SINGING: AN ART/ A HOBBY
One of the most enriching experiences one can have, is to sing. Most of us enjoy singing, even from a very young age. There are some people who can sing really well, even with little or no prior musical experience. There are others who need to train themselves in order to sing. People differ in their ability to sing as well as in their voice range.
WHAT IS ‘VOICE RANGE’?
In general, our vocal range is the lowest note we can sing to the highest note we can sing. One may be having more than one vocal range, but before we decide about our range for singing, we should see where is our voice most comfortable.
BEFORE STARTING TO SING
- Take proper care of your voice: Learners need to be careful enough to keep their voice healthy. They should avoid screaming and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
- Warm up before singing: Vocal warm-ups are important before any practice or performance. Students can damage their voices by singing loudly without warming up. One of the first things students learn in singing lessons is how to warm up properly.
- Listen to the kind of songs you want to sing. (Your ears should get used to what you want to hear) Ear training, or interval training, is a method for improving pitch and becoming a better singer. Instructors teach students how to train their ear in singing lessons, and students should make sure to practice this important skill.
- Practice singing every day: Students who practice daily improve at a much faster rate than those who do not practice regularly. By setting aside 30 minutes per day for practice, students will, over time, progress remarkably.
- Learn the lyrics first: Learning and memorizing the melody and lyrics of a song will allow learners to focus on their singing technique and not be distracted by trying to remember the lyrics while singing.
- Sing with others who are learning: Playing music with co-learners is a ‘learn with fun’ and one of the most effective ways to consolidate the concepts learned in the classes. Learners who sing in a group or band setting, apart from solo practice, tend to learn much faster and better than those who only practice alone. Singing with friends or peers is an enriching and inspirational experience as it provides motivation to improve.
HOW TO FIND YOUR VOICE TYPE
- Warm up. Before doing any type of singing, it’s really important to do a vocal warm up, particularly when singing near the edges of our vocal range…
- Find your lowest note…
- Find your highest note…
- Compare your lowest and highest note…
VOICE CHANGES WITH AGE
Voice change is one of the secondary features that come along with puberty. In boys, this happens between ages 12 and 16 and in girls, between ages 10 and 14.
Dr Milstein says, “Before puberty, your larynx, or voice box, sits higher in the neck. As you go through puberty, the larynx grows and moves down lower in the neck. Your vocal folds (cords) also thicken and enlarge.”
This change is more noticeable in boys. Their voices can suddenly drop about an octave lower,” he says.
Girls’ voices also change as they reach puberty, but the change is less significant. Their pitch drops only about three tones.
This process may take up to a year. Usually, by the age of 17, the voice gets stable.
A vocal warm up is required, particularly before starting to sing. This is in order to avoid straining or damaging the voice. Humming scales, sirening, and singing scales using different vowel sounds, are few simple techniques to warm up the vocal cords.
Typically, children are ready to start singing at the age of 7 to 9 years.
There are few ways to find out whether a child is ready to start singing lessons. Mostly, the children are said to be ready to start singing lessons, when they are mature enough to take instructions and follow a certain routine.
HOW TO KNOW WHEN IS AN INDIVIDUAL READY TO TAKE UP SINGING?
Here are some signs that an individual is ready to take up singing.
- A person is keen to sing. Those who are keen and motivated, take up a skill like singing or playing an instrument, much faster. If someone enjoys music or sings along with the radio or TV programmes, it is a sign that they are ready to start learning how to sing.
- The learner can focus for at least half an hour at a stretch. Consistent practice is the key to learning of any skill. If the learner can focus on a task for 30 minutes, he/she should be able to handle taking singing lessons.
- The learner can manage time to practice singing. In addition to lessons, learners also need regular practice time in order to learn to sing.
- The learner is mature enough to commit. Children can widely differ by age, in terms of their growth and maturity. If the children are able to take directions well, they will have more success following their teacher’s instructions. More mature students can also self-manage their practice time.
- The learner has the patience to work with any speech disorders, for instance, stammer, lisp, etc. Learners with speech disorders may find it a little frustrating when first starting singing lessons. However, learning to sing, can actually help the learners develop self-confidence, if the instructor is friendly and motivating in nature.
The best age to learn singing depends less on physical maturity and more on factors like self-motivation, available practice time and the ability to focus.
The best age to start singing lessons varies from student to student. However, learning to sing requires regular practice, focus and attention to detail.
People who start singing lessons, should be socially mature enough to focus in the lesson room and follow the coaching of their instructor. Children are generally ready for this type of instruction between ages 7 and 9. The human voice continues to mature throughout life; hence students of any age can benefit from singing lessons. It is never too late to start singing! Moreover, skills like singing can be an effective way to keep our mind and body relaxed.
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