When a new parent approaches me and asks to sign his or her young child up for singing lessons, one of the first responses out of my mouth is: "I would be happy to have your child in my studio, but I teach a classical singing technique, I do not teach any pop." I firmly believe that in order for a young child to begin learning to sing, they must start with classical singing. Classical singing, if taught correctly, begins slowly and carefully, nurturing a young child’s voice for many years before getting to that age where one can rest easily, and go for it. I start off each lesson with the five basic vowel sounds, moving slowly and carefully up and down a three or five note scale. The music I choose will always be age appropriate, with songs ranging from simple children’s pieces, to Art Songs, Folk songs, Secular and Religious songs, appropriate Opera pieces for my advanced students and yes, Musical Theatre.

I always say to my students and parents: "I want you to be singing from now until ninety, not be burned out by thirty." These young instruments are delicate, and they do not have the physiology or the breath control, unless the years of training are put in. The larynx and vocal folds undergo dramatic changes starting with puberty and continuing through to the early twenties. I would say the female voice matures by mid twenties, and the male voice by late twenties. It is a responsibility I take seriously, but one I love.

Check out this great article: A music industry driven by live performances puts an increasing strain on singers' most valuable instrument.