When considering taking music lessons, either for your child or yourself, there are many instruments to choose from. From piano, violin, guitar, flute…the list goes on! These are all fantastic instruments to learn, with unique challenges and nuances.
However, the human voice is one instrument that is completely set apart from the rest and offers specific benefits when trained properly. Distinguished from other musical instruments, the voice is the only instrument that you carry with you always as a part of your anatomy. While that is incredibly fun and exciting, it also makes singing well one of the most complex skills to possess! The next time you hear someone sing, imagine their vocal folds thickening then stretching with the rising pitch, their mouth and tongue position adapting to each word they sing, all the while coordinating each inhale with every phrase in the song. How exciting and complex!
With just that short paragraph, you probably have a greater appreciation for how unique and exciting the human voice is, but you still may be wondering — what are the benefits of taking voice lessons?
There are many answers to this, but here we’ll focus on just three: Healthy brain function and development, confidence, and emotional connection.
You may have heard that singing makes you happier – and that is completely correct! When a person sings, the brain releases endorphins which will calm the singer and boost their mood. In addition to this, taking voice lessons can improve a person’s overall intelligence by strengthening neural pathways that are used in other areas of learning (cx_0715health.html).
A group of 6-year-olds involved in a study conducted by E. Glenn Schellenberg of University of Toronto at Mississauga, Canada was
given voice and piano lessons for a set amount of time. At the end of the study, the kids who had begun taking voice lessons were found to have a higher IQ than those not involved in musical lessons. Schllenberg said that “understanding music, particularly learning to translate musical symbols into sound, might be transferring to other abilities, because they are sharing similar neuro pathways.” In addition to translating musical symbols into sound, a singer will be strengthening brain function by memorizing and communicating words in the songs that they are singing.
Not only can voice lessons improve brain function and boost the mood in you or your child, it can also help develop confidence. Singing a song in front of 1 or 100 people can be one of the most vulnerable and intimidating things to do! In voice lessons, a student will learn to develop proper posture and a confident poise that will benefit them on the stage, as well as in other areas of life. Posture is key when singing – for voice quality and for establishing a sense of confidence! The more that someone practices performing in front of others, the more a healthy confidence will begin to form in that person.
One of the most beautiful things about singing is developing a kind of connection with the music and with the audience. When learning a song in voice lessons, the student is also learning about understanding the piece of music so that they can convey the emotions accurately. Communicating emotions in an appropriate context is an invaluable skill to learn, and voice lessons can help with just that! Singing is unique in that it deals with actual words and expressions from the singer. Not only can singing be emotionally healthy for the student, but also for the audience listening as well. That is one reason why people attend recitals, concerts and musicals – to be touched by the music being performed!
Although there are many, many benefits to taking voice lessons, healthy brain function, confidence, and connection are three of the most important!
– Special thanks to our voice teacher, Mrs. Joy Sehested, for the insights and encouragement in this article!