Choosing Repertoire by Daniel K. Robinson

Choosing Repertoire can be a challenge. As a teacher of voice I find that the choice of songs for students can be one of my more difficult tasks. It's easy to have a bank of songs to choose from when you first start teaching a student, but what happens when it comes to choosing a song for a Music Theatre audition or Karaoke competition. The choice of song can mean the difference between landing the role and 'not' landing the role. So how do you choose the right song? A few quick tips...
  • Choose a song that you can sing. Seems straight forward, but allot of singers choose difficult songs thinking that the difficulty level will will if you can sing it - but if you fall flat on your face, it won't be very impressive at all. Of course within the lesson context, developing skill is enhanced by singing material that challenges your current level of development.
  • Choose a song that you connect with. Many of my students have heard me say (like a broken record), "Singing is not about perfect notes, it's about communication". The times I have been impacted by a song have been when the singer delivered the message of the piece with authenticity and passion...not necessarily with perfection.
  • Choose songs that are age appropriate. Listening to an 11yr old sing "You can ring my bell" is, in my books, inappropriate. As is asking a 57yr old to sing Kylie Minogues' "I can't get you out of my Head" (a mistake I have been known to make ). Being age appropriate can be difficult, especially when most contemporary pop is sung by your non-descript 20yr old. Search for material that you can sing with integrity. This will be different for everyone, but it is an important point.
  • Write and sing your own songs. If you are able, write material out of your own experience. When you do this will probably be able to cover each of the previous points.

Many times the choosing of repertoire is trial and error. Not every song you line up to sing will be perfect for you or your voice. Ultimately we are all looking for a bank of songs (rep list) that we know we can sing confidently. Singing is about listening. Start listening to as much material in a wide variety of genres and experiment...the right songs are out there (say the previous statement with the X-Files theme playing in your head)!

A link to the original article (and many more that delve deeper into the world of vocal care) can be found here, courtesy of Dr.Dan:

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