If a child doesn't seem to have a natural talent for singing, are voice lessons really worth it? Professional singer and musician Patricia Shih says they are, for several reasons.
We asked professional singer and musician Patricia Shih:
I feel that singing is a talent you're either born with or not. If a child doesn't seem to have that naturally, how worth it are voice lessons?
"Singing is like laughing; all people are born with the ability to do it. Of course some people are born with a more beautiful "instrument" than others, and maybe a "natural" ability to hear and match pitch; but singing should be a pleasure, especially for children. We've all heard horror stories of an adult telling a child to just "mouth the words" and not to sing, thereby crushing the joy of singing, perhaps forever. What a terrible shame, and how devastating to a child!
As a parent and a professional singer, I would say encourage your child to sing no matter how "off key" she or he may be. Singing "on key" is a matter of ear training -- and so yes, if your child loves to sing, by all means give voice lessons. Remember, the joy of music is what we need to foster, not necessarily training to be an opera singer. The love of music -- and the freedom, encouragement, and confidence to make one's own -- is a precious life-long gift parents can give to their child."
-- Patricia Shih, a professional singer and musician who lives on Long Island, has specialized in music for children and families for more than two decades. She is the author of two books on music (Gigging: A Practical Guide for Musicians and Truly Rotten Gigs from Hell: The Funny, The Sad, The Unbelievably Bad True Tales from the Music Trenches) and has written for Pass it On!, the journal of the Children's Music Network, among other publications. Shih performs nationwide in schools, libraries, museums, parks, planetariums, zoos, and beyond.
Also see: Voice Lessons: When Your Child Should Start
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