Choosing music for solo singers at the middle school level can be challenging. Students often have limited vocal range, difficulty with long phrases, or light voices that are easily overpowered by a thick piano accompaniment. Many appropriate selections for beginning soloists can be found in the following collections, great for solo and ensemble competitions, recitals or even church performance.
“Let Nature Sing” is the newest volume in a series for young singers from BriLee Music. It contains a wide variety of songs, from spirituals and folk songs to originally composed works, all by female composers. Selected with the treble voice in mind, songs with narrow ranges of six and seven notes progress to songs that expand the range as the voice develops. The nature of the selections is to challenge the voice, not to tax it, to develop its expressive capabilities, not to over-extend it.
The fourth in a series of solo song volumes for young singers, “Tales of Land and Sea” contains spirituals, folk songs and originally composed works by Mark Patterson. The selections are especially compiled, arranged, and composed for the male changing voice. Songs progress from the “just changing” voice, to selections for young tenors, and finally, to songs for the young baritone. The included CD contains both vocal demo and instrumental tracks for all 10 pieces in the book.
“15 Easy Folksong Arrangements” (available in both Low and High voice,) is designed for those students in the early stages of voice study. The ranges are modest, and songs have been chosen for both genders. The new arrangements are lovely, fresh and interesting, but keep the simple vocal line in the forefront. The piano accompaniments were deliberately designed for an intermediate level player. The CD is included as a learning tool, and a piano accompaniment track for practice. Also available in this series are “15 Easy Spiritual Arrangements” (Low and High) and “15 Easy Christmas Carol Arrangements” (Low and High.)
For more advanced singers in this age group, consider “Daffodils, Violets and Snowflakes” (available in Low and High voice.) Joan Frey Boytim has compiled this collection especially for young women singers. The 24 songs – excellent literature for the young classical singer – have been chosen not only for the vocal ability of pre-teens and young teens, but also for the tastes and sensibilities of this age group.