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Music/Singing lessons for a 6 year old?

(42 Posts)
Belo Mon 16-Feb-09 15:11:36

I keep being told what a fantastic voice my 6 year old dd1 (year 1) has and what a great sense of rhythm. I'm completely tone deaf so it is lost on me. My mum thinks instead of sending her to gymnastics which she doesn't seem to have any real aptitude for (but loves the leotard) I should find a music or a singing class for her. Is a 6 year old too young to learn an instrument? And if she is not, what would be a good instrument? Or, would singing be better?

I have to say that I have been ignoring my mothers advice, but I have now heard that being good at music helps get into a good secondary school. I am now thinging about it more seriously. Does that make me a bad mother?

smartiejake Mon 16-Feb-09 15:32:47

Hmmmm Might be better to find her a choir or group singing lessons like they do at places like Theatre Train or Stage Coach rather than individual singing lessons.

It can be quite damaging to overtrain a young voice. If you do decide to find a teacher make sure they are very well qualified.

6 is not to early to learn an instrument and if she can sing well and has a good sense of rhythm she might well be musical and take to an instrument well.

Piano, violin or recorder are a good place to start as they don't rely on stature as other orchehestral instruments like the flute or clarinet do.

Being good at music might help getting accepted into a good secondary school if it has status as an arts/ music specialist. Some of these schools have places set aside for children with an apptitude for music.

SOme independent schools also have music scholarships.

If your DD is interested then I would go for it.

And no it doesn't make you a bad mother at all!

AMumInScotland Mon 16-Feb-09 16:08:34

In lots of areas there are group singing or instrumental classes - that can be a good way of starting out. DS went to one at that age which did singing and other stuff, and let them hear lots of different instruments. The following year they could start group instrument lessons - and they were better able to choose because they knew what the instruments sounded like.

islandofsodor Mon 16-Feb-09 21:45:23

My husband is a private singing teacher and we both also work for STagecoach.

I agree with smartiejake that individual lessons is too much too soon for a 6 year old. A good quality group activity such as a choir or theatre school where they learn technique in a fun age appropriate way alongside singing age appropriate songs would be better.

In an idividual lesson where it is just you and the teacher you are quite isolated. Even the most confident of children that age tend to clam up a little and they don;t really ahve the understanding to do a huge amount of technical work. Singing games can get the same effect in a fun, group environment.

As I said dh does both but he thinks it unethical to take on a child under 10 for individual lessons and even then prefers them to be about 11 or 12.

Scorta Mon 16-Feb-09 21:47:21

what about the local church choir?
free and great training

Littlefish Mon 16-Feb-09 21:50:37

I started very gentle singing lessons at 10 which was absolutely the earliest you should really consider it.

Until then, I sang in church choirs, county junior choirs, school choirs etc.

I had piano lessons from 6 yrs old.

I went on to attend one of the London Music Colleges.

The emphasis should definitely be on fun and collaborative music making at your dd's age.

Scorta Mon 16-Feb-09 21:52:58

waves at Littlefish

midnightexpress Mon 16-Feb-09 21:59:34

Interesting thread. DS1 is only 3, but he loves music (has a particular fondness for bluegrass!), and can hold a tune really well for his age I think. We really want to encourage him in this and were wondering the sam ething as you (though aren't thinking of starting him on anything until he older).

I asked him which instrument he would like to play the other day and he insists that he wants to learn the trombone hmm

Littlefish Mon 16-Feb-09 22:02:20

<waves at scorta nervously> - where have we met before???????? smile

smartiejake Tue 17-Feb-09 09:14:27

Also waves to littlefish!

I have just finished my arrangement of "Love is all around" thanks once again for the idea- it sounds great!

(sorry for the thread hi-jack Belo!)

Hulababy Tue 17-Feb-09 09:17:28

My 6y has recently started piano lessons which she is loving. We got her a digital piano for Christmas.

She also loves singing and her music teacher at school things she has some talent there, but 6y is so young so you never know. Through the group her piano teacher works for she can have singing lessons later on.

Littlefish Tue 17-Feb-09 10:14:35

Oh well done smartiejake. I wish I could hear it!

MollieO Tue 17-Feb-09 10:22:45

My ds has been keen to learn the piano from when he was 3. He is now 4 and has piano lessons at school which I have only allowed him to do because he has been persistent in his pleading for lessons for at least a year.

I am amazed at how well he concentrates, how good he is at practising and how well he is learning to read music. He has already done is first 'performance' at a school assembly.

Scorta Tue 17-Feb-09 10:59:03

yes Littlefish - in another name
smile

Littlefish Tue 17-Feb-09 13:31:31

I presumed we must have done, unless you are some random freakoid person just waving at any old fish!

<wracks brains for anyone she knows on here who is musical>

Any clues? Or have you name changed for a reason, and intend to keep your old incarnation under wraps? If so, CAT me so I can wave back with confidence grin

Are you currently teaching? Have we exchanged e-mails recently?

Scorta Tue 17-Feb-09 14:07:37

that's it littlefish
smile

stealthsquiggle Tue 17-Feb-09 14:12:52

DS is 6 (y2) and has started piano lessons this year and is doing well. He also has singing lessons - but theat is a short-term exercise in building confidence rather than because of any aptitude. He has a very low-pitched voice and struggles to sing in the same register as his classmates, so we decided some individual lessons would help him find his own pitch - in which it is succeeding. Both are through the school, and the school was not keen on them doing anything before Y2.

That said, my DB started learning violin at 3 grin

Belo Tue 17-Feb-09 14:54:18

Thanks for all of the advice and I'm glad that none of you have cast me down as a bad mum!

I have ruled out individual singing lessons. I'm going to ask at the church that dh takes the girls about the choir. But, I think from my irregular visits that it is for older children. Failing that, I'll ask at the school if they can recommend any choirs/singing groups. I'm also going to enquire about music lessons and see if there are any instruments that would be supported/encouraged by the school as she gets older. Anything that would help keep the cost down basically!

Thank you all so much!

Littlefish Tue 17-Feb-09 15:35:13

<waves with great confidence to Scorta>

That sounds like a good plan Belo.

ZZZen Tue 17-Feb-09 19:37:30

guitar might be nice, not too difficult once the fingers have toughened a little and it is an instrument you can accompany yourself singing on

deste Tue 17-Feb-09 21:50:44

Glad you have ruled out singing lessons for your DD. My DD did not have a singing lesson till she went to drama school at 19. There is nothing nicer than hearing a child sing with a natural voice. We were advised not to let anyone get their hands on her voice till she was at least 16. We couldn't find a decent singing teacher so she never started until she left home and it was included in her course.

AMumInScotland Wed 18-Feb-09 09:40:52

Well, I'd say hearing your treble singing the first solo verse of "Once in Royal David's City" or "In The Bleak Midwinter" in a darkened cathedral has its plus points too hmm. There's nothing fundamentally wrong in young children having singing lessons, though I'd say a choir setting is a better place for it than solo lessons at that age.

islandofsodor Wed 18-Feb-09 09:57:43

Also there is a danger that children will try to imitate what they hear on the TV/radio. I have had a heck of a job trying not to get my dd to imitate the singing on various Cbeebeies programme including that awful carrie & David thing. They can end up constricting, which is bad. Of course some people can constrict all their life and suffer no ill effects, but for others it can lead to things like nodules.

Goog group lessons can be fantastic, children need to hear good singing being modelled. Individual lessons are fine once the child has enough concentration and intellectual capacity to understand what is required.

ZZZen Wed 18-Feb-09 10:29:31

with individual lessons, doesn't it make a difference whether you're talking about girls or boys?

My dd (8) is in a choir (has been since she was 6) which I am very happy with and she loves it. I do think a good model helps and my dd enjoys singing in a small group. I think she would clam up in an individual lesson although a lot would depend on the personality of the teacher. Personally I have found choir singing is excellent training for the violin; her violin teacher often has her sing a new piece before she starts to play it and I do think it helps.

Actually we had a choir concert last night and I spoke to one of the mums who is considering private lessons for her dd who has an exceptionally lovely voice and a very good ear but is disturbed by the noise of other girls singing at the same time and in fact by any kind of noise, chattering, scraping of chairs etc. So much so in fact that she wants to end choir practice. Her mum is considering private lessons, just 15 minutes or so which is ok I think if you can find a teacher willing to do it. My dd's voice is not outstanding in any way. She sings for pleasure really.

Don't know much about singing/training young voices but the affiliated boys' choir is very intensive from the age of 5 with 3 rehearsals a week and individual singing lessons for all the boys from the onset. I was told this is because they don't have that much time to train a boy's voice before it breaks; whereas there is more time to allow a girl's voice to mature.

islandofsodor Wed 18-Feb-09 10:47:26

Both girls and boys voices "change" (I prefer this term rather than break. Both need treating with care through this period and in the case of boys the larynx increases in size a lot more. However in both boys and girls you get a temporary loss of range, breathiness etc.

Both boys and girls can carry on singing through this transtition.

So no, to be honest it is only tradition that means boys often have more intensive training rather than the physical make-up of the larynx.

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