When parents are considering music lessons for their child, many times they will gravitate to voice lessons because their child loves to sing. But what is the best age to start singing lessons? Many parents ask for voice lessons for students as young as 3 or 4 years old, but formal vocal training is not usually successful or appropriate for students this young.
It is best to begin voice lessons once the student’s voice is more grounded and they have begun to go through puberty. Similar to how a fine wine gets better with age, the vocal quality and tone of a person’s voice continues to change through different phases of their life. Once a student has started the process of going through puberty, they will achieve more significant and measurable progress on their instrument.
Puberty can occur at different ages, but typically around age 11 or 12 most children’s voices are in the process of undergoing drastic changes, influenced by hormones. So I use this as a guideline for when the correct age to begin vocal training is.
Once a boy’s voice has begun to grow lower, deeper and more mature sounding, like a man’s voice, then he would definitely be at the right age to begin serious vocal training, and similarly once a girl’s voice grows lower, and begins to sound less “child-like” and more like an adult woman’s voice, then she is at the right age. Obviously a teen girl’s or woman’s voice will always be higher sounding than a boy’s- but it does undergo a significant lowering in the teenage years. You will notice this change in their speaking voices in particular, but also in their singing voice.
Younger children might love to sing, but a focused lesson that focuses solely on vocal technique can be extremely difficult on young, undeveloped vocal chords. In addition, young children seldom have a strong sense of self or the physical awareness to process the teachers directions in a meaningful way. Therefore, we recommend starting young children on piano in order to build a solid foundation for their musical future. By studying notes, sight reading, music theory, and working on their musicianship skills, they will be greatly aided in the future when its the best time to start voice lessons.