When your child learns to sing with Dr Dan Jess or any other teacher, they begin to experience various rewards and benefits, that help them develop across a few areas of their life. While these benefits differ depending on the age of your child, there are some common threads. This article addresses the main advantages that you can expect your son or daughter to receive from taking private singing lessons.
Singing supports your child’s overall learning and growth
Singing can support children’s learning and emotional development. When we teach in the private studio, we consider different methods and approaches to help your child develop their skills in difference ways, not just musicality. Why is this important, you might ask? Well, a single example of many might be this: learning to interpret literature such as poetry has a direct and considerable impact on how well your child sings. It also helps them become a much stronger scholar at school.
One way or another, children are exposed to and involved with singing from their earliest years. Whether it’s a parent singing them to sleep, or the opening theme song from their favourite TV programme, singing plays an important part in a child’s development. Singing lessons in the private studio create structure around this, helping your child to advance even more firmly.
The educational value of singing
Singing encourages your child to express their emotions and sharpens their ability to communicate while exercising lip and tongue movement. But one of the biggest benefits of singing is the repeated use of the ‘memory muscle’.
Learning a piece of information attached to a tune embeds that information more rapidly in a child’s mind. The majority of children learn the alphabet not by simply saying the letters but singing them.
As children get older the power of singing in their lives can still be extremely beneficial. Matthew Freeman, development manager of ‘Sing up’, a national singing project to help enhance music in children’s education, has found that singing can be a great teaching tool for children. It can be used as a creative and fun way to increase enjoyment and achievement in subject areas where children normally struggle.
“Many children do not think of singing as ‘work’ and willingly participate in sessions,” he says, “Singing can be used as a tool to increase enjoyment and participation in a number of different subjects. A skilled singing tutor can cover subjects as diverse as English, numeracy, science, languages, and culture to name but a few.”
Mathematical and spatial skills: Children who have taken music classes score higher on math tests. Music enhances brain development in areas tied to pattern recognition, counting, organization, time, and division of larger notes into smaller notes (i.e. fractions).
- Vocabulary: Music introduces children to the sounds and meanings of a wide range of words and helps strengthen memory skills.
- Literacy: Alphabet and number songs help children remember letter and number sequences.
- Rhymes and Prediction: As children sing, they learn about rhymes. Rhymes can help them learn to predict things… “if this line ends with star, the next line must be the one that ends with are.”
- Predictability and Cause & Effect: When you sing the same song to your baby or child over and over, they learn to expect what is coming next… “After mom says ‘with a one step, and a two step’ she’s gong to tickle me!”
- Tradition: Music is a unique and powerful way for children to connect to their roots. An African-American spiritual, a Yiddish or Irish lullaby, a Mexican folk song… all introduce a child to the family’s heritage in a way that goes beyond words or pictures.
Singing is, of course, not something that has to be done alone. Learning to work together in a group or choir can give children a sense of collectiveness and can help children make friends. I always recommend that your child gets involved in singing competitions, choirs or musicals at school. This helps them socialise in a fun and engaging way, while practicing and advancing their musical skills even further.
Tips to get your child singing more
- Use singing resources, such as books and CDs with activities, to make children associate singing with fun games can be useful. I sometimes use such resources in the studio, but most of the time we create our own during the lesson, so your child has specific, unique materials that are individually suited to their needs. Not all teachers do that, so be sure to engage a teacher who does (because one size does not fit all, so to speak).
- Look out for group singing classes or encourage your child to participate in the school choir and other singing groups in your area.
- Try singing a bedtime story and encourage them to join in with you, if they are a smaller child or toddler.
- Make up songs to help children learn spellings they find difficult to remember. Acronym songs can be quite fun for kids!
- Encourage children to sing around the house or sing along to the radio in the car on the way to school.