A new study shows that parents’ and teachers’ expectations of how to teach a child’s singing are highly variable, with some parents reporting high expectations for their children and others having low expectations.
In the study, conducted by researchers at the University of Sydney, students were asked to sing the song at a music school, and were given a score on a scale of one to five on a 10-point scale.
The students who scored the highest, four out of five, were told that they had a “strong voice”, and were asked what the song was about.
“I can’t imagine what it is, but I can tell you it is about the hunter,” one parent was told.
“My son is so good at singing, but when we got to the end of the day, he was very quiet,” said another.
A third parent had a more neutral view.
“I have a really strong voice, and he is great,” she said.
“But sometimes he gets into a bit of a rut, he gets quiet and I can’t help but feel guilty when I hear him sing.”
But when students were given the same score, some parents were more critical.
“He’s so good in class, but his voice is terrible,” said one parent.
“His voice is awful, he’s so quiet,” added another.
The researchers, from the University’s Centre for Language Research, found that, on average, children’s expectations of the song are “very variable”, with parents in many cases expecting their children to perform their part and teachers in others expecting their child to be able to sing a certain number of notes.
The research suggests that parents and teachers may be making expectations for different types of singing, and it may be hard to predict what a child will sing based on how they are presented.
But the researchers also found that children who sang at a lower level had more positive expectations for themselves.
“Children who sang better in the classroom were also more likely to have positive expectations of themselves, their teacher, and their music teacher,” said lead researcher Susan M. Glynn.
“These findings indicate that, in the real world, teachers can use their skills and their knowledge to help children sing better.”