Nov 14, 2013

What's Too Young To Start Voice Lessons (Part 2)

We’re losing students to other instruments. I see so many students get to “appropriate voice lesson age” (as referenced in my last blog) and already have their instrument of choice. Many people start taking violin, piano, guitar, etc. at a younger age… I mean, just think of all the kids in Suzuki! Countless kids really want some kind of private music instruction and we are literally turning them away. 

At my school, kids have to make a choice in 6th grade… Band, Choir, Orchestra, or Gym? If the student has been taking private violin lessons for 3 years, of course he is more than likely going to choose Orchestra as his elective for that year. Occasionally, those students will come to me for 7th and 8th grade, when they have more options. They will know how to read music but will be lacking the vocal tone production training they would have received from me the previous year. 

I don’t know a single vocal music program out there that can afford musically talented boys and girls to opt out of choir simply because violin was offered to them first. Why can’t we own teaching young students as much as the rest of the music world? 

Of course, I am in no way arguing that any of the other options are bad. I actually got this idea from a friend who teaches orchestra. I just would love to see vocal music educators level the playing field. I’m joining the club.

Moving forward,
Emily Frizzell, a conductor and soprano, is Director of Choirs at White Station Middle School in Memphis, TN.  She earned the Master’s in Music Education and the bachelor’s degree in Music Education from The University of Southern Mississippi. Her responsibilities at White Station Middle school currently include teaching the 6th Grade Choir, Chorale, Young Men’s Choir, and Young Women’s Choirs, totaling nearly 250 students each day.  In addition, Mrs. Frizzell teaches private voice lessons. In her third and fourth years teaching, Mrs. Frizzell was awarded TEM 5 Professional Status in Memphis City Schools.  Her choirs have received only Superior Plus, Superior, and Excellent ratings at local and national festivals in each of her four years teaching.  She is currently serving as Junior High Choral Festival Co-Chair for the 2013-14 school year. She also served as a member of the Memphis City Schools Teacher Field Test Group and Development Team, which developed the pilot evaluation method for Tennessee music teachers. Currently, she is also serving as a Peer Evaluator of this new evaluation method. In 2013, she was awarded the Outstanding Young Music Educator award by the Tennessee Music Education Association.

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