Kid Karaoke: A Fun Confidence Builder That Improves Reading Skills
Originally created as a Japanese pastime to encourage bar imbibing in the 1970s, karaoke is now widely-known as family entertainment at restaurants and birthday parties. Not only that, but it’s a great enrichment activity that helps children develop skills such as confidence.
Karaoke really hasbecome a family activity. Three well-known southern Mississippi DJs were asked their opinions about karaoke for families.
“I tend to find when I DJ a party with a mixed crowd, the children are more comfortable singing in front of each other,” said DJ Randy Blank. “The adults are stifled by worrying about making mistakes in front of their friends. Children tend to lose their inhibitions about standing before an audience.”
“My practice is to have each child announce the artist and song they will be singing over the mic. I feel this will help with public speaking in their futures,” Blank said.
“When I was a child, I was extremely shy,” explained Wanda von Buettner, of Wanda’s Karaoke and DJ Service. “My mom always sang with me and enrolled me in musical programs at church and in school. Music has given me a lot of self-confidence.”
She said she has seen music have a similar effect on other children.
“I have seen karaoke make the quietest child sing and move into a greater comfort zone,” she said. “Also, when they see a song they love to sing displayed on the monitor in words, I feel it helps children appreciate and develop their reading skills.”
“I think waiting their turns while I go through the list of singers teaches children patience and respect for others,” she said. To me, for kids and parents alike, it’s a win, win.”
“One thing I notice and like about the little kids and karaoke is the relationship that builds between the two generations,” said DJ Emile Kleinfeld. “Most of the young kids are familiar with the contemporary songs, but not all the correct words. The parents, on the other hand, don’t know the songs as well, but the parents can help them read the words and keep up with the music tempo. It makes for an even closer and more exciting relationship between child and parent.”
“I’ve seen many of the teens and preteens hone their natural vocal skills and stage presence into significantly talented levels to enter and win local competitions,” Kleinfeld said.
An accounting of the “when and why” of karaoke is on the internet at a blog called Living Language. There, it was explained that the first machines presented instrumental music in hotels and lounges to entertain customers while they waited to be served. Karaoke is a mix of two Japanesewords: “kara” means “empty” and “oke” means “orchestra.”
In the early 1980s the Karaoke Box was developed, which allowed small groups to convene in private rooms where they could order food and dessert from the establishment’s menu. Karaoke became a main attraction.
By the late 1980s the karaoke machine changed a lot. It went from being an enhanced cassette tape player to being a player using Laser Disc technology. The Laser Disc was basically a DVD that was the size of a 12-inch record, with less than half the memory of a modern DVD. It held video as well as audio recordings. The big innovation was that for the first time, a karaoke singer could view the lyrics on a monitor.
In the 1990s, “communication karaoke” was created. In this system, almost any song or video could be requested and played through the communication system between the machine and the commercial content provider.
Today, with the availability of the internet, karaoke singers can easily reach as far back as the boogie-woogie sounds of the forties right on up to the hip-hop sounds of today.
So, it seems while karaoke can be fun and entertaining for adults, it can also be enlightening and instructional for the young.
Though the three karaoke DJs that were interviewed for this article work in adult environments as well, they all confessed to getting the most fulfillment from children’s parties. ###
Lynne Adams Barze’ was born in the Faubourg Treme’ of New Orleans. She moved with her husband to Picayune in 1999 and loves the state of Mississippi. Barze’ has penned five novels, freelances for magazines, owns an antique mall, nd is “rod ct rent he’s member of GPAC and the Picayune Writers Group.