Why should a child be condemned as ‘tone deaf’ before they’ve fully developed?
Children learn to walk, talk, add, read etc. at different stages. Why wouldn’t it be the same with their musical ear and pitching?
It’s true that some children have developed their musical ear from a very young age and are labelled as a ‘natural’. The others will get it, you just have to keep going. If you’re delayed in walking as a baby we don’t put you in a wheelchair and say you’ll never get it.
I have never turned any child away from my youth choirs. Children are still developing musically. I hear so many stories about children being turned away, thrown out or told to mime in their school choirs.
Children have joined my youth choir who would have been termed ‘tone deaf’. Within a year they can sing in tune. As long as they are in a nurturing environment they will grow in confidence and consequently sing more because they are enjoying it. There is often a specific area of their range where they can go off key and with support and training they can correct this. There comes a point where they can hear when they go off course. This is the key to singing in tune.
In our concerts, there will be children in the choir who still aren’t pitching the right notes all the time. It’s ongoing work and doesn’t happen over night. I still get them out there performing. An audience love to see children getting up there, singing with pride and really going for it. I’m less interested in vocal ‘excellence’ at this stage. It’s about building confidence and really having fun, even laughter through our songs.
Consequently, the children sing louder and perform in an unihibited way. They deliver a delightfully messy, free, thrilling, self expressed performance with a few cute bum notes! That’s the kind of excellence I’m talking about!
Natural Voices Choirs