Can you be too young for voice lessons?
This is a great question, one that many vocal teachers disagree on. If you google this right now, you will find a variety of answers, and not one of them is official.
I got my start teaching at a place called Young Singer’s Club, and the very first class I taught was a group of children who were four and five years old. The woman I worked for was a trained opera singer, and she had students of all ages. My singing philosophy was shaped while I worked there: I believe that as long as a child has interest in singing, can follow instructions, and wants to be there, they can take voice lessons.
When I am asked for the age requirements of my voice students, I normally don’t give a numerical response. Instead, I ask the parents if their child loves to sing, and what their attention span is. I have worked with very dedicated five-year-olds, but I have also had experiences with young teens who just weren’t ready to commit to a half hour of singing every week.
Speaking of teens…do I think vocal instruction should be the same for young children as it is for teenagers and adults? Absolutely not. There are techniques and skills that a mature voice can handle, that a child’s voice cannot. There are abilities and subtleties that come out naturally in the voice as we age, and those things should not be forced upon a very young voice.
However, there are many things a young singer can learn, such as how to breathe to support singing, how to open and enunciate, and how to sing out in a healthy way. Through lessons, young singers can also develop their musical ear, rhythm, and expand their range. They will increase their repertoire and gain confidence performing music in front of others. And hopefully, they will have fun!
There are many valuable skills and experiences a child can gain from voice lessons—at any age they express an interest. If you have a good teacher that knows what is appropriate for a child’s voice, go ahead and enroll your kiddo in those lessons.
Chances are they are going to sing anyway.