Singing is good for your child! Singing allows children to express their emotions and spend their energy in a healthy way, helps develop the same neural pathways in the brain for math and language skills, develops listening skills, gives their lungs a fairly good workout, and introduces the concepts of harmony and cooperation. If you find that this is something you want to pursue beyond a hobby later on, learning to sing properly at a tender age makes room for more opportunities and less space for bad habits to develop. Who knows maybe your child will turn out to be the next Justin Bieber or Taylor Swift!
Teaching kids how to sing is most effective when they are having fun. They don't even have to be aware you're teaching them already! The following are simple but effective tips categorized by a child's life stages:
Yes, your infant! And no, we're not saying that you can make infants or babies squeal cry on pitch. But singing to babies and exposing them to music at this innocent age will help the neural pathways in their brains develop better and quicker. The brain pathways that music stimulates are the very same pathways specific to math and language.
Children who are constantly exposed to music are more likely the ones who'll take a natural interest to singing (or playing an instrument) by themselves early on. Just so you know, babies respond better when sung to compared to recordings. Don't worry, he won't laugh at you if you don't hit a single note right. If you're a closet singer, it's your time to shine (in front of your baby at least)! Give her a concert and I bet she won't complain.
Sing to your baby and expose them to combinations of stimulating and relaxing music.
When teaching your preschooer how to sing, allow their sound to come out without forcing it into anything.Teach them simple, easy songs that you can harmonize together like nursery rhymes such as the ABC’s, Ring Around the Rosies, I've Got Two Hands, Happy Birthday, etc. or simple choruses of certain contemprary songs! Try to keep it short and sweet. The best way to encourage them is to sing with them.
Sing and dance with your child to simple, upbeat, and easy songs. Have fun with your child with whatever sound comes out of their mouths at this stage. The plan is to just have fun!
Kindergarten to 3rd Grade
Children in this age group will start showing favorites or preferences for certain songs. Try to obtain recordings or videos of these songs, much better if it's in a children's version that they can sing and dance along to. You can:
start showing them that it is just right to be on the same melody and pitch with the performer. Children begin to understand the difference in pitches and melodies, and teach the song "Doe a Deer" to illustrate this concept.
Point out to them the basics in the different tones of the male and female singing voice: alto/ contralto for the low to medium low female voice, soprano/ mezzo-soprano for the high to medium high female voice, bass/ baritone for the deep to medium male voice, tenor for the high male voice. Point out examples of each voice, then help identify their range to establish a reference point for training their voice.
Even if you can’t sing very well, show your child this range in your own voice. Singing beautifully takes time, effort, and practice but it requires the right motivation and diligence to be able to reach that goal and propel the voice to the extent it can reach.
Show them the major notes that make up a song: Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, and La and the diffrences in how they sound.
In 1st and 2nd Grade start learning proper posture, breathing, support, and simple vocal warmups such as lip bubbles or trills.
Point out different pitches and tones with different singers, help them identify theirs so they won't strain on difficult notes.
Make practice sessions fun and not stressful. You can simply tell them it's 'singing time' and they won't even be aware that you're already practicing.
If it hurts, stop! Give only helpful feedback and don't overly criticize.
4th Grade to 6th Grade
Children in this age group begin appreciating current trend music and those that their friends are listening to. Be there to monitor the music that is popular, as music trends change and so does the moral status of the lyrics and the music videos. Make sure that the music your child is interested in or listening to gives a message that you approve of. Listen to this kind of music with your child to foster an open bond even if it isn't your cup of tea.
In fact, experiencing a variety of music is healthy for both of you. Show them that there arre different styles a song can be sung in and nurture the style in which they prefer to sing. Purchase CD’s in all musical genres such as country, pop, R&B, rock, classic rock, classical and any other genre that will give you both an appreciation for music and gain influences of different music artists.
Even if their voices aren't stable yet and are developing into puberty, now they are more capable of absorbing more formal vocal instruction, doing vocal warmups, range, and strengthening exercices. Steer them away from straining and pushing. This is also a great time to introduce singing in harmony with others and learning different musical instruments.
Monitor the music your child listens to and make sure the messages are appropriate.
Cultivate musical preferences with your child and find favorite artists for more inspiration.
Encourage them to sing with their emotions and to the meanings of songs as they comprehend it.
Observe proper singing basics such as doing voice warmups/downs, keeping hydrated, producing good tone, volume, and articulation.
Introduce a variety of instruments to your children.
My Two Cents' Worth
Voice instructors are everywhere nowadays. Their skills, methods, and teaching fees vary as much as they are many. Good ones exist but most don't even know what they are doing. If you feel the need for a voice teacher's assistance, be sure that you agree to their teaching philosophies and methods before you enroll your child. A good reputation and feedback from their personal students are well worth the look.
Good voice lessons cost well over a hundred dollars per session, even if the first session is only an introduction. But even the quality ones needn't be that expensive! You can teach our child how to sing just as well from your own home thanks to advancements in technology and the media. Lots of them are free, but just like live lessons the program meat and insider secrets still lie in those you have to purchase, but for so much less and a 100% satisfaction guarantee or your money back!
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