The Nature of Children's Singing Voices: Characteristics and Assessment


  • Joanne Rutkowski Pennsylvania State University


Singing is often the window to the young child's musical life. Children sing during play, alone and with others, and group singing activities are encouraged in day care centers and preschool settings. However, some children seem to have difficulty using their singing voices and that musical window, unfortunately, becomes closed for them. Over the past 50 years, numerous studies have investigated topics related to the child singing voice and its development. Terminology used to describe the various stages of development of the child voice and/or the types of problem singers, however, have been inconsistent. Terms such as "inaccurate singers" (Anderson in Welch, 1979; Reuter; 1956a, 1956b), "backward singers" (Fieldhouse in Welch, 1979), and "non-singer" (McKenzie, 1948) have been utilized. Bentley (1968) disliked the term "monotone" since most of these children did produce more than one tone, but used the term stating that it was less derogatory than other labels presently in use.