Singing is a learned skill, much like being able to read, calculate,write, hit a baseball, run a mile, or draw a picture. It is a tonal language that is used the world over. Tuneful singing is possible for anyonewho is physically capable of making and hearing sounds.Below are common questions about singing and ideas for improvement.
My child shouts instead of sings. What can I do?
Most children in kindergarten and first grade confuse shouting or using their voice loudly with singing. They need to experience the different things we are capable of doing with our voice: whispering, speaking, shouting, and then singing. Comparing them and describing their sounds will help the child to know the difference. Reminders when the child is singing are helpful: "Are you using your singing voice?" "Remember to use your 'light voice'."
My child speaks and sings with very low tones. What can I do?
Most of us speak using only the lower range of our voices. Children who have not had much experience moving their speaking voice up and down may have difficulty moving their voice to sing notes up and down. Here's what you can do:
- Make sirens from high to low
- Be a cat and make high "meows"
- Be a puppy and "whimper"
- Draw circles up and down and have the child follow them saying "OOOOHH"
- Play games with high and low sounds or read books using high and low voices.
- Help children identify high, middle, and low sounds that you or they make with their voices. Describe what the sounds are like.
- Avoid judgmental attitudes about singing, such as "I don't have a good voice." Voices are neither good nor bad, they just ARE!!
- Help the child to understand that they are learning to use the parts of their voices, and help them feel good about exploring it.
Sing EVERYDAY!In order to learn a skill, it must be practiced consistently. Families that sing daily give their child opportunities to practice singing and create new brain pathways. Families have fun making music; sing the songs you grew up with, folk songs, patriotic songs, or any that you know. Remember, music is a language and the more exposure your children have to it, the easier they will learn it. Have fun with your voices!!If you are not shy about exploring your voice, most likely your child will not be shy either. See if your child can match the tones and sounds you make, speaking and singing in all parts of your voice, high, middle, and low. It's okay to sing in the car!Where do we spend most of our time? In the car! So why not put in your favorite CD or you child's favorite CD and sing along. The car is a wonderful safe environment to sing in. No one can hear you and you get to sing songs you love. What could be better! So next time you are driving to soccer practice get there while singing. Not only will it help your child's ability to sing better, but it might just relieve some stress and allow you to relax as well.
Resources for Online SongsLooking for a place to go to learn and sing traditional songs with your children? Try these two links:
- Sing-a-long songs with midi and lyrics - a good collection of children's, patriotic, and holiday songs
- The American Folksong Collection - an excellent collection of American folk songs, many of which we use in music class. You will need a special plugin to download the content on this website, but it's worth the small amount of clicking and it's completely safe.