Dad Laughing and author of the book The Real Dad Rules. Father to Noah, brother to nine, and thoroughly but barely educated on the street, Dan tends to hit nerves or funny bones with his (sometimes humorous, sometimes heavy) musings, rants, and calls to action. He lives with his son in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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How I Taught My Son Not to Be Shy About Singing

By Dan Pearce |

If there’s one thing I want to make sure, it’s that my kid doesn’t grow up terrified to sing in front of other people. Not that I feel some deep urge for him to do it as a living or something; I just want him to never experience what I did as an adult. You see, I spent a lot of years not doing much singing in front of others because of the fears of not being good enough or being made fun of.

But in secret I would still sing. In the shower, I would still sing. In my car, I would still sing. And I always hated that I couldn’t ever let loose in front of others the way I really wanted to.

I believe every person is a singer. It doesn’t matter if perfect technical abilities are there. Something within each of us longs to do it. Don’t try to deny it. You know it’s true as much as I did in years past.

Anyway, my son’s early timidity for it has already given me plenty of motivation to give him confidence in it while he’s still young. And this is how I’ve done it so far…

For the longest time, I couldn’t get him to sing along with me, at least very loud. I would catch him humming or singing the words to our favorite songs under his breath, afraid that I would hear him. If I looked over at him, he’d immediately stop and withdraw.

So, I started buying the karaoke versions of some of our favorite songs, and I started belting them at the top of my lungs while we were driving or getting ready for the day. The very first time I cranked one up, he said, “Dad, where are the words!?”

I looked at him and laughed. “I got the song without words so that you and me can be the ones singing it!”

He thought it was a silly idea and refused to join in. He insisted that I shouldn’t be singing instead of the singers. I belted it out anyway.

After a couple days of doing this, I turned on the non-karaoke version again and started singing along.

“Dad, I like the one without the words,” he said. “Turn that one on.” This was in direct opposition from his previous requests.

“So, you like to hear me sing?”


I just looked at him and said, “I love singing the one with no words, but I only wanna sing if you’re singing with me. I got it for us.” Then I kept singing along with the man behind the microphone.

“Dad, I’ll sing with you,” he demanded. I made him promise. He did. I made him promise he’d sing with me even when we were driving. He did. I made him promise he’d sing with me even if other people were there. He did. So I turned the karaoke version back on.

And he kept those promises. At least the first one. He sang quietly at first, still unsure of himself, but soon he grew to love hearing his own voice against the karaoke background music. He loved that it was Dad and Noah that were singing the song and not somebody else. Before I knew it, he was hollering with me at the top of his lungs while we flew down the highway. This morning, he told me he wanted me to get some of our other favorite songs “without words” so we can “get really good at those, too.”

I can’t tell you how happy that made this papa’s heart.

Next we’ll work on singing in front of other people together. My guess is that’ll be a slightly bigger fear hurdle for him to get over. But that’s okay. Everything scary takes a little time and practice until it’s not scary anymore.

Dan Pearce Single Dad Laughing

PS. How have you helped your children get over their timidity with different things? And do you think it’s a good idea to do so?

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I Bit My Kid’s Head Off For No Real Reason Today
For My Kid’s First Birthday, I Got Him a Facebook Account
Why the Heck Would it Be Where it Goes?

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About Dan Pearce


Dan Pearce

Dan Pearce is writer of the hit-blog Single Dad Laughing and author of the book The Real Dad Rules. Father to Noah, Dan tends to hit nerves or funny bones with his (sometimes humorous, sometimes heavy) musings, rants, and calls to action. Read bio and latest posts → Read Dan's latest posts →

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12 thoughts on “How I Taught My Son Not to Be Shy About Singing

  1. Esther says:

    Well done- its great to sing with others, really wonderful fun! My middle child was very shy about this, so every time I DID catch him singing, I’d join in and be goofy as heck- he’s coming around to really enjoying singing! I hope he follows my footsteps and joins am/dram or am/operatics, because its a great way to have fun and you get to pretend like you did when you were a kid.
    Lots of praise for taking the weeny steps helps people move on to taking strides, I think.

  2. Alisa says:

    I was told to “mouth the words” in Grade 4, not to sing along with the rest of the class. My mom and sisters always made fun of my singing. My daughter, as a little child, used to say “no sing, no sing”. Now I have my beautiful granddaughter, who I have sung to since the day she was born. When she has a sleepover, she can’t go to sleep until I sing to her, the lullabies she has heard for 5 years. She makes me feel worthwhile.

    I still can’t sing to anyone else, I can’t even sing when I am alone.

    Good for you for encouraging your dear little boy. You are a GREAT dad!!!

  3. Marie says:

    I’m a music teacher and I STILL have anxiety over singing in front of others. I have no problem with on stage performances because i prepare for those, I practice a lot to make sure I’m good enough. But to just sing or play spur of the moment…. That is very hard to do. What if people know I’m not as good as I say I am?
    That sounds like a great way to get him to just enjoy singing in the moment. I love singing with my preschool class. And I hope that I can teach them also, that any type of singing is great! Fun!

  4. June says:

    This is wonderful! My little 6 yo girl is timid when singing too. I know she loves to sing like I do but doesn’t feel safe letting it out. I don’t want her to have the same anxiety I grew up with. I sang in groups all my life but ask me to sing a solo by myself and I would just choke up…even today its like my heart leaps right into my throat and my voice quivers and shakes. What if they find out how bad I am? It doesn’t seem to matter how many compliments I get afterwards either, I will think “they’re just saying that to be nice”. My daughter doesn’t know I struggle with this and I try to hide that from her. She sees me sing in the church choir and I belt it out in the car and around the house. I did something similar to your idea too. We have a Wii system and we bought a a Disney Sing It and Glee karaoke game. She loves holding the microphone, pretending she’s a rock star and singing along with me if I set it for duet mode. Still can’t get her to do it by herself but we’re working on that. I will definitely have to try your car karaoke idea!

  5. Kym Garman says:

    That is an awesome idea Dan. I will have to give that a try with my son. Now if you could just figure out a way for me to get over my stage fright?

  6. Dewshine says:

    My grandmother and I are terrible singers! but that’s our gag! We would sing together when I was little and I think the joke was to see who could sing the worst.

  7. Azy says:

    As a child I was told by my mother that I sounded bad when I tried to sing. My home tutor (I was homeschooled till 12) tried to teach me to sing a simple 2 part song. I tried so hard, memorised the words and put everything into it. In a frustrated fluster she scolded me for not getting the tune right, and flat out refused to let me learn the second verse until I could ‘actually sing’ the first. I never did get it right for her and that was the last time she tried to employ song.

    Granted, I know I sound terrible when I sing. 25 years old and nothing could induce me to even mumble a few lines of song – not even to be goofy in front of family. Nothing.

  8. Renee says:

    I lead singing in church and sing solo parts at times. People will come and tell me I have a nice voice, and often add that they “can’t sing a note.” But everyone should feel safe praising God in song. So I tell them that in Psalms, it says “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.” Not a good noise, or a pleasing noise. A joyful one. If you feel joy and want to sing, do it! God gave you the voice you have. So you should inflict it on him! When people are singing with joy, there are no bad voices.

  9. Alana Dill says:

    I think humans are born with an innate need to sing. Babies sing before they can talk. The last 100 years’ generations in the modern world have sadly been brought up comparing themselves to the recorded voice, and it gets worse and worse as autotune and synthesizers make the recorded voice superhuman. I have nothing against Annie Lennox manipulating her voice so you can hear the deliberate trick, but taking someone of mediocre talent and artificially turning them into someone with less mediocre talent… not so much. And I despise Simon Cowell and his ilk, who skewer vulnerable aspiring artists for fun… and teach those watching that it’s ok to do so. It’s not ok to shame someone for doing something they love.

    All over the world, throughout human history, people have sung together – around the fire or the table or at worship or in the tavern, at war and at peace. It bonds us, helps us express emotion otherwise inexpressable. Singing is so good for us, it ought to be written into the bill of rights.

    Not everyone can or should be a soloist, but everyone should be able to use their voice. Good for you that you help your boy conquer his fears!

  10. Steve says:

    Great post Dan! That is so awesome of you to encourage your son to sing. It is such a good way to get some release and just emotionally vent. I know I used to sing as a kid and I loved every minute of it. Hope he continues to be uninhibited as he gets older.

  11. Erica says:

    My mom used to “hush” me when I tried to sing as a child, and I grew up thinking I was a horrible singer. I would mouth the words at church or in front of other people, etc. I now really don’t care if I am bad or not since I enjoy it (I don’t think I am TOO bad!), and I sing all of the time to my toddler son now. When I am done with a song he claps his hands every time and says “yaaaaay!”. THAT makes me feel like a rock star :) I will try to encourage him to sing too and never be embarrassed.

  12. Amy says:

    What a GREAT idea!!

    I am (was) a professional singer, but even I had trouble singing in front of other people as a teen. I KNEW my own mother loved to hear me sing, but I couldn’t even sing in front of her when I knew she was listening. Silly, huh?

    I majored in music performance in college and had to take a “stage fright” class to be able to get up and sing in front of others.

    Good for you for singing loud and strong — and getting that little fellow to enjoy it too!

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