Results from a developmental study on pitch matching ability (PMA) were used to draw conclusions on diagnostic and educational practice in music. Forty children from 3 age groups (4, 6, 8 years) participated in a cross‐sectional study with repeated measurements. The factor age was not important in the development of vocal PMA, whereas timbre of note presentation had strong effects on reproduction: Children in all age groups were more successful with vocal than with instrumental presentation. Remarkable were the large individual differences: There are 4‐year‐old children who hare higher ability than many 8‐year‐olds. Evidence is presented that actively produced music gives more valid insights into the individual's competence than the perceptually and verbally dominated traditional procedures for assessing PMA. Emphasis is thus placed on vocal activities because they are the earliest musical (and/or prosodic) expressions.