If your child is singing along to every song on the radio, movie soundtrack and television theme song, it might be time to start voice lessons! The voice is an instrument just like any other, but learning how to use an instrument that hasn’t finished growing presents a unique challenge. Learning how to use your voice in a healthy way at a young age will help children grow into their instrument, avoiding any bad habits that could be picked up along the way from belting pop songs along with the radio.
#1- Surrounding your child with music at a young age helps to develop musicianship skills.
There is no hard and fast rule for what age formal voice lessons should start, but there are many steps that can be taken to give children an advantage in lessons later on. The simple act of listening to the radio or putting on your favorite iPod playlist helps develop pitch recognition, and understanding of chord progressions. Singing along with your favorite tunes helps to practice hearing sound, and reproducing that sound. The more variety in your playlist, the more music literacy you will build. Enrolling your child in an early music classes such as Kindermusik is great way to start introducing call and response skills, rhythm, listening skills and developing a lifelong love of music.
#2- Your instrument is your body and needs to go to “the gym”.
Its your first time at the gym… Would you try to dead lift 200lbs? Probably not. You are trying to work muscles that have never been used in that way. The same goes for voice. We use a complicated system of muscles to breathe, create proper jaw and vowel formations and push air out between our vocal folds at a specific intensity. So it is safe to say that belting “Let It Go” might be a little too intense of a vocal warm up at age 8 when the body isn’t fully developed. Voice lessons take time and you need to work out those muscles slowly and appropriately for the age. Starting voice lessons before puberty should focus on developing healthy vocal habits such as good posture, understanding how to breathe deeply properly, and ear training exercises. Learning these techniques at an early age helps to ease the transition into the “heavy lifting” that is required after puberty hits and will give an advantage to those learning how to work the more complex techniques that come later.
Music is not something that should be restricted by age. There are many ways to get your kids involved, learning and inspired! Singing every day helps even the youngest kids develop their ear, understand pitch and duration combinations and even enhance their language skills, all while rocking along to the radio.