Ed. note: Guest post by Kimberly Denness-Thomas, vocal teacher.
As a vocal coach for over 8 years with South Island Studio, I have worked with all styles of voices, young and old, and I get asked a lot of questions.
Some of the answers may surprise you.
Question 1 - 'My child is 6 and sings all the time at home, can she/he start voice lessons now?'
I love to hear someone so moved by music like this at a young age. The reality is the anatomy of our voice grows with us and if you work the systems, vocal chords, muscles, etc too hard, while still young and immature, you can do lasting damage to a voice.
Rather than saying no altogether, I will take students, age 7 and up, and design a music appreciation program that includes fun and silly warm ups, learning about different styles of music, Do Re Mi scale fundamentals, and a little singing with age appropriate songs that are healthy and safe for young musicians. We do not train hard together as 'vocalists' at that age. We do have a lot of fun with music. As the student matures, so does the training. By age 13 and 14, the anatomy begins to mature and full expansive vocal studies are possible.
Question 2 - 'Do you ever get anyone who really can't sing, I have always wanted to, but I can't carry a tune?'
This question makes me sad. So many people have been told they can't sing, or that they are tone deaf, or too loud (or too quiet) and have had a seed of doubt planted that took away their confidence until they stopped singing altogether.
My answer is always... Everyone can sing. I really believe this because I've seen it happen with many people.
The work we do together, everyone can do. Finding where your voice lives on a scale and freeing it in song, can be learned. Hearing the note and singing the note, can also be learned. You need but open the door to the possibility, the rest we do together.
We all share the mechanisms within in us to free our voices. Will we all be performing/recording artists? Probably not, but that should not stop you from learning to open your voice in song if that is your passion.
'Today I am going to do this for me. I am going to sing, because it feels good'.
One of my greatest joys is working with adults who have held back all their life, and finally in their 40s, 50s or even 60s, decided today is the day.
These are just two of the most common questions I hear. Our music lessons are really not so mysterious. We work together, taking small steps, using many techniques, to help you be the best that you can be, naturally and with confidence.