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Can a child be taught to sing in tune?

(19 Posts)
Zant Mon 06-Aug-18 22:21:06

Yes. 99% sure!!

My experience: at age 10 everybody kept telling me to shut up. Age 12 started taking piano lessons, got hooked. Age 17 started trying by myself to learn how to sing ONE note in tune (with NO method). By age 19 I could sing in a 4 part choir (as a baritone) and read simple melodies at first sight.

Since then I've enjoyed singing Brahms, Ravel, Debussy and Britten in choirs. Sometimes I deviate slightly from the pitch.

Now (age 46) I´m teaching music at a University in Argentina and developing a music learning game for mobile devices (already available for iOS). I can't post the link because it would be considered spam!

IamGluezilla Mon 09-Dec-13 09:45:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FredFredGeorge Sun 08-Dec-13 23:09:19

rrreow amusia (or tone deafness) is not the inability to tell the difference between any tones, but it's an inability to tell the difference between 2 close tones, the closeness perceived as the same differs by degree.

When you cannot tell the difference between notes, you cannot tell if one is right or wrong - they both sound the same. All the amusic's I know can't hold a tune - and the research above suggests it's unlikely to be able to be taught. But no it's not equal.

rrreow Sun 08-Dec-13 22:32:54

Yes, absolutely. I would wager that hardly anyone is actually completely 'tone deaf' (it would be hard to speak with the cadence of normal speech). Not being able to hold a tune is not equal to being tone deaf.

Singing in tune is a skill that can be taught, but obviously will be more work for some people than others.

devilinside Sun 08-Dec-13 19:58:30

It's probably a spectrum isn't it? with those at the lower end completely tone deaf and those at the high end pitch perfect. I can certainly get my DD to sing in tune, I tell her when she's going flat, and she lifts her voice and gets there in the end

Takver Sun 08-Dec-13 19:48:59

I'm not sure an interest in music helps that much, other than making you more inclined to work at it. I played instruments from age 7, grade 5 level in 2 and well above in one other, played in bands lots etc. I still can't sing in tune unless singing with a group & really working at it . . .

Spockster Sun 08-Dec-13 19:03:45

At the moment, she can't even sing a song she knows in tune, but no-one has tried hard to drill it into her. I was musical at school and can sing in tune, but I don't have a nice voice. I often wonder if it was down to an interest in music early on (recorder etc). The cause/effect debate is interesting, as is the nature/nurture one!

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Takver Sun 08-Dec-13 16:00:27

I'd say there are two different things:

a) can you teach the child to sing a specific song in tune
b) can you teach the child to sing in tune in general

I can say that you can definitely teach a tin-eared child to sing specific songs in tune. DD is a shockingly bad singer naturally - she really has no interest in music, despite a reasonable amount of encouragement, and if she listens to something and tries to sing it she is all over the place (ie not even up and down in the right places).

However, the songs that they had to sing at primary school for Christmas concerts, eisteddfods etc she could sing in tune. I don't know how they drilled it in to them (it def involved visual signs pointing up and down and a LOT of rehearsals) but they certainly manage it with every single child in the class.

Teaching the same child to hear music correctly and sing in tune all the time - I don't know.

DeWe Sun 08-Dec-13 15:40:16

I think it's an interesting discussion.

I have heard people state that people can always be taught to sing in tune and there's no such thing.

However my dsis is tone deaf. She's very aware and has tried lots of different ways of learning. She can just about follow a tune if it isn't too high/low and she knows it very well. But she doesn't sound natural, perhaps like watching someone act who has learnt exactly where to stand, how to position their body, do the voice inflections, but somehow it isn't natural.
My borther is also tone deaf, but doesn't realise. He'll swear he's singing in tune.
I started singing in tune at about age 10, but I had to concentrate very hard. I can hold a tune now, and have quite a big range, but I can't harmonise, I can't sing against another tune.

Dh has perfect pitch-give him a chord and he'll tell you exactly which notes are played. He couldn't sing in tune until he was about 10/11. He now has quite a nice voice, and can harmonise and sight sing without any difficulty.

My girls have singing lessons. Dd1 was singing in tune from before she could talk. She's got a nice voice, I suspect she has perfect pitch, she can harmonise etc. very easily.
Dd2 is much more like me. She didn't really sing in tune until she was 7 or so. She now still will lose pitch if she isn't concentrating, but her voice is improving, and she has a lovely tone when the range is right. It is possible she will end up with a nicer voice than dd1.

Spockster Sun 08-Dec-13 11:19:29

It's not really important in the grand scheme of things, I would be rather more bothered if she couldn't count or read...we are not a musical family, but it us so lovlet to be able to sing. I will ask her if she'd like singing lessons.

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lljkk Sun 08-Dec-13 11:11:08

mmm... I think they can improve but will always be a battle and never good.
I was a terrible child singer & can sometimes sing in tune now (I think); but I still can't hear music like normal people. Have learnt to play Guitar & piano, still can't hear pitch properly.

DH can hear differences in pitch quite well but can't sing; he even notices when a song has a key change (or so he says, I can't verify that).. I can't sing or hear pitch, and my sense of rhythm is terrible (have been publicly ridiculed for all of those often). So far, DC are more like DH than me (good for them).

FredFredGeorge Sun 08-Dec-13 11:09:01

So if she's doesn't have amusia, then I believe the chances are very good with a good teacher and motivation, if she does then there was some research on this:

unfortunately I don't have access to the paper, but, there's a report here:

which suggests that there wasn't much success but the subjects loved it.

NotCitrus Sun 08-Dec-13 11:05:57

Probably. I had my piano teacher insist she was going to teach me to sing when I was 12. Two years.later, I can hold a tune, though my accurate range is limited. But that did involve lessons twice a week for two years, and at the end.we.agreed never to see each other again.

Most people would learn faster than that.

Reiltin Sun 08-Dec-13 11:01:58

Some people are tone deaf, but very very few. Def less than say they are! As with everything, some people are naturals but some need to work at it. If you take her to a singing teacher, they'll be able to help her along - give her some tricks and set her on the right path. Singing is such a wonderful thing and is so prevalent in our society (yay!) that if she wants to learn, she'll reap huge benefits throughout her life. Good luck smile

Oubliette0292 Sun 08-Dec-13 10:59:58

Watching this thread with interest as I too have a dd who loves to sing but cannot hold a tune.

Clobbered Sun 08-Dec-13 10:59:14

Yes, a decent singing teacher could help, if she wants to learn. Is it so important in the grand scheme of things?

Wolfiefan Sun 08-Dec-13 10:57:12

I'm a long way from 10 but can't sing in tune. Watching with interest!

Giraffeski Sun 08-Dec-13 10:51:30

I could have written this word for word! My dm suggested singing lessons but I am sceptical and wonder if it will be a waste of money if it can't be helped!

Spockster Sun 08-Dec-13 10:50:05

My daughter is 10 and loves to sing but cannot hold a tune. It is quite painful to hear and she gets teased about it at school :-( . Is there anything I can do to help?

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