I’ve been noticing Nashville shifting gears over the last couple weeks. School is starting, and all the Teachers, Parents and Kids have been busy gearing up for another year. Watching my city and even my own students open their minds to soak up as much as they can learn got me thinking about the work of myself, and my fellow voice teachers. And we are a varied bunch aren’t we? Some of us chose this profession, while others may have found themselves teaching voice as a matter of course, like the piano teacher I spoke with recently. Then there are the band directors who also teach choir. There are the worship leaders who will soon be leading children in a Christmas program. There are the parents who are singing with their kids, or teaching them voice as part of home school. In truth, every voice a child hears influences how they speak. That makes all of us voice teachers in a way, doesn’t it?
Over the next few weeks I will share some of these thoughts with you, so if you work with kids in any capacity, be sure to stop by. You can subscribe to updates via email, or follow us on Facebook. And if you have any questions about teaching kids voice, leave a comment, or submit it via the forum on our blog. I’d love to hear from you!
This week I’d like to talk about…
The Importance of Vocal Training for Children
As a Vocal Coach I get to work with a wide range of students of all ages, backgrounds and experience levels. I have had the privilege of working with many young singers and their teachers, leaders and parents. This has happened in diverse settings; from an inner-city Boys Club in Chicago to churches throughout the USA and Canada as well as in Europe, Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand, Australia and more. I also regularly work with 150 2nd–6th graders at the local church where Carole and I attend and have a number of 10–15 yr old private students. What is my favorite age? Anyone who wants to sing!
I believe that children should be taught how to use their voices. They should be taught patiently, and above all they should be taught correctly. That’s why we put together the Vocal Coach Teaching Kids to Sing Series. The principles and exercises are clear. They are presented so the average child, teacher and parent can grasp and apply what’s taught. Teaching Kids To Sing has been successfully used in churches and public schools, as well as home school and family settings for many years.
It’s important to realize that even children can benefit greatly from Vocal Coaching. It is often the case that vocal training is only considered if the child shows interest in singing. But the fact is that vocal training is teaching communication. And, every child needs to communicate well no matter what they will do as an adult.
It’s Not Just About Singing
Vocal training isn’t just for the musically inclined. It is for everyone who will ever communicate with their voice. That may sound like I am overreaching, but bear with me. Can you think of a anything we do as adults that is not improved with good communication? Literally everything we are involved in, from our vocation to our relationships, at some point requires that we communicate with one another. And what do we use to communicate? Our voice. Now, I am certainly not saying that all there is to good communication is good vocal technique, but I am saying that a good foundation in knowing how the voice works gives us the tools and the confidence to use our voice with authority. So, whether your kids have to make a presentation or simply answer in class, a correct, practiced training of the voice will benefit them greatly.
The great thing about teaching kids is that they don’t usually start with bad habits. Learning anything the right way from the beginning is always preferable to spending time correcting later on. I recently auditioned seven , 9–11 year old boys and girls. It was clear to me that with minimal coaching every one of these could have breakthroughs in their communications abilities—on and off the stage. We think of our children as our future. Well, our future leaders, sports coaches, teachers, businessmen and sales people will all depend on their voices!