(Why piano first?)
The simple musical skill of singing can open many opportunities for a young music student especially in chorus and musical theater. Almost all music students can learn to sing adequately for a large choral ensemble with minimal effort, but for solo work the student must study voice in order to develop important technique and diction skills. Voice lessons require as much practice and as many years of study as instrument lessons. (For an understanding of a student's pathways to other musical activities such as orchestra, band or choir, see ELEMENTARY DEVELOPMENT.)
CHOIR/CHORUS: Many musicians will participate in a chorus or choir at some point in life, even without any prior vocal instruction. The foundation provided by a good music education (5 or more years) is usually sufficient for a musician to participate in some church or community choir. All choirs will have auditions to screen out applicants who have difficulty carrying a tune, but usually voice quality is not considered except for solo singing because as part of the group individual voices will not stand out. Choirs with a higher reputation or which are professional will have much higher audition standards, and will usually require singers with vocal training, experience in choral singing and basic knowledge of foreign languages.
VOICE: Learning how to sing can be taught specifically or learned as part of music lessons on another instrument. Any music student can usually join a church choir, the shcool chorus or other community chorus, and through that ensemble develop basic singing skills. The actual study of voice as an instrument is far more involved as the student focuses on vocal sound production and issues of language and diction. All voice students must study piano as part of their musical training, because the piano is the backbone instrument for singing (we need it to get our pitches and it accompanies us in recitals). Acquiring the basic theoretical musical knowledge by study of the piano gives the singer the tools needed to sing. KMI does not accept any vocal students under age 7, and and students under 18 must study piano as well as voice until they have completed the Core Curriculum Piano requirement. Exceptions to this rule are made for students ages 12-18 who are currently studying another musical instrument. Owning a keyboard or piano is also required, and all voice students will develop proficiency in playing their melodies and chords at the keyboard. Voice students become prepared for solo roles in High School musicals, as well as solo and group singing in choruses.
(See Studying Voice, for more information.)