One child does well on her English exam. It’s easy to figure out she must be good at English. Another child has been picked for the local football team. He’s the next David Beckham. But why is it so tricky to know if children can sing or not?
Now, there are some things to look out for in terms of technical ability, if you’re looking to take the singing further, and we’ll cover that in the next post.
But first, we need to talk about why you would want to assess your child’s singing ability in the first place AND how going against the grain, and understanding that singing doesn’t necessarily mean performing, will help you make that call.
How many times have you heard someone say:
“I know I’m biased, but I really think my little Britney (replace with your superstar’s name) is a good singer”
It’s a statement we hear a lot and one that comes with a bag load of doubt every time it’s muttered.
The point is, it may be true: you may think that your child is good. But you know as well as I do, quite rightly, there isn’t one person on this planet that loves your child quite as much as you do and your self confessed bias is probably more apparent than you think*. As a result, there is a small chance that your view may be a little swayed.
*side note: please do not ever change that bias… it’s beautiful.
Do they need to be good anyway?
We live in a world where a natural next step after witnessing a little bit of back-seat chirping, to and from school, is performing on stage, on a reality TV show in front of millions of people.
It sounds ridiculous, but it’s actually true. And this format is just a scaled up version of entering local talent competitions, and/or any other situation like it… in terms of chucking kids on stage too soon.
This is what often creates the uncertainty over a child’s singing skill. Singing performances can be highly subjective, and it’s hard to know if other people will like what your child sounds like. Which often induces fear and forces the question at the top of this blog post.
And so there’s definite truth in saying that we need to get some distinction between singing and performing. For some reason, singing is an activity where the balance is swayed heavily toward the final destination (the stage or the fame and fortune) and not the experience and enjoyment of the now. Remember that it’s OKAY for singing to remain as something that can be done just for fun.
Although they often walk hand in hand, singing and performing (in front of a crowd) are two very different things and demand two very different training approaches. It’s valuable to remember that one of them brings joy, pretty much exclusively… And the other can be a jungle of fear, judgement and upset.
A chirpy little trill here and there might mean Britney is destined for the bright lights, but then again, it might just mean she likes to make pretty noises. And at the early stages, that’s what really matters.
For example, if a child can smash a few notes on a piano, we wouldn’t automatically throw them up on stage and expect them to knock out some Beethoven. But in singing, this expectancy exists in schools and singing groups as the driver. Don’t get me wrong, at Singfinity we dream BIG but, we also understand that the top of the mountain is reached by taking one step at a time.
Early in a child’s singing journey, if we remove the requirement to perform and focus on the singing, it also removes the expectations and they can enjoy all the benefits of what comes with singing, with very little downside.
Incidentally, if we do this, it’s a lot easier for us to work out if little Britney actually has some chops, or not, too.
Next time: what to do if your child wants to take the fun further! (I’m gonna’ outline what to look out for and how you can help your child take the first step on the singing ladder).