“Everyone” knows that young children pick up new languages more easily, right?
Well, another language children learn inherently is music, and we adults have much to learn from how children exist musically, and how their still-developing bodies produce beautiful and pure sounds.
Waldorf Academy, a private preschool in midtown Toronto, is well-known for its unique music program, because we teach our young students in ways many other schools don’t.
But why is singing so important for young children? Are there specific types of music they should sing over others? And how does Waldorf Academy incorporate singing into
Why Is Singing Important?
Singing helps children hear.
Although that sounds unlikely, the connection of the muscles surrounding the ear with those of the larynx is called the “Eustachian tubes,” and it’s more attuned in young children to higher frequencies and pitches.
When a child hears a word, inwardly their ethereal body speaks the same; it is important then that the word is spoken or sung with integrity, in order for the resonance to be heard authentically.
By learning to sing using Waldorf Academy’s methods, children speak with their true voices, and when that is accompanied sympathetically by the larynx of the listener, then they take responsibility for the great duty of care imparted by the singer’s sharing.
The Fifth Interval
Most people are aware of the two primary moods of music: major and minor keys.
There is another, however, that captures the airy openness of a child’s voice, and that’s the pentatonic mood.
The pentatonic scale is represented by the black keys on a piano, and when this “mood of the fifth” is harnessed, it not only helps develop a child’s voice, but their listening.
Wonder And Awe
If you’ve ever had the opportunity to overhear a child singing when they think no one is listening, you’ll probably guess what’s coming.
There’s a purity to the timber, a high, clear resonance; they often sing lightly of the things they are perceiving or doing, and these charmingly naïve lyrics add to that sense of wonder and awe that you hear.
Children can be uncanny at picking up on the beauty of the world around them, and how that inspires their young voices is something adults and modern music are often lacking.
Not only does this expressiveness allow them to preserve this spiritual connection with the universe, it also inspires them to continue exploring the world. When children feel like the learning process helps channel their creativity as well, wonderful things can happen.
The Teacher’s Voice
One of the key things that will undo a child’s natural singing brilliance is that they try to imitate adult voices, and especially those of their teachers – a teacher must therefore be on guard against transferring their own poor speaking and singing habits onto their students; this requires training.
In order to properly teach their students, it behooves a teacher to see to voice instruction for themselves – as well as teaching them to have a more powerful voice for capturing children’s attention, it allows them to better hear the pitch of their student’s voices.
There have been books written on this subject, but the faculty of most schools do not have the time (even if they have the inclination) to research voice control, vocal development, and the implications.
However, if you were to read up on it (for instance, Graham Welch, Leon Thurman and Carol Klitzke), then you would understand what a wealth of information there is on how to best teach singing through the stages of childhood development.
Waldorf has absorbed these teachings in order to deliver the very best vocal instruction to our students, and we ask the same of our teachers.
Contact Waldorf Academy
If this understanding and teaching of music resonates with your own experience or philosophy, then we encourage you to call us to meet and have your questions answered.
Children’s voices are precious. Call Waldorf Academy Toronto now to introduce us to your young musician, and we will ensure their voice is heard clearly and poignantly with our instruction.