Singing is a complicated process involving many muscles, and training them to work together efficiently and effectively takes skill and practice. Singing is muscle memory, and practice is key. Sometimes results can be quick, and that’s great. Sometimes it takes a while.
In kids’ voices, results depend on even more factors. Kids’ bodies are smaller and more flexible than adults, which makes some things easier and others more difficult. Kids typically take longer than adults to get the hang of breathing for singing– expanding the belly on inhalation while keeping the shoulders relaxed. This is a key piece of vocal technique, and just one example of something that kids take a little extra practice to master. This doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try to learn it, it just means they’ll need to practice.
A kid’s voice will not naturally sound like an adult’s (there are some exceptions), and forcing an unnatural vocal tone adds tension and strain. Kids’ voices can’t do what adults’ voices do, and we shouldn’t try to make them. Learning healthy, age-appropriate singing technique can start students on a path of lifelong singing. One of my main goals with young students is to undo any bad habits that might cause vocal strain or injury in the future. Unfortunately, the vocal styles that are trendy in current pop music are not healthy to imitate, and singers who attempt without the proper technique can damage their vocal folds.
I also include solfege exercises in lessons to build musicianship skill. (Solfege, or Sol-Fa, or Solfeggio, are names for the syllables Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Ti Do. These syllables are hugely helpful once students become fluent with them, which takes time and repetition. Learning melodies on the solfege syllables incorporates music theory into singing, and reinforces musicianship skill and ear-training.
And last but certainly not least, music lessons build confidence. Performing in front of peers and family builds confidence, and students may enjoy auditioning for other singing opportunities at school or in the community. Voice lessons also help many students feel more poised and confident in public speaking. One of my students was so shy in her first lesson that she would barely speak or make eye contact with me. After only a few weeks, her parents had already noticed a difference in her confidence; now after 2 years she is a much more confident performer, and even had a large role in her school musical last year.
Finally, many young students choose to take lessons in both voice and piano. This is a great option for motivated voice students and young beginners alike! Piano skills are extremely useful for singers of all ages.
If you have questions about whether or not your child can benefit from music lessons, please ask!