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What is the best age to start singing lessons for kids?

Updated: Jun 9, 2023


Two young girls singing in a kitchen pretending to use forks as microphones

As children grow, many parents seek activities for them that fall outside of their regular routine or curriculum. Some may be associated with a child’s school, and others may be offered in the greater community. The goal of some activities is simply to have fun. Other times it is to assist in their development. And in others it is to learn a skill or promote a budding talent.


Music lessons – specifically singing lessons – are a great choice because it addresses all of these! Kids begin making sound as soon as they are born, and it’s not many years after that they begin singing melodies.


But what is the best age to start singing lessons for kids?


After puberty?

After taking piano or violin lessons?

When a child can focus and pay attention?

When a child’s vocal folds are fully developed, and lung capacity has reached adult proportions?


These are typical answers, and they most likely come from concern about whether a child is vocally “ready” for voice lessons. But if you have ever heard a baby cry, you have witnessed how uniquely equipped the human body is to vocalize and express with power and efficiency right from birth – without losing their voice!


The truth is, there is no “right age” for kids to begin singing lessons.


But like most activities, parents guide their children to certain skills because they believe there are benefits to the child’s overall development. And activities outside of the normal school curriculum are widely believed to positively affect a child’s holistic growth.


Here are some things to notice that might encourage a parent to choose singing lessons as an activity for their child:


A child asks for singing lessons.

When a child feels inspired by singing, they may ask for singing lessons. This could come about by seeing children performing professionally or in competitions on television, in movies, or online. It could also simply come from their own curiosity about what they could learn and how they might improve with instruction. Asking for singing lessons is a child’s way of expressing a deep interest in learning how to grow their love for singing into a talent.


A child starts singing melodies or is singing nonstop.

When a child can carry a tune or is singing songs non-stop, parents or caregivers may wish to explore singing lessons as a way of nurturing their child’s vocal development. Singing is a birthright born to all of us, and the sooner a child learns that their unique voice is a gift to explore and appreciate, the better! Around the ages of 2 to 3 years old is when children begin to use their voices with more musical expression and exploration.


A child is going to be involved in a public singing performance.

If a child has been cast in a show or is performing in a high profile or potentially stressful singing situation, it can be wise to seek guidance from a well-trained professional.


Singing is not harmful to young singers, contrary to some myths. But putting too much intensity and duration into any activity can be harmful as children’s bodies grow and mature. Working with a voice teacher can help kids to learn efficient vocal usage and stage presence, as well as growing their confidence.


Which Children Are Good Candidates for Voice Lessons?

When it comes to showing aptitude for singing, it isn’t necessary for children to display a particular level of talent. In fact, studies show singing proficiency to be normally distributed among people, and that singing can improve for anyone with formal training.


Infants start by creating chant-like sounds. They develop gradually by varying pitches, building accuracy and range. But somewhere along the way they begin to imitate adults, as few are exposed to peer level singing. This is often the time that we single out a child’s talent for singing.


As a society, many people love witnessing young children who possess adult-level performing skills. Yet when it comes to singing, it can be harmful to society if we praise only those who show aptitude beyond the norm. Unlike other activities learned outside of the body, everyone is born with a unique voice that is part of them. People associate their voice with who they are, and this begins in childhood.


This is why it is crucial that we nurture children’s voices at earlier ages and stages. We certainly do not want our youngest children thinking their own sound is unimportant and unworthy of appreciation because they don’t sound grownup enough.


Children sing naturally and without inhibition as an enjoyable everyday activity when they are young. As they go through life, the harsh realities of comparison begin and kids can start to feel insecure about their voice. Singing has been a part of cultural and ritual traditions since the beginning of human existence. Yet in our modern society, we have put singing on a pedestal as something reserved for only those who can grace professional stages.


Why wait until a child has inhibitions and insecurities about lots of things, including their voice, to start singing lessons? Why not start singing lessons while they’re still enjoying the natural state of their voice? In this way, children can develop confidence in expressing their voice not only through singing but through all forms of vocal communication.


Why Should a Child Take Singing Lessons?

Singing lessons are important for all children because they contribute to a child’s overall development. I have witnessed many benefits for children over my years of working with kids in the voice studio. Singing lessons:

  • Help kids to embrace their unique voice and feel confident using it

  • Guide them through pubertal vocal changes

  • Enhance speech and language development

  • Encourage a growth mindset

  • Develop creativity

  • Improve musical proficiency

  • Lay a foundation in healthy vocal development

  • Help kids learn empathy for their peers and other social skills

  • Develop poise and performance skills

  • Educate kids about their world through history and human emotion

  • Cultivate focus, coordination, discipline, and confidence

  • Develop listening skills and patience

And perhaps most important to kids, singing lessons are FUN! These are benefits that contribute to a child’s growth into adulthood, and they can make a significant difference in a child’s ability to appreciate and enjoy their own voice as an adult. This goes beyond singing; it can contribute to confidence in settings like job interviews, meeting presentations, connecting with and appreciating others in the workplace, and feeling confident to express one’s thoughts and feelings.


Additionally, singing is proven to promote wellness. Through deep breathing, stress relief, and memory enhancement, singing can affect mood and help regulate emotions.


Should Kids Learn an Instrument First?

There were once only a few options for improving singing skills for children: choral singing, general music classes at schools, and other instrumental lessons like piano for building musical aptitude. Many people have adopted the belief that piano playing is the golden ticket to entering the world of music. But in fact, humans have been successfully singing in all cultures way before the pianoforte was even invented. The voice is an instrument.


On a practical level, singing is accessible to everyone. It’s a free instrument unique to each individual and it’s also quite portable – there’s nothing to carry around in a bulky case, wheel in or out of buildings, or buy for the house. Before selecting an instrument outside of themselves, it is beneficial for all children to learn about the abilities of their own instrument so they can understand it and nurture it as they grow.


Who Should Teach a Child to Sing?

There are many teachers who specialize in different aspects of teaching singing. And just like finding a doctor, educational tutor, or athletic coach who specializes in various ages and stages of the lifespan, it is important to find a teacher who has expertise in working with child singers.


The key to successful singing lessons for children is finding a voice teacher who has passion for what they do and knowledge in working with children and the pre-pubescent larynx in the private singing studio. When looking for a teacher, parents should ask questions about the voice teacher’s experience working with children and how that differs for them from teaching adults.


With so many short- and long-term benefits, singing lessons could be one of the most important and influential activities available for a child’s development.


So, when is a good time for a child to start singing lessons?


Now!



Born 2 Sing Kids offers fun, engaging private individual and group voice lessons online for kids ages 5-13, taught by child singer expert Dana Lentini. If you would like to inquire about lessons for your child, send Dana a message.


This article was written with thought and care by Dana Lentini (not a robot ;))

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