Unique Vocal Technique for Kids

by Florence Cizner



David shows how to sing/ our student Welcome to the website of our vocal school, which teaches vocal techniques for children. This unique singing school is intended for vocal teachers and choir masters as well as for teachers in nursery and elementary schools. However, even parents who want to sing with their children at home may use it.This singing lessons are a sophisticated tool how to sing better.
The following points may convince you of the exceptional nature of this vocal instruction method:

1) The goal of method is to lead children to work naturally with their voices, which guarantees that their child-like timbre is preserved even at a high technical level.
Tereza on singing lessons / our student 2) The school has been developed systematically in such a way that it enables group work with children as well as vocal instruction of child soloists.
3) The school is not intended just for professionals but for amateurs as well, as it makes all of the required vocal technique terminology accessible and easily understandable.
4) The school contains a large quantity of video/more than500 videos/ and audio recordings, exercises, figures, musical scores and a songbook.
5) The exercises are divided into two age categories. The younger category is for children from approx. age 5 to 7, while the older category is for children approx. 7 years of age to puberty.
6) The exercises for the younger category are comprised of voice and movement games. This approach achieves the best results because children find games to be a much more acceptable and interesting form of work than the commonly used and often mechanically repeated voice exercises. The older age group is capable of working in an adult-like format. Therefore adults may also use these exercises for their own instruction or to help them recall forgotten vocal techniques.
7) The exercises intended for the older age category may provide a solid singing foundation for interested adults, such as parents.
8) Another advantage of this textbook is its sophistication and scope, through which it should answer most of the questions you may have about children's singing. You will find answers to questions about voice change and you will learn about the most frequent flaws, the range potential of a child's voice, about resolving voice register problems, working in children's choirs and many other topics.
9) Throughout the textbook you will find links to great child singers and examples of well-taught child soloists. They have been included to give you an opportunity to listen to the great potential of a child's voice and to give you an idea of how a well-trained child's voice should sound.
10) The final section of the textbook includes a series of voice exercises that can be used for group warm-up singing. This universal warm-up singing may be a good starting point and an inspiration for beginning choir masters and music education teachers.

Still, the best way to become convinced of this textbook's qualities is the opportunity to look at its contents and at several enclosed examples of different lessons. They may be found after the following brief article, which is dedicated to anyone who doubts the purpose of children's singing instruction or who may even consider it useless.

Why teach kids to sing?

Perhaps even you have heard someone saying that it is a waste of time to teach kids technical singing skills, as the achieved result cannot correspond to the expended effort. After all, children "are not capable of perceiving singing sensations and their small lungs cannot produce the necessary output". Let me assure you that this opinion is entirely wrong and I must sadly state that nowadays, children's abilities in singing are underestimated to a far greater degree than in any other field of music. Many records have been preserved of child "prodigies", who emerge at a very early age as excellent singers, often with ambitions to compose music. Today, however, more attention is paid to child instrumentalists.The fact that child singers used to achieve a great success in earlier times has been entirely forgotten. Mainly in sacred music, many boys sang in church choirs or as soloists. Records have been preserved proving that their singing instruction was both professional and systematic and that their vocal technique reached a high standard. Unfortunately, very few people are aware of this today. Although the phenomenon of child soloists is once again becoming "fashionable", there are disappointingly few truly high quality performances. Why is this so? Are fewer talented singers being born today than in earlier times? There are two reasons. The first is the lack of quality voice teachers. If teachers are unable to achieve the expected results in their instruction, the child student is identified as the cause of failure. Unfortunately, this scapegoating has reached such proportions today that great achievements in children's vocal instruction are no longer even expected. The second problem is that although a sufficient number of talented singers are being born, in many cases this talent is not developed in time; it stagnates and what is missed early on cannot be made up entirely later. If parents discover musical talent in their child, they typically select a musical instrument and completely ignore singing, the most natural form of musical expression for small children: Almost everyone has the inborn gift of singing. If children show at least some degree of musical talent for playing an instrument, there is no reason why they could not sing well, too. If their singing is out of tune, the cause is purely technical because they need sufficient time to learn how to coordinate the work of their singing apparatus so that the resultant tone matches their intended idea. Very often I hear things like: "Our child is good at playing piano (violin, flute, etc.) but s/he cannot sing because s/he does not have a nice voice." This, however, is a fundamental mistake. The quality of the voice can be improved, as can the purity of singing. This is true for both children and adults. I assure you that there is no such thing as an explicitly ugly or wrong voice. A voice can be ugly if it is handled incorrectly. If the natural vocal function is replaced by cramping or a wheezing impurity, then only a deformation of the true voice is heard.
Another reason that may deter many people from the vocal instruction of child soloists is a fear that the children will lose the childlike character of their voice. This fear is partially justified because this may actually happen when the instruction is misguided. I know nothing sadder than children who were taught in such a bad manner that as teenagers their voices have the timbre of an opera or operetta soubrette of an indistinguishable age or that of a coarse pop music singer.
If, however, you take the path of a natural voice formation, you should arrive at a vocal technique that is cultivated and supported by the diaphragm but still maintains its child-like timbre.

How should the voice of an instructed child singer sound?

It is very easy to discern a correctly trained child soloist.
The voice is vibrant, supported by the diaphragm, entirely controllable, with a great range, motion and dynamic potential while still maintaining its childlike character. The voice corresponds to the child's current age.This means that the voice is formed without any constraint but at the same time is unexpectedly vibrant because it resonates everywhere that it should.

It is unacceptable to demand that children sing in a larger or more adult voice than they momentarily have. It always comes at the cost of mistreating their vocal apparatus and their natural child-like character.

Children's singing abilities

Young children initially use their voices intuitively and are unaware of their shortcomings. They enjoy just singing on a whim, making various sounds when playing and experimenting with their voices. At the same time they use their voices spontaneously and if they are not interrupted they can sing entire "arias". These first signs of singing should be granted the same attention as the first attempts to speak. If, however, the children remain alone in their singing attempts and lack sufficient and good musical examples, their singing will not develop. This is unfortunately very common today. Nowadays, mothers do not sing to their children and the standard of group singing in nursery and elementary schools is questionable in most cases.
Almost every child has a natural urge to express him/herself through singing. If the suitable period for their vocal development is ignored or missed, or if it is crushed through unprofessional instruction, the child may never have the opportunity to recover it.
The importance of correct vocal instruction of children from the earliest age is greatly underestimated.
How often do we hear the phrase: "That's good enough for kids, they cannot discern quality singing from poor singing yet anyway." Once again. I must state that this is a great error.
On the contrary, it is precisely children who are able to make sensible judgements, which lead them to unerringly reveal any stiffness or artificiality in a bad singer. If they have the chance to listen to good role models, this ability is trained and intensifies. In the opposite case they lose this ability and - just like most adults with the same "handicap" - their opinions as listeners are later easily swayed by critics, reviews, advertising campaigns and the public media.
Another misguided opinion is that young children are incapable of properly learning anything about singing. My own experience is that one can systematically work with children using games starting at the age of three, when one must make sure that they do not adopt incorrect breathing and singing habits (of course it is good to sing to them, and gradually with them, from the very beginning). From about five years of age they can be gently taught basic vocal technique skills. Between the age of six and seven (depending on the child's mental and physical maturity), children are entirely capable of consciously perceiving and imitating singing sensations. In this period we may begin systematic instruction, which includes proper singing form and perceiving the sensory connection between the resonance form and the diaphragm.
This fact negates another myth: that children are not capable of singing supported by the diaphragm, or so called appoggio. Referring to my own experiences, I say without hesitation: children are capable of appoggio and there is no reason why they should not be. Only the silly underestimation of children's abilities by uninformed teachers can lead to such an false opinion. Listening to this excellent child soloist YT1 or two of my current child students YT2 YT3 should convince you of a child's ability to sing using appoggio.


Contents



Introduction free

The main reasons why most children experience difficulties with singing free

- Absence of active singing in families free

- The unnatural position of the speaking voice free

- Poor physical condition free

- Bad singing role models free

- Vocal training inedaquacy of kindergarten and elementary teachers free

- Unprofessional instruction of children in choirs and music schools free

“In praise of children’s singing abilities” free

The range of children’s voices free

The most common defects in children’s voices free

Voice change free

Children and vibrato free

Children and the microphone free

How to work with this textbook free

Table of Octaves free

Table of Vowels free

The list of tricks for better practicing free

The main principles for working with this textbook free

Packages of exercises free

The main principles of a successful training free

Working with individual age categories free

Lessons divided by age categories free

Lesson One: Body warm-up exercises

Body relaxation, activation and coordination exercises

Upright posture

- Correct head position

- Correct shoulder position

- Correct pelvic position

Singing posture

- Standing singing posture free

- Exercises to restore the proper muscle functions that are necessary for a correct singing posture free

- Sitting singing posture

Lesson Two: Breathing exercises

Theoretical part and terminology

- Active inhalation muscles

- Schema of working with the breath while singing

- Learning the correct way of breathing

- Types of breathing

- Stronger exhalation

Achieving natural breathing function

Maintaining the inhalation form

Strengthening the breathing muscles

Even exhalation

Lesson Three: Basic terminology for vocal exercises

Vocal cords

Vocal registers free

Mixed voice (voix mixte) free

Chest and head resonance

Head tone

Vocal Tract

The fundamental physiological difference between spoken and singing voice

Voice onset

Lesson Four: Preparatory voice exercises

Correct tone onset

- Resonance form

- Singing form

- Aspirated voice onset and sliding into the tone

Inducing head resonance free

- Humming free

Finding the right degree of jaw opening

Inducing head tone

- Soft tone onset

Singing form of the mouth - “ Relaxed carp”

Fixating the head resonance sensation

Lesson Five: Vowels and Resonance Form

Theoretical part and terminology

- Tables of Vowels

- Table of Vowels 1

- Table of Vowels 2

- Singing Articulation

- Classification of phonemes

- The formation of vowels

- Tongue position

- Larynx position

- The resonance position

- “The cupola sensation”

- Appoggio

- Enunciation of the tone “on the diaphragm”

Practicing vowels free

- The vowel ŌO free

- The long vowel ĒE

- The vowel ĀH

- The vowel ĒH

- The vowel ŌH

- The vowel ÖÖ

Balancing vowels

Lesson Six: Enunciating and holding vowels

Theoretical part

- Appoggio free

- “Enunciation of the vowel on the diaphragm”

- Enunciated voice onset

Instruction for the exercises

Practicing enunciated voice onset

Practicing the vowel ŌO

Practicing the vowel ĒE

Practicing the vowel ĀH free

Practicing the vowel ĒH

Practicing the vowel ŌH

Lesson Seven: Balancing registers

Troubles with balancing registers free

System of balancing registers

Lesson Eight: Articulation (with consonants)

Part A - How to work with consonants when singing (intended for both age categories)

- How to work with consonants when singing

- Singing articulation

- Relaxing the articulation organs (articulators)

- Relaxing and controlling the tongue free

- Flexible tension and control of the lips

- How to practice a song free

- Practice songs free

Part B - Practicing consonants (intended for the older age category)

- Theoretical part and terminology

- Nasal consonants (M - N - NG)

- Semivowels (L, J - as in YES)

- Fricative consonants (V, W, F, C, /tʃ/, S, /ʃ/, θ, ð, Z, /ʒ/, X, R)

- Occlusive consonants (P, B, T, D, /dʒ/, K, G)

- Laryngeal H sound

- Practicing consonants

- Nasals free

- Semivowels L and J

- Fricative consonants (V, W, F, C, /tʃ/, S, /ʃ/, /θ/, /ð/, Z, /ʒ/, X, R)

- The sound R

- Sibilants

- Occlusive consonants (P, B, T, D, K, G)

- Consonant H

- Initial consonant enunciation

- Practice songs for the older age children category

- Examples of pop-songs

Choir vocal warm-up exercises free