I had a mother ask me if it was OK for her 8 year old daughter to be singing and humming all the time. “Does this help train or hurt her voice?”. Then she proceeded to tell me that her daughters voice was high and squeaky and can be annoying, so she tries to avoid it or ignore it. Hmmmm. Then she asks if there is any benefit to the singing, other than her daughter being happy and feeling good. Double hmmmm. And then she asks if singing lessons would be good for her. Triple Hmmmmm.
Methinks Mom is asking if her daughter getting singing lessons could help Mom. This was my answer.
It absolutely helps. Actually, she is helping herself. She is establishing her control skills of frequencies and building recognition of them as well in relation to other frequencies.
In other words, she is playing around with notes using the same system of learning she used to start walking. Trial and error. Minimally, don’t stop her. In fact, encourage her by acknowledging her and telling her how good she sounds regardless.
This is no different really than the a boy bouncing a basketball and throwing it back and forth with someone. He is establishing his control skills of the ball and building spacial recognition of the ball, his environment, and his relationship to others and the physics of the environment. As long as he is winning more than he is losing, he will continue.
In other words, he is learning to play ball. Both are skills that both children are experimenting with and learning. And they both need to win at what they are doing.
Never tell her she sounds bad. Never tell her that she is annoying you with her singing. Never. Not even if she in fact does sound bad. So what. She’s learning. Encourage her, don’t tell her she is annoying you.
And ignoring her or avoiding her is telling her she is annoying.
When she fell on her face learning to walk, did you walk away without saying a word or did you encourage her? Most likely you stood a few feet away with a HUGE grin on your face encouraging her to walk towards you.
She may just be humming or singing, but believe me, on some level, whether directly or indirectly, she is singing or humming to you. So put on a grin and encourage her.
She’s happily creating and living. Basically doing what we as parents always want for our children. If she is not very good at it yet, help her.
As far as lessons go, in essence she is already giving herself lessons simply by humming and singing. And contrary to what anyone says, you are never to young to start learning or taking lessons. If she can speak, she can take lessons.
The only reason you don’t give babies singing lessons, or any lessons for that matter other than hand eye coordination exercises is because they can’t speak. Therefore concepts are hard to deliver without the help of words.
So by all means get her lessons, or better yet, teach her yourself. Play music and LET her, not have her, sing along with the ones she likes.
If you can sing well, sing along with her. If you can’t don’t. If you can’t sing in tune, don’t sing with the song when she is singing. But DO sing with the song when she is not singing and is listening to you. However, let her hear the song before you sing a note.
There is a specific reason for this. It is called objective relativity. Observing someone singing badly will give her the reality of what NOT to do and what sounds bad, because she can hear what it should be like compared to what you are doing.
Singing badly WITH her will only hinder her and subjectively lead her astray.
If you CAN sing, by all means, sing with her. It will help her to match the correct frequencies and be in tune with you and song. But let her hear and sing the song first without you singing a note, THEN sing with her. Get the idea?
The entire point is for her to get used to frequencies (notes) and their relativity to the other notes around them. She will only get better and better and better at “bouncing and passing the ball” as it were.
I have a book that I have written on the subject for beginner to intermediate singing called Singing From Scratch. In it there are 61 vocals drills that you can use to help her develop her singing voice at her pace and willingness.
But the take away here is, let her sing. Encourage her (yes I meant to bold only the ‘courage’ part), and help her with positive and constructive acknowledgment and lessons.
Children are blank canvasses. What you paint on them, you will see in them. If it is negative, you will see ugliness and insecurity. If it is positive, you will see beauty and extroversion.
Sing on munchkin. Sing on.