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Can you teach a tone deaf child to sing?

(28 Posts)
SarfEast1cated Wed 30-Dec-15 13:17:40

This is possibly not the right place for this question, but I'm not sure where else to put it.
So, my DD is 8, she loves singing, but isn't very good at it! She sings really flat (as do I and my mother too - I blame myself). Is it possible to teach her how to sing in tune? She loves it so much, I'd happily pay for lessons, so she gets picked for the choir.
Any suggestions?

ReallyTired Wed 30-Dec-15 13:29:51

The right singing teacher could make your daughter sound better. The difficult is finding a teacher who knows how to teach singing. Young voices can be damaged if they are encouraged to belt. Is there a council choir she could join. County music service junior choirs are not usually selective.

ReallyTired Wed 30-Dec-15 13:31:48

Very few children are truely tone deaf, it's impossible to teach perfect pitch, but most people can improve their sense of pitch.

SarfEast1cated Wed 30-Dec-15 13:39:03

Thanks really. I'm not trying to groom her for a broadway career. Her drama club often do musicals and I can see that she is being moved to the back of the stage for the singing parts. Being able to sing is a real gift, and I would love to be able to give that to her. I'll have a look online and see if I can find someone!

irvine101 Wed 30-Dec-15 15:56:57

My friend used to be completely out of tune, but loved singing.
Nobody said anything negative about it, and she kept on singing at every opportunity. After few years, she was a best singer out of all of us.
Singing teacher sound like a good idea.

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 30-Dec-15 17:20:01

There are good singing teachers out their teaching good technique to children. Visiting your local music shop is a good start they often have contacts.

SarfEast1cated Wed 30-Dec-15 17:22:34

Thanks both, good idea. A lot of our local schools select on musical aptitude, so I guess it won't hurt for that either!

Pythonesque Wed 30-Dec-15 17:29:35

What she needs is less about developing her singing and more about developing her ear. Do you have any musical instruments in the house? Perhaps the first thing is to try to match pitches of notes, see if she can do that. Can you or she hear whether you have matched pitch? If you know whether you are above or below the pitch then you are on your way.

I would also say, she is probably trying to sing too low for her age, a lot of stuff presented to children is around middle C which is actually quite hard for children to sing properly, though easiest for most adults. Go up several notes higher when trying to work out if she can match pitches and see what her voice starts to sound like there.

Have a look at the ABRSM forums - there have been discussions before there on this kind of topic.

Good luck!! I'd love to try and help if you lived anywhere near me.

LittleCandle Wed 30-Dec-15 17:39:08

Don't worry, she's only just reaching the age where most children start being able to sing. It is only very musical children who can sing tunefully under the age of 8 or 9. I was told this by a music teacher friend, to whom I complained that my DC were tone deaf like their father. Neither of them are, they just weren't able to sing in tune early.

SarfEast1cated Wed 30-Dec-15 18:31:40

I'm in London python are you Local? A friend recommended a music app a few years ago so will see if I can find it. If I remember rightly you had to match short tunes on that. Thanks also for optimistic story candle. Will definitely see if I can find somewhere. I think we have a conservatoire nearby.

SarfEast1cated Wed 30-Dec-15 18:36:33

I've just found the app it's the 'ABRSM aural trainer' which I will reinstall on her iPad. Thanks everyonegrin

YeOldeTrout Wed 30-Dec-15 20:05:32

How can someone be tone-deaf but also tell that they are flat? It's either or the other.

YeOldeTrout Wed 30-Dec-15 20:09:51

*one or the other...

ReallyTired Wed 30-Dec-15 20:11:24

Trout, I wondered that....

I think that a lot of children get discouraged from singing because of unrealistic expectations. An eight year old would benefit from experience in a choir where they sing simple rounds and really have to listen to different parts.

Most people don't have perfect pitch, but they can sound acceptable with a little practice.

YeOldeTrout Wed 30-Dec-15 20:22:43

Believe me, I can't tell when people are flat. I will say to someone "I think that singer was flat" and I'll be sternly told it was perfectly in key. Then I think I sing ok but I'm told I sound extremely awful.

SarfEast1cated Wed 30-Dec-15 20:27:19

As you can probably guess I know nothing about the mechnics of being able to sing, or what the difference is between being tone deaf or flat. I guess I assumed that if you were tone deaf, you would sing but not realise you didn't sound the same as everyone else. I know then when I try to sing, I can never make the sound coming out of my mouth match what I hear. If it is possible to teach her how to sing tunefully, I would definitely get her some lessons.

spudmasher Wed 30-Dec-15 20:37:17

Yes lessons will absolutely help. What will make the difference is your child's ability to learn from mistakes and have a growth mindset about learning to sing- make mistakes, learn, get better. Rather than make mistakes, give up.
DD age 10 sang out of tune, but she could dance and act. A huge amount of luck led to her being accepted onto a training programme for a west end show. A years training later, she was cast in the west end show and was in it for a year. That led to her getting a scholarship at a stage school where she ended up being deputy head girl in year eleven. This led to her getting a full scholarship at one of the best musical theatre colleges for a three year diploma leading to a free degree. She's just finished her first term and she still says she's not good at singing, but I can assure you she is! The voice can be trained and being brave enough to train it is the key.

Zodlebud Wed 30-Dec-15 20:52:46

I would vouch for a few singing lessons with a teacher who specialises in teaching children. Many won't take children on until they are 8 or 9 as pushing the voice when it's still maturing can cause damage.

My daughter is 6 and has lessons as she sings constantly. From the moment she wakes up until she goes to bed and it sounded awful. Even after two lessons there was a huge improvement but as another poster said, I think this is because she's starting to listen as opposed to some miraculous hidden talent.

So long as the lessons are fun and with a specialist teacher - go for it!!!! As another source to find teachers check out the singing teachers who work at the London stage schools (Sylvia Young, Italia Conti etc). They often run classes for pupils who don't attend full time, both individual and small groups. Heaps of fun and very child centred.

Ta1kinPeece Thu 31-Dec-15 16:03:48

And if your child is truly and utterly tone deaf they can always join in with this grin
www.youtube.com/watch?v=mz7RaXOC9Oo

Scarydinosaurs Thu 31-Dec-15 16:13:14

I was an awful singer when I was younger (I wasn't allowed to join the choir- people would shuffle away from me in assembly) and my mother paid for singing lessons to help me with the aural part of my piano exams. It helped so much! I had an excellent teacher who picked really good songs for me. I ended up being quite good at sight singing!

I'm still not great, but I'm better than I was, and there is one song that I could sing pretty well. In fact, she scored an outstanding type score in her lesson obs that she had with me, and told me afterwards the observer was stunned that I'd improved so much since the first time she saw me. In her lovely honest way she said to me "you were dreadful before and then you sung it actually in tune!" grin

CiderwithBuda Thu 31-Dec-15 16:20:02

Apparently very few people are truly tone deaf. There is an online test yu can do. I did it as always thought I was tone deaf. Apparently I'm not. However I cannot sing. I would love to though. Would just love to be able to sing well enough to join a choir.

trixymalixy Thu 31-Dec-15 16:28:30

This is really interesting. My family are all very good singers and I have been a bit disappointed that my DC don't seem to have inherited it. I'm encouraging them to sing at every opportunity, DS is in the school choir and they just got a singing game for the wii which you score better if you sing in tune. It's encouraging to hear that singing can improve with lessons.

antimatter Thu 31-Dec-15 16:32:39

I would recommend finding a Musical theater singing teacher.

RandomMess Thu 31-Dec-15 16:32:43

I find it VERY difficult to sing tune and always score low in aural tests.

In all seriousness having a keyboard (just a basic one) and getting her to sing to the notes will help, something I struggled with - I had to really listen and focus to make my voice the same note as the one being played. Practise really has helped though!!!

WhoKn0wsWhereTheMistletoes Thu 31-Dec-15 16:46:34

I would have said the same about my DD (nearly 10) a year ago, she is in a drama group that does musicals but doesn't want specific singing lessons. Her drama teacher advised encouraging her to sing along to recorded music as much as possible and a year on there is a big improvement.

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