The obvious answer to this question is – as soon as possible! Babies start ‘singing’ as soon as they’re able to vocalize – experimenting with their instrument, and exploring the range and versatility of their voice!
For the purposes of this blog post though we’ll discuss the best age to start formal instruction in singing:
#1. Early childhood music education:
There is quite a bit of research that shows that the earlier a child is exposed to music education, the more benefits they receive from that education.
At the CCC we start our Music Makers program as young as 3 years old. We begin our musical instruction by introducing children to basic musical concepts, such as rhythm, pitch, and the diatonic scale through a mix of games, group singing, and movement. The goal of these classes, is to develop an inherent understanding of music, through fun and enjoyment of learning, without the pressure of performance.
#2. Choir versus singing lessons:
Choir and singing lessons are often viewed as an ‘either/or’ proposition, but at the CCC, we don’t believe that division is necessary – each type of instruction can benefit the other! We believe that choir is the best place for younger voices to begin, since there’s less pressure to focus on projection, and more importance is placed on blended sound. The human voice doesn’t fully mature until our mid to late 20’s – so putting too much pressure on young voices can harm them prematurely.
In both choir and voice lessons, instruction includes introduction to basic music theory, and music history elements, good vocal health, musicianship skills (ear training), and application of this knowledge to repertoire. Both choir and singing lessons teach confidence, project management (in preparation for concerts and festivals), and organization.
Choir focuses more on blended sound, harmonization, and excellent listening skills, while voice lessons focus more on projected sound, presentation and storytelling, and working closely with the accompaniment.
We recommend that children interested in singing should begin their musical education in choir, and wait to start singing lessons until they are in their tween/teen years.
#3. Singing for community:
Voice lessons aren’t for everyone. Many people are nervous about performing by themselves, particularly as their voices change and develop in their young teenage years.
This is why we believe in the power of choir! Singing with others is an excellent way to boost self-confidence, to develop a sense of community and teamwork, and becoming more attuned to your body and mind through singing!
The sooner you start singing with others, the more time you have to enjoy! Many of our choristers have made life-long friendships with other choristers, and have developed a love of music that will extend throughout their entire lives!
Do you have any other questions about when to start singing? Let us know in the comments below!