Every so often, I get asked, "What do you think of my child singing stuff like that little Jackie Evancho sings? Is that a possibility?"
The short answer: not in my studio. I don't condone creating miniature opera stars for various reasons: it's not healthy vocally or mentally to put a child under that sort of pressure. The majority of opera pieces are not age-appropriate for children, and I do not believe a child should be put in situations or sing pieces for which he or she is not ready. Not to mention, children don't learn music the same way that adults do. Here's an interesting blog which answers that question precisely as I would. I urge all interested young singers (and parents) to read it and thoroughly digest what this educator is sharing. About those child opera singers, here's the deal
I also get asked, "What can I do to make sure my voice is healthy?" My first answer: baby it. Give it plenty of water, plenty of rest, avoid things that are bad for it (like yelling or smoking). Singing is a physical activity, since the entire body is involved. So, as with any physical activity, make sure the voice is warmed up before putting it through rigorous rehearsals. I strongly suggest that all singers read this primer as a reminder of what the voice needs to stay healthy. Vocal Health Advice and Maintaining Vocal Health