Nurturing a young child’s singing voice

 These French children sing beautifully, without words.  In France, they call this humming.  It is a great way for children to sing and explore melodies.  But I really chose this so you could hear singing in the upper register, where young children sing best.  And babies are most stimulated, and become more alert when they hear singing in this upper head range.  Of course, you and your young children shouldn’t try to go as high as these two.  But it is beautiful, isn’t it?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLfvreE9eAA]

Young children certainly aren’t ready for true voice lessons.  But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t sing.  And there are ways that parents can help them sing correctly AND do some fun activities that will help them develop good habits and work the muscles to sing well. 

  • Explore the many types of noises that the mouth and voice can make
  • Encourage them to sing in their upper range (higher notes)
  • Play with glissando’s – sounds that start on one pitch and slide around to other pitches.  Making high sounds, and sliding to low sounds actually helps children sing in their high head voice
  • Hum your favorite tunes.  Hum a melody, and have someone guess the song. Humming has two specific benefits according to Jean Westerman Gregg, speech-language pathologist with a specialty in voice therapy.  Humming over a period of time increases the strength of the fundamental in the acoustic spectrum, thereby affecting the quality of the singing voice.  Also, over an extended period of time, the vibration sensation of humming seems to increase the carrying power of the voice resulting in more volume with less effort. 
  • Blow with long sustained breathsBlowing helps to increase breath control.  Breath control affects the ability to speak, sing or read a complete sentence or thought.  It is dependent upon the strength of the diaphragm and lungs.  Blowing can benefit both the speaking and singing voice by increasing that strength.  In the Imagine That class this week, we used long blowing breaths to make the scarf rise with “Windy Weather”.  
  • Blow into a scarf, or simply blow around a few tissues, or cotton balls. 
  • Have a contest where two people stand across from each other at a table, with a tissue in the middle, then see who can blow it across the table first when you are both trying to blow it. 
  • Blow through straws and try to move a ping pong ball in the same type of game. 

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