Did I grab your attention? Well, I’m not sure how to write this post without offending anyone. So, I guess I will just run that risk. My other post about how to pick great repertoire is a good place to start. But, sometimes it’s easier to learn by looking at a list of “what not to do.” And, I’ve got to tell you: choral readings don’t usually help you find good music. Most of those free pieces of music I get from those readings go in the recycle bin. So, here goes.

Steer clear of:

  • Songs that have the students singing below middle C. Students are singing in their chest voices this low. See this post.
  • Songs with cheesy lyrics. Penguins are Lousy Bowlers to the tune of a Mozart aria. Really? Maybe for a Kindergarten general music lesson, but, please, not for a choral concert!
  • A Swahili song written by Bob and Jane Smith. How about a real Swahili song from Africa? Here’s a bad example I just found online: Con la Música by a very white guy (I’ve met him). There’s so much great Spanish folk music. Why do the unauthentic?
  • The Medley of Justin Bieber hits
  • I even consider the Hip Hop Reindeer to be a poor substitute for a rousing rendition of We Need a Little Christmas or Mister Santa.
  • The Nutcracker in Three Minutes – We all know the Nutcracker is meant to be a ballet, not a three-minute choral piece. I shudder to think what those lyrics look like.
  • We Believe in Music – Instead of this contemporary title with trite lyrics and simplistic piano accompaniment, how about something that has stood the test of time? Like To Music, a 16th century German chorale arranged by Betty Bertaux, or Music Alone Shall Live, a German folk song.

OK, I’ll end my diatribe. Please, do your part to save the next generation from poor-quality music!

See also