Are Voice Lessons the Best Choice for Your Child to Learn How To Sing?

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“We would like our daughter to learn how to sing. Can you teach her?”

Sure I can, but should I? It depends. It depends on what is actually behind the inquiry. It depends on what has motivated the parent to do the research, to find a teacher, and to reach out. Is providing lessons for their daughter or son a generous action on the part of the parent or a selfish one? Who is more committed to the idea; the parent or the kid?

The parent feels he or she is coming from a place of generosity. Maybe the mother wants to invest in something for her daughter. Giving her daughter a chance to learn how to sing comes from her own regret of a lifetime spent without singing well. The mom hopes her daughter will have a better relationship with singing. Maybe in the heart of the father it comes from having no musical background. The dad wants his daughter to be able to unravel the mystery of music. Or it is possible that the parents simply want their daughter or son under the spotlight so the world can appreciate what they love so much about their offspring.

In my studio over the last twenty years I have heard many different reasons why parents are interested in paying hundreds of dollars for their children to learn how to sing, like:

  • So she becomes a confident public speaker
  • So he can sing with our church rock band
  • So she can get a good part in the school musical
  • Because his grandfather was an opera singer
  • Because she won’t stop singing around the house
  • Because he has anxiety and singing is the only thing that calms him down

Some of these are great reasons. Some of them are a little questionable. But my favorite reason – the one I can never resist for why a child should learn how to sing in voice lessons is:
Because she has been asking for lessons for years!

The key to learning how to sing is wanting to! No amount of required lessons and forced practice can make up for pure desire from the singer. No amount of drive on the parents’ part can make up for their child not having a passion for learning how to sing.

I love a quote from Six-Word Lessons for Exceptional Music Lessons by Sally Palmer.  What Sally says about piano lessons in her book also applies to voice:

During an interview with a young child, I speak directly to the child and see if I can gauge the level of desire and interest of the child (not the parent). If I can tell that a student isn’t really interested in the piano but seems to have an interest in music, I encourage the parent to look for musical opportunities other than piano lessons, and come back in a year.

But how do you know if your child is ready for lessons? How can you predict if she wants to learn how to sing so badly that she is willing to study, practice, and use the gift of lessons wisely? It might be as simple as asking your child some specific questions.

In The Teen Girl’s Singing Guide I help teen girls find clarity by having them look in their hearts to answer a series of questions. The questions are designed to guide them to a better understanding of how important singing is to them. Through this they decide if taking private one-on-one voice lessons is the best option. You can ask the same directed questions of your teen to help them sort out how ready he or she is for this big commitment.

  • Ask your child to close her eyes and look inside her heart. She should ask herself, “How important is singing to me?”
  • Ask her to write her answer down. It should be between 3 – 10 words; concise but not too limiting.
  • Next have a deep conversation with your child. Let your child lead. Help him or her define which of the following 5 different levels your child fits into. These categories help determine his or her love of singing and willingness to devote time and money to learn how to sing.

The 5 perspectives on Singing and Singing Lessons are:

  • Meh, not that big of a deal
  • One of many life skills I’d like to learn
  • Important to me, my family, and community
  • Really, really important to me – singing will be part of my whole life
  • Sing or Die!

Your child’s answer to these questions will help you know whether voice lessons would be a good investment now, something to consider in the future, or simply a waste of money. It could be that your child’s answer will be right in the middle; important to me, my family, and community. If that is the case, the next question would be, “Do we have time in our lives right now to add a weekly lesson, daily practice, quarterly recitals, and annual singing contests?” and “Do we have between $2000 – $5000 this year to budget for singing lessons as opposed to some other opportunity?” If you and your child’s answers to those questions are “Yes!” then absolutely! Start researching teachers and contacting them to see which would be the best fit for your family and expectations.

If you’d like to read more in-depth guidance about all of the singing options available to kids, you can read the first fifty pages of The Teen Girl’s Singing Guide for free! Visit to download it.

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Nancy Bos
Nancy Bos
Bos, a singer, voice actor, and voice teacher, has introduced the joy of singing to people all over the world with her lessons, books, and podcast. “It’s been an amazing journey, and so meaningful. I feel like voice teachers and voice actors are the luckiest people alive. We get to live our passion every day and experience the joy of transformation every minute we are working.” Bos has loved singing since she grew up in South Dakota and later in Iowa and New Mexico.

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