The right way to deal with children’s voices
What you should consider if you work with children’s voices or if your child wants to have singing lessons.
Do you want to teach children’s voices or do you have a child who loves to sing and wants to learn more? Then you should consider the following points.
In our childhood we build a formative relationship with our voice.
Most children are well brought up: „Shut up, sit up straight, hold back!“ The moment we are given such orders, we begin to lose touch with our voice. They feel guilty to raise their voices until adulthood and feel it is impertinent to shout, even if it is urgently necessary:
Let your child be loud sometimes, does not have to be around midnight. Children’s voices want to let off steam, try the wrong notes, experiment.
I’ll give you an example: As a child, my long-time student was told: „Shut up, you can’t sing!“ Her subconscious has saved: „A mother has to sing lullabies. So I can never be a mother.“ When we met she was already 55 years old and never had children, although she could from a biological point of view. She had a croaking voice and she couldn’t make a sound. Today she sings arias, is in a large choir and has even participated in opera projects.
As you can see, dealing with children’s voices requires a huge responsibility on the part of the parents! You don’t believe how vulnerable children can be in this respect.
„You can’t sing!“ translates the subconscious into, „You’re bad!“
We develop the biggest song blockades in the school. Children are exposed, graded, laughed at. School musicians are usually not trained singers, but are nevertheless perceived as authority in this respect. Fortunately, there are more and more teachers who are educating themselves about voice pedagogy and dealing with children’s voices and who also take singing lessons.
Now you might think: „But there are children who really don’t hit a note, why should I praise them for that?
Here it is: For example, when you cheer, you produce a higher tone, don’t you? So the high tone belongs to a mood! So if there is a negative mood in the room, the „musical“ children will squeeze the right tone and the „unmusical“ children will simply not hit the right tone because the body does not find it plausible. Conversely, there can be a super great atmosphere, the child gets into joyful ecstasy and simply sings far too high! Now the question is: What is really musical?
As you can see, it’s not that easy to answer. Every person has a different approach to his voice and needs different ways to discover it. Maybe some child voices take longer than others: So what?! Every child should have fun singing!
When teaching children’s voices.
First of all, it should be noted: Children should always take intrinsically motivated singing lessons! They have to do it voluntarily and like their singing teacher very much. What else happens: They squeeze in their voice and lose their connection to singing.
Adults are aware of how valuable a singing lesson is, they usually pay for it themselves and buy exercises that seem unusual at first glance: they have their big goal in mind. Children, on the other hand, often want fun and games and do not yet understand why a particular exercise leads to long-term success.
Of course there are such monster kids like me here on this video: click here! Since I was 4 years old I have practiced diligently with my mum every day until the youth welfare office came. But nobody could stop me. Even my parents said, „Why don’t you get some rest, go play?“ My music teachers were more interesting than my friends. If you have a Workaholic child, please make sure that the singing teacher can really sing! Can she/he sing about an orchestra? Did she/he study at a very good music college? I sang the leading roles? – and is she/he also interested in teaching? These are very important questions, all of which must be answered in the affirmative. As a teenager we lost a lot of money and time because I had a teacher who was incredibly charismatic but couldn’t sing herself. She pretended to be an expert on children’s voices because she simply taught. When I was 18, the doctor said I could never be a singer again. Fortunately, my professor in Munich was able to save me again. I learned musicality from the flute player Michael Bardeli, who played at the Hamburg State Opera. You should aim for such a caliber if your child really wants to become a musician.
But back to the normal case: A child who wants to be musically promoted and wants to sing in great choirs all his life or who likes to sing as a student in a cool band: Never force the child to do things it doesn’t want to do. And more importantly, it should be allowed to move freely. Maybe it wants to turn, dance to it or even paint. By case, I have some tips:
Tips if a child does not like to concentrate so well in singing lessons:
• When it starts playing: The characters should then be the protagonists of the piece she is currently singing. Why don’t you play along? So the child learns a little acting and musical interpretation.
• When it starts dancing around the room, use it. My student Theo was always allowed to play catch with his brother during the last exercise. He could sing so higher than the Queen of the Night. And I’ve been out for a while. My student Claire is allowed to invent choreographies for her pieces.
• Do not interrupt the child if it falls into a trance. It is not inattentive but processes very important things.
• If it doesn’t want to finish singing pieces: Work with points collecting and small rewards. It’s like a game.
• Show the kid it’s not bad to make mistakes. Then you paint a small flower on the error place, if it sings correctly the next time, it has then „picked“ the flower. When we end up with a bouquet together, it’s a nice thing. Just as an example.
• The child’s voice also reflects the soul. If a child ever wants to get rid of a private story that comes up while singing, listen carefully and take it seriously. It’s not a lost time.
• Always have fun! Kids feel that!
Repertoire of children’s voices
One should be careful with children’s voices not to choose too heavy pieces. By heavy I don’t necessarily mean musically complicated but refer to the voice compartment. So children should avoid dramatic plays. The voice must never be overwhelmed and hurt afterwards.
And even more important: They should be their favourite pieces! Only with great pieces can the child implement a good breathing technique and sound beautiful. With adults, it’s not much different: Try to force yourself to do something you don’t feel like doing at all. The body will rebel and the breathing will become flat. All this has a strong effect on the vocal technique.