I am by no means a singing expert. I can carry a simple tune and can match my note to a note being played on a piano. That is about as far as my skills go. In fact, I haven’t really been intentionally applying the knowledge I am about to share with you. (I may have already ruined my first child… oooops 🙂 )
However, I came across an interesting article when I was doing some cleaning through my old teaching resources. It is on how to sing to and with kids. I found it very interesting and hope to apply the principles and help at least some of my children feel confident in their actual singing abilities.
Though, just to be clear, I think flat out SINGING with your children is number one, even if you are literally singing flat. Whether you have a beautiful voice, perfect pitch, or not, keep singing with your children. However, why not apply these little tips if you can.
Voice Tips for Singing With Kids
Use High Pitches.
For this simple tip, we can just categorize the pitches in high and low. In an ideal world, we would wish for our kids to be able to utilize all pitches. Definitely find songs that use high pitches and low pitches. However, interesting fact, when reading this article, it pointed out that over time children grow to favor low pitches, because that is what they hear. Most adults prefer lower pitches. To help your child be more well rounded, the article recommends singing mostly ‘high and light’. This will hopefully grow your child’s confidence in higher pitched songs. It recommends telling kids the difference between a singing voice and a speaking voice. The singing voice is usually higher.
Building on the last tip of using a variety, encourage your child to experiment with their voice. Sound effects are an easy way to do this. Let them sporadically jump from a high note to a low note. Facilitate a little silliness as they make funny noises corresponding with their songs. You want to encourage your child to be familiar with what their voice can do and not be afraid to try new things when it comes to singing.
Leave out the piano.
As a piano player, and really my only claim to being a trained musician, this is hard for me to write. 🙂 However, sometimes a piano, a cd, or music file, can mask your child from hearing their own voice or the voices around them. It is typical for toddlers and preschoolers to turn a blind ear and sing as if they were the only one singing. While, this is normal, and cute/funny, we want to encourage our kids to listen and match their volume to those around them. P.S. I don’t really like to encourage my child to sing softer. I instead tell her to listen to her friends and try to sound beautiful with them.
Practice Pitch Match
This is something that I am excited to start with Madison (3). Children aren’t always aware that there are certain notes and pitches throughout a song. The article recommends to play games where the children match a note on the piano with their voice. This gives children awareness of different pitches. It encourages children to listen and conscientiously make decisions about the musicality of the song.
Source: Goetze, Mary. 1981 “Children’s Singing Voices”