Judy Rodman - All Things Vocal Blog

Training & insights for stage and studio singers, speakers, vocal coaches and producers from professional vocal coach and author of "Power, Path & Performance" vocal training method.

Monday, July 29, 2013

When Does A Child Need Vocal Lessons? Top 5 Reasons

My vocal lesson with amazing child performer Jordan Futch

Children start experimenting with singing quite early and naturally. Singing does so many good things for the psyche and the spirit, little ones seem to intuitively know this (as well as those blessed by hearing them). Many observant parents ask when they should start getting vocal training for their child.

First of all, group singing experiences can be wonderfully instructive in helping a kid grow a good ear for pitch and feel for sense of rhythm. Early acting in plays and musicals help a child learn to be fearless in communicating a message. Church and school choirs, community theater for children, even instrumental lessons (piano especially) - these are great places to nurture musical talent and the ability to read music and understand the language of musicians and composers. If the instructors and directors are good and caring, these experiences can also nurture the LOVE for music and singing in kids.

Secondly, there are times a child could especially benefit from singing lessons with an intuitive vocal coach. At what age should they start? As in "most things vocal", it depends. Here are the top 5 conditions where I would recommend booking a lesson:
  • When they are habitually singing too loud and abusively - when they 'shout-sing' to communicate passion. 

This includes anytime they are singing so loud it makes their voices tired. Yes, it's good to encourage a shy child to be confident and loud enough to be heard. BUT, be very careful not to coax them (or let them be directed) to sing so loud that afterwards their voices are tired or sore. You can usually tell in their attitudes; they don't like to sing as much as they used to.
  • When vocal damage is suspected (they can't stop being breathy or husky, their vocal range shortens instead of lengthens, or it hurts them to sing or speak.) 

After assessing your child's voice, a good vocal coach should be able to recommend whether or not to go on and get a doctor's appointment.
  • When they are getting ready for a special show or audition, especially if they are performing professionally. 

They may need to improve their technique to be able to do the job - and to protect their voices as they perform at the level required.
  • When they are serious and mature enough to want to sing better.

This drive should come as much from the child as from the parent.
  • When parents would like their child's voice assessed as to strengths and weaknesses.

Sometimes the parent and child just need one lesson to see where the child is.  
All that said, the most important thing for a child's singing voice is to continue to love singing! There must be a balance between honoring commitments to vocal training - and a break from it. Oh my. Parenting is an art, not a science, isn't it? 

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