BUY TOONING UP
Sunday
Aug162009

FINDING YOUR CHILD'S VOICE

 

My sisters and I had the same music teacher who came to our house weekly. She loved children and had a great personality, so in the beginning we all looked forward to her visits. My twin sister and I had no problem learning scales and reading music, but our older sister was labeled "tone deaf", and made to think she was hopeless. She soon started to dread those weekly visits. Years later after I coaxed her into singing something for me, I discovered the reason why she just didn't get music lessons: her singing voice was much higher than ours. Once I found a comfortable range for her voice on the piano, she had no problem singing in tune. Working with kids I now know that very few children are really tone deaf. The child who sticks out of the group because he or she doesn't seem to be able to carry a tune may be hearing the melody correctly but unable to process it within her or his voice. Ask the music teacher to transpose the melody higher or lower. Another trick is to have the child sing the same melody without a piano. Any teacher with a good ear can take the starting note and transpose the melody up or down accordingly. It may take awhile, but this will make the ear/voice coordination a lot easier. Our first musical frame of reference is our speaking voice. We learn language by mimicking the rhythm, sounds and intonation (rise and fall of a sentence). Learning a song is not much different. If your child is getting frustrated learning a new song have him play along with a rhythm instrument or, even better, make up his own song. That will give you and the music teacher a good idea of where his voice wants to sing.