Well, I’m sure not everyone is going to agree with me on this one. Let’s start by defining what I mean by “great.” By great, I mean “perfect.” I mean close to perfection, as in singing “properly.”
In my humble opinion, a pretty voice is sometimes boring.
A pretty voice sometimes lacks the surprise and edge that comes with doing to our vocal cords, what we are not suppose to do! Does that make sense?
I love it when I hear a great singer bend the rules and stretch the boundaries. But here is the trick. A great singer knows when he/she is going beyond “perfect”. In fact, they are risking their voice for that very reason…..to be interesting. A great singer who is interesting………..now there’s the ticket.
Being a great singer comes first.
Being a great singer who is interesting will outshine everyone.
This is such an important topic….. the head voice.
I have two singing students currently age 9 and 10 who have great pitch and love to sing. The problem is they came to me not ever having used their head voice. They’ve never mimicked or experienced their head voice. They’ve avoided the entire range about their first bridge. Needlesstosay, the only songs they want to sing are from artists who sing below their first bridge such as Taylor Swift. This can be severely limiting and unfortunate to a young singer.
Children need to be taught to experience their light, babyish, high voice at an early age. This can be done by mimicking the sound of a bird or a train whistle. Children with a high speaking voice have an easier time because they are already close to their head voice. However, girls and boys who have a deeper speaking voice, usually because they have slightly shorter and thicker vocal cords, may have a more difficult time. It’s usually this type of singer that gets “stuck” in their chest voice.
Another thing to watch out for is the child who frequently has a hoarse or raspy voice. It’s highly likely their vocal cords are damaged from either poor speech habits, frequent loud talking or yelling such as at a hockey game, or possibly from swelling in the larynx due to health reasons. These children usually have trouble finding their head voice as well.
It is amazing to me how many children and adults have poor speech quality in their voice. The singing voice starts at speech level, so if a voice is muddy and unclear when talking, then it’s going to be muddy and unclear when singing.
Hopefully this article has raised some awareness for parents. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know.