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Author Topic: Carrying a tune - born with it or learned?  (Read 5129 times)
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« on: September 16, 2012, 03:21:25 AM »

Just curious if anyone knows if the ability to "carry a tune" (match pitch) is more genetic or learned?  My daughter (4) loves singing.  I've sang to/with her a lot since birth.  We eagerly awaited Little Musician.  We tried it out and she had fun with it so we're budgeting to buy it.  In general I have noticed my daughter seems to lose track of pitch.  She gets the up/down but not quite the pitch in relation to where she started out.  I've got the musical ear but daddy has a harder time matching pitch (especially when I sing next to him!).  So when we try to sing all together, it's a challenge.  I usually let my daughter start singing then I try to match her and then daddy is on his own  smile    Anyways, I haven't looked more into it yet online.  I just thought I'd see if anyone out there knows.  My son is just learning to talk so I'll be eager to hear him sing and see where he'll fit in to our family "choir".


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« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2012, 04:14:02 AM »

It's definately a learnable skill smile the more music you teach them the better they can sing in tune. I actually remember the moment when my middle child came to me and said " oh mum don't sing that one, sing this one instead, you sound a better match for it"  LOL  so obviously with a bit of training they can hear when others are wrong too!
If it wasn't a learnable skill, no one would be able to take singing lessons. They would be pointless. But I have seen in my own children as their piano playing improves so does there ability to carry a tune. Little Musician would be a great benefit to you. Please do realize that in your family choir, everyone else in it but you thinks they sound beautiful...because they can't hear the difference yet.  big grin


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« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2012, 04:57:50 AM »

Oh, yeah, definitely possible to learn!
My hubby is awesome. Really. He is a chemist, a rock climber, an artist, definitely one of those people that are seemingly awesome at everything they try LOL

But oh, the horror, the horror! big grin When he started doing Soft Mozart with her it wasn't so much of a problem...he LOVES music, listens constantly, etc...
The FIRST time he did Little Musician with us my toddler actually covered her ears and told daddy in no uncertain terms that he was not allowed to sing!!! (I definitely had to agree!)

Regardless, I never realized that not everyone could listen to music and tell what notes were being played, and have perfect pitch. It just never occurred to me??

I am thrilled to tell you that even hubby has improved IMMENSELY, and my toddler (who seemed somewhere in the middle) seems to have perfect pitch!
It definitely is possible and Little Musician is an awesome and incredibly straight-forward way to start.

One hint I learnt the hard way! If someone is TRULY awful in the beginning, and you are teaching a toddler? Demonstrate on an instrument or tuning fork rather than 'singing!' LOL


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« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2012, 01:24:14 PM »

Kerileanne, I can definately relate to your experience with your husband.  When I was first married, I was talking to my cousin about how wonderful my husband is, and then my uncle asked me if he could sing.  I said, "Well, let's just say I didn't marry him for his voice".  My husband walked in just in time to hear that comment!  He was forgiving because he knew it was true.  When we were first married, he couldn't carry a tune in a bucket.  There are a lot of things I can't do, but singing isn't one of them- that's the only area I might be called gifted in.  My husband has really made an effort to learn, and in the 6 years we have been married, he has improved tremendously.  He still has a hard time matching pitch, but he sings in-tune with himself now, which is really great.

Remembering the recent thread about whether kids are born gifted, I offer this insight.  I think that giftedness (including individual gifts like being able to carry a tune) = opportunity + interest + hard work.

I internshiped with the local children's choir, and we did have kids that couldn't carry a tune.  At all.  We had many singing games that were designed to help them hear and match pitch.  By the end of the year, those kids were singing in tune.  It CAN be taught.

However, it certainly comes easier to some children than others.  Despite everything I've done to teach my kids music, my 5-year-old has not been interested, and he has a hard time singing sometimes.  The primary teachers love his singing because he learns the words easily because he can read, and when he is with other kids singing there is a certain level of peer pressure that helps.  He is now enrolled in that same children's choir, and I'm really hoping that the interaction with his peers will help.  I'm optimistic that it will, especially with LMS at home.  You may have seen his enthusiasm on the video review posted on BrillKids.  He showed extra enthusiasm because he was on camera, but he mostly could take it or leave it.  However, he really loves watching the solfege nursery songs, with the 3 songs he isn't familiar with (The Kid Who likes to Sing, Solfege Song, and Little Waltz).  He will watch those over and over if the younger kids aren't around.  Every little bit helps!  I really wish I could have had LMS with him when he was younger.  I'm excited to see where he'll be at in a year from now, and I'm feeling very optimistic about his music.

My 3 and 2 year old on the other hand have always been good at matching pitch and singing in tune.  DD3 has really taken off with LMS and our other home activities.  She is going to be a very proficient musician, I think.  Some would say that she was born with it, or that she gets it from me.  I say that she is interested in music and has had the opportunity to learn.

Back to my husband, one of the things that he says has been hard for him when learning to match pitch is that it is in the wrong octave for him.  He mostly hears my singing or kids music, or choral music with women.  He's not trying to match an exact pitch that is in his range.  Our game plan to help him learn is to install LMS in his computer (you get to install it in two computers in your immediate household).  I'm going to change the master settings on his LMS so that the pitches he hears will be in his range and he is going to work with it.

« Last Edit: September 16, 2012, 01:28:06 PM by Tamsyn » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2012, 05:48:49 PM »

Thanks for all the feedback!    I didn't know the LMS could be adjusted for octave.  That's good to know!  Once we do get LMS, I'll have to install it on our second computer as well and see if daddy would like to try it out  smile    He can mostly match pitch with certain singers/songs that he knows well when it's in his range and he gets the up/down gist.  My daughter can recognize a tune and she can sometimes keep the pitch within the song.  She really loves music/singing so it's my hope that doing the LMS with her will only help her develop that ear.   And little brother will get to pick it up along with her.  He loves music too and though he doesn't talk too much yet, he signs "more" even before we're done singing one song just to let us know he wants the singing to continue.   


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« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2012, 08:49:28 PM »

I have seen a real improvement in my 3.5 year olds ability to sing notes in tune from using little musician. I think much of this is a listening skill - being able to hear the note you are producing and adjust accordingly. He singing has as improved alongside her ability to differentiate some of the chords and notes played in LMs.  I was also amazed at how my 14 month son has learned too.  Do was literally one of his first words - it took me a little while to realise this is also sung in the correct pitch!

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