voice teachers and the young student

There is a very large number of voice teachers who will not accept young students and who are quite adamant against them studying voice.  The reasons for this are varied but usually include the fact that children’s voices can be fragile. Also, once they mature into adults they will be dealing with a new voice that in a sense will have to be retrained.  Many teachers often don’t want to deal with children and maintain this policy so they can be more discriminating in who they accept.  Most teachers will simply tell you to have your child join a choir so they can learn musicianship skills.

My philosophy and approach to teaching young students voice is different from a large number of teachers but I have had success with it.  I am always very upfront with the parents that the success their child finds in voice lessons may not be worth the financial expense.  I usually suggest having them study piano as it is musically a better use of their money when kids are young.  If they still want voice lessons for their children I will teach them  as long as they understand that although some progress can be made in vocal technique a large portion of their weekly lesson time will be spent learning ear training, musicianship, sight reading and other skills that I find young students benefit from due to the receptiveness of their aural skills.  As long as parents understand that their voices themselves will not change much I will accept their child as a student.  If they just want to sing songs and improve musicianships and the child enjoys it I have no problem teaching them.  For a lot of younger students it’s a fun musical outlet that a more financially set family will have no problem providing for their children.  Many of my younger students that I have taught for years have improved in vocal technique, learned to sight sing, can identify scales and intervals, and have improved greatly in overall musicianship.  I recommend to all voice teachers considering younger students to be very honest and open with parents and they will usually find lesson beneficial and rewarding.

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