Kid Crooners: Singing Lessons for OKC Youth
Kyra Williford in Lyric Theatre's SPAMALOT
As your kids make selections for after-school activities, it’s important to note that the benefits of singing lessons for kids range from improved self-esteem and confidence levels to higher IQs and test scores.
Whether your child is the next Beyonce or not doesn’t really matter. There are vocal lessons available throughout the Oklahoma City metro area and enrolling can do wonders beyond just improving their chances of someday competing on “The Voice.”
Oklahoma City mom Tracy Williford has seen her 16-year-old daughter Kyra gain so much more than a beautiful voice from taking singing lessons.
“Kyra has learned to accept rejection with grace and success with humility,” Williford said of her daughter. “She's also made lifelong friendships with people who share her passion.”
Inspired to sing by watching “Hannah Montana,” Kyra has been taking vocal lessons since she was seven years old. She started out singing as a soloist with Oklahoma Kids, a performing arts non-profit, but Williford explained that after performing in her first school musical in fifth grade, Kyra wanted the full experience including dancing and acting lessons.
“Kyra always gets nervous before an audition or performance but she does it!” exclaimed Williford. “She’s solo sung the national anthem for hundreds of people without flinching. She is strong of character and fiercely independent without much concern for what others think of her.”
Kyra has taken vocal lessons at Lyric's Academy and private lessons from an independent teacher. She’s also taken private and group dance and studied production for seven years at the Academy.
“Beginners and hobby singers build confidence and proper technique habits to keep their voices strong and healthy for years to come,” explained Rozz Grigsby, director of Primary Education at Lyric Theatre's Thelma Gaylord Academy. “Private lessons help build personal responsibility in young singers as they rehearse independently between lessons. Whether or not students plan to pursue singing in their future, good posture and breathing techniques are beneficial for anyone standing to speak before a crowd, from the Parent Teacher Organization to the boardroom.”
Lyric’s Academy is just one of the many places in the metro area where your child can take singing lessons. Although most of the singing lesson providers in the metro differ in the types of services and styles they follow, they all agree singing lessons can be a tremendous confidence booster for kids.
“Once students can stand on a stage and sing in front of people, there is nothing they can’t do,” said JoBeth Moad, director of the Performing Arts Academy at Oklahoma City University. “It is a great confidence builder.”
Jennifer Baker, executive director of The Sooner Theatre and The Studio of The Sooner Theatre said, “We know that not every student that walks through our doors will end up on Broadway, but we can tell you that each of these students will build courage and confidence to ‘put themselves out there’ no matter what path they choose to take in life.”
Ted Kuschel, owner and general manager of School of Rock Edmond, agreed.
“We have seen student after student transform from shy and timid to confident and self-assured,” he said. “It takes guts to get on stage and sing in front of strangers and I think that confidence definitely carries over to other areas of their life.”
As for what age to start lessons, there is a wide range depending on maturity level and what type of instruction you’re pursuing. Lyric’s Academy has seen children as young as 3 come in for lessons.
Although Baker said she doesn’t encourage formal vocal training for young children, The Sooner Theatre offers an introduction to voice, exercises for proper breath control, rhythm exercises, music selection and audition prep for their youngest singing enthusiasts.
At School of Rock Edmond, teachers recommend waiting until children are about 7 to begin classes so they have the patience to sit through a 30-minute lesson.
Bethany Stage provides music classes for kids age 5 and under. Teachers at the organization believe helping young children embrace music early on gives them a valuable tool for relaxing, focusing, expressing themselves and communicating.
Whenever you decide to start, there are plenty of opportunities locally to help your budding vocalist hone their skills. Here are some details on Oklahoma City metro singing lessons. None of these activities require auditions.
- Lyric Theatre's Thelma Gaylord Academy has three voice studios in the Plaza Theatre and three rehearsal studios in the Production Center, both are located on N.W. 16th St. in the Plaza District in Oklahoma City. Private and group lessons are available for beginners or advanced singers at any age. For private instruction, each block is $120; a block is four 30-minute lessons. Group classes are generally $325 for the semester and qualify for scholarships. Scholarships disbursed year round.
- Performing Arts Academy at Oklahoma City University is located at 2501 N. Blackwelder. All lessons are private one-on-one and for all ages and levels. Lessons are $50 per hour, $37.50 for 45-minutes, $25 for 30-minutes.
- The Studio of The Sooner Theatre gives lessons in one of six studio rooms at 110 E. Main St. in downtown Norman in the Walker Arts District. Formal vocal training is offered for teens and adults. Lessons cost $100 per month for four 30-minute lessons.
- School of Rock Edmond offers private vocal lessons and is located at 100 N. Broadway Ste. 124 in downtown Edmond. The cost is $140 for four 30-minute lessons per month and the first lesson is free.
- Bethany Stage at 3930 N College Ave. in Bethany offers Sing with Me Music Class to allow young children to play in a musically rich environment supportive of learning and development. The class is offered for moms and their children birth to 5 years old for $40 per month.