Singing is a excellent way to begin music. We all come already equipped with our instrument!
Any time is a good time to begin some form of singing. Some babies “sing” before they talk. Toddlers and pre-schoolers learn language, rhythm, coordination and more through songs and games that include music and movement. Kids naturally pick up songs they hear at home, through media, at school and church. Schools, churches and community groups often provide opportunities for young singers to join choirs and singing groups. Some schools also offer group voice classes that cover basic vocal technique. All of these are good ways to start. Those who aspire to be solo singers or top level choral or ensemble singers will at some point want to pursue private voice lessons.
When should one start voice lessons? Most private voice teachers prefer the student wait until at least age 12-14, as the voice simply needs time to develop physically. Younger aspiring singers can develop foundational musical skills before then through good quality choral programs and by learning to play piano or another instrument.
Boys’ voices usually change gradually around age 12-13 as the larynx grows and vocal cords lengthen and thicken. As the voice gradually becomes lower and deeper, they may struggle a bit as they adjust to the new ranges.
Traditional voice teachers emphasize learning good vocal technique in order to prepare singers to be able to sing classical music. In addition to working on songs in English, they often work with students on classic pieces in Italian, and later, possibly also German or French. Even for students who don’t plan to sing opera or much other classical music, the technique learned with this type of teacher can be valuable.
Other teachers specialize in teaching “pop” or jazz techniques. The one caution is to be sure these techniques don’t injure the voice through strain or harsh vocal cord action.