Spring Recital season is upon us! My students have been hard at work for the past several weeks in preparation for our upcoming studio recital in June. Although it can be a challenge at times, I do love the process of putting together a recital program and helping my students select songs that are both a great fit for them, and exciting to perform!
I have 20 wonderful young singers who will showcase their talents and progress over the past year. A diverse mix of repertoire will be represented, from classical art song to contemporary pop. I thought this would be a great opportunity to share some of the songs that I feel are well suited to recital performance, and personal favorites of mine!
1. "Crossing a Bridge" - Anastasia (Ahrens/Flaherty)
Musical Theatre- Young/Teen Female
Vocal Range - G3-D
Many of my middle-school girls have fallen in love with the new "Anastasia" musical, which has several great songs for this age group ("Journey to the Past,""Once Upon A December," and "In My Dreams" have been other favorites!).
"Crossing a Bridge" is a short, lesser-known choice, just over two minutes long- which can be a great Recital-length piece for those who may be fairly new to performing. This song, like Anastasia's others, has an easily singable and pretty melody, but is not without some vocal challenges. I love the way this song builds in energy, and then returns to the reflective, mystical quality of the opening. The text provides lovely imagery; a great opportunity to invite their audience into this world with expressive consonants and engaging facial expressions!
2. "Into the Night" - Clara Edwards
Classical Art Song - Teen Female
High Key: G (Low Key: Eb)
Vocal Range: E4-D5 (optional G5)
I have found this piece to be a great introduction to Art Song for young Sopranos, especially for those who may be on the fence about trying something new! For my MT students, the more ambiguous nature of this beautiful poetry allows them to explore the idea of creating their own character/context. This piece serves as a great exercise in sustaining long, legato phrases.
3. "Middle of a Moment" - James and the Giant Peach (Pasek/Paul)
Musical Theatre- Young Male
Vocal Range - G3-Eb5
I was grateful to stumble across this great piece in searching for something for one of my sixth grade boys who is just beginning to undergo his voice change. The percussive, conversational nature of the verses allows us to work on incorporating speech tone in the lower register while the lyrical choruses provide great contrast with a higher tessitura that still sits comfortably for him vocally. It also demands strong character work out of context, which can be a great stretch beyond the usual comfort zone.
A really fun, active number that will be a standout!
4. "Home" - Wonderland (Wildhorn/Murphy)
Musical Theatre- Young Female
Vocal Range - A3-C5
This short but sweet piece has become one of my favorites for Recital first-timers (it falls really well in the category of other beginner pieces such as "The Girl I Mean To Be," or "Castle on a Cloud"). Just shy of two minutes in length, "Home" is a sweet and relatable song, unintimidating to learn and memorize.
5. "The Life I Never Led" - Sister Act (The Musical) (Menken/Slater)
Musical Theatre- Teen Female
Vocal Range - A3-D5
Speaking of standouts, I am a huge fan of this song and how powerful it can be in performance! I found it really helpful to first approach this text as a monologue, working on making distinctions between each line of the verses, and getting very specific so it doesn't turn into rattling off a checklist. While this piece was given to me around college-age, there is certainly lot that the High Schooler can relate to in here. It's all about stepping out of that comfort zone, letting go of fear, and deciding to embrace what lies ahead. It was a great journey, working on this piece with my student, as I knew this at first timid, soft-spoken character really resonated with her. To then see her grow into the song more and each week and come alive by the end was really special. No doubt an empowering and inspiring piece to end on!
Wishing all fellow teachers out there a happy and healthy end of the school year, and a restful Summer break!
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