This is a frequent question put to me as a voice teacher. My preferred age is 7. By this time, children are reading well and can begin to assimilate reading the words as well as the notes. This is still a difficult task and takes help and patience, but the student learns quickly. The rate of learning is up to the student depending on how often they can practice. I recommend 10 minutes a day, but I also emphasize that this is malleable and other obligations need to be considered. A regular practice time built into the day helps everyone remember and builds in routine. Setting goals and routines helps everyone achieve their best.
Another consideration is the vocal instrument itself. Age 7 is a good time to start because it can be properly trained with a careful curriculum and adjustments made for each student. Weekly lessons are needed to monitor progress and attend to any and all issues related to the study of music and the voice.
Age 7 is also a good time for beginning to understand the commitment and dedication needed to master a skill. The student needs to practice, understand that all sessions must begin with vocal exercises, and then they can get to their songs. The exercises train your instrument, your mind and eventually lead to artistry. You cannot do difficult or fancy techniques unless you understand how they are done and have the strength to do them. You learn to apply those techniques and skills to your songs in a gradual curriculum. Private lessons ensure that each student is guided on their own path of study.
Voices lessons are an important focus of study for all students. They help to strengthen the voice for speaking as well as singing, and provide study skills in an enjoyable way. Everyone can sing! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Some people take longer than others to master certain skills, but each person is different. Learning to sing builds confidence. Singing in regular recitals builds public presence and presentation skills.
I look forward to each of my students every week no matter how old. (Yes, I have adults too!) You don’t have to be a star (although I do have students singing opera in NYC and in college music programs all across the country) but just the desire to sing. So, take voice lessons for confidence building, teamwork, self-reliance, performance and enjoyment.
Cheryl Stafford, 2012