Three years after Frozen opened in the cinemas little girls (heck older girls) are still singing Let It Go. I recently visited Disneyland Paris and there is still wonder and awe as Anna and Elsa join the magical parade.
In fact I heard Let It Go so many times and in several different languages it was hard to escape!
The idea of a princess with magical powers who is different from the traditional princess is one of Disney’s most attractive ideas. Look at Mulan and Pocohontas for example.
Frozen is a story of true love. Not love between boy and girl but a love of sisters, for family, which is stronger than anything else.
It’s a powerful song sung by a powerful lady, Idina Menzel – one of my favourite singers. It’s a song that empowers the female population reminding us that we shouldn’t hold back and to hell with everyone else. Just be who you are and accept it!
However, should little girls be singing Let it Go?
From a teaching point of view I would never give this to a young child to sing. The vocal range is far too big for a young child to be able to hit the high notes as well as the low ones. It could mean straining the larynx, forcing an unnatural sounding voice and causing damage.
There are plenty of great songs children can sing which have a smaller range suitable for them. E.g. Castle on a Cloud, Where is Love, Candle on the Water to name a few.
Very young children (3/4 yrs) have a small vocal range around D (above mid C) to A. As they get older this range expands as the physicality of their vocal chords develop. Spending a lot of time in nurseries and playgroups, I hear the songs chosen by nursery staff. Generally the songs are totally unsuitable due to the vocal range, complicated melodies and large steps between pitches. It is easier for children to sing descending pitches that are next to each other, take Hot Cross Buns for example. Some songs may not seem difficult for us adults to sing and for sure children will love to listen and respond to them. There are however better songs to teach to develop good singing and pitch skills.
At around 9 or 10 years vocal chords have grown and children may well be able to sing a G or A (below C) to high C or D. I get so annoyed when amateur groups give children adult songs to sing like, Over the Rainbow, in the same key (Ab) as Judy Garland sang it at age 17, and expect them to be able to sing it.
Changing the key of the song is really important and could easily be sung by a ten year old. They are most likely struggle getting to an Ab let alone the lowest note F (below middle C). In which case change the key to B or C. This range is most suitable and a child who has had lessons will be able to comfortably make the octave jump of “somewhere”.
Let it Go is an iconic song and I can see it being sung for many years to come. It is catchy, powerful and emotional – it definitely speaks to me as a female accepting who you are and not changing for anyone. I wouldn’t choose it for a child to sing as a performance song but I would not stop them from loving it and being inspired by it either.
So whilst technically it is a difficult song for a child to sing, should little girls sing Let It Go?
Encourage your child to sing properly and in a healthy way.