Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Music on My Mind

Music and singing have been occupying a lot of mental space in my head lately. Maybe more space than is necessary, I don't know. I would be very interested in hearing your experiences with this.

My six- and four-year-old boys do not sing on key. Up till now, I have been hoping that singing will still come naturally at some point. Neither of them are tone-deaf. By this I mean that I know they can hear the difference between notes, and I assume that the problem is that they cannot produce what they hear. Thankfully neither of them are self-conscious about their singing yet. My six-year-old has begun playing the piano, and is doing very well with it.

How can I tell they're not tone-deaf? With JJ(4), it's still just a feeling on my part. But I gave SA(6) a little test to make sure. I played a note on the piano, and then a second note. I asked him to tell me if the second note was higher or lower than the first. I did this several times with notes closer and farther apart, high and low. Then I did the same thing with my voice. He got it right almost every time. Then I asked him to sing and hold a note, and I sang several notes around his note until I finally settled on his note. I asked him to wave when I got to his note (which happened to be a perfect middle C, by the way). He did just fine, though I could tell he felt self-conscious about holding the note so long.

In researching on-line, I discovered that children who are not tone-deaf but can't sing on key are often the result of a lack of early musical exposure. This is not the case with my boys. We have always listened to music in our home, and we also have always sung together daily as a family. They gladly choose and sing their favourite hymns after our meals, and they enjoy putting their favourite CD's into the CD player to listen to on their own.

My question now is: Is this just a matter of children developing at their own speed? Will singing still come naturally at some point? Six seems old to me to still not be singing on key, but my experience is limited. Or is there something I should be doing with these boys to help them a little?

I am concerned that doing something about this will make them self-conscious about their singing. I am happy that they willingly sing along anytime we sing, and I don't want that to change.

I would love to hear from you in the comments if you have any experience that I could learn from!