January 10, 2017 at 1:27 pm #533578
So I’m a choir director in a high school, and I’ve been tasked by the board with attracting in new male singers, who are very reluctant to try out singing. I’ve been told to try and start an a cappella group with them, probably two or possibly three part music, with vocal percussion, with a longer term goal of convincing them that singing can be fun and attracting them in to the main chamber choir. I’m more at home with Byrd, Tallis and Palestrina et al, and am entirely lost at sea when trying to pick repertoire that’s popular and accessible for the kids; the closest I’ve gotten is Don’t Worry Be Happy, that I’ll have to cobble together and arrange myself. I’ve got a week to do so before choir starts up again. Can you suggest songs that are super easy to arrange for male voices, or even better, arrangements, either amateur or professional ones available online, I’ll take whatever you can throw at me. They don’t need to be complicated arrangements, simpler would even be better I’d say, as the guys will be very raw and I want something that I can hook them with straight out of the gate, so to speak.
Or if you can suggest fun or funny music with piano, I’ll take that too, please and thanks muchly.
Any info you can provide would greatly help a desparate man!
JKJanuary 11, 2017 at 8:49 am #533618
Kelly Jeanne TruaxParticipant
Here are a few pieces that have worked wonderfully for my young guys:
– Come Go With Me – arr. Kirby Shaw
– In the Still of the Nite – arr. Lojeski
– Barbara Ann (Beach Boys) —
– Sherry (Frankie Valli song)
– Lion Sleeps Tonight
– Breakin’ Up is Hard to Do
Send me an email if you want specifics about pieces that work well with younger/reluctant/less experienced guys; I teach 7-8-9 men and am always on the lookout for pieces that work for them.
Bass Clef R&R for IowaJanuary 11, 2017 at 8:50 am #533622
Contact Wayne Grimmer or Don Rose at the Barbershop Harmony Society (800-876-SING) They are music educators who can help immensely. Wayne has written a curriculum for teaching a cappella music that can be very helpful. The Barbershop Harmony Society has a lot of resources available including quite a bit of contemporary music arrangements that are very accessible for your high school guys. They also have many resources available to help you in your teaching. A great resource!January 11, 2017 at 12:44 pm #533634
The Lion Sleeps Tonight is a great suggestion. There is also an arrangement of “Carry On, My Wayward Son” by the rock band, Kansas. Not a capella but well known by a lot of young people and fun to sing.
CraigJanuary 11, 2017 at 4:52 pm #533657
About Barbershop: 10-12 years ago, I heard that in some areas the Barbershoppers were offering to come into schools to present participatory singing workshops, but I can’t find any such information on their website now. Send in a specific question about this via their website.
Will your board give you more than verbal direction? Since they have made male singing a priority, and specifically suggested “a cappella”, ask the board to provide a bus and funding for a field trip to a Barbershop “Youth Harmony” event.–find one near you on the website.
“The Lion Sleeps”, “Sherry”, “Barbara Ann” and similar songs are excellent suggestions. All were either a cappella originally or are essentially a cappella with instruments added. As you know, you don’t have to start with a complete arrangement and work toward a final complete performance. Instead, find the hook–that section of the song that is the most interesting, most “catchy”. It might only be one measure. Get them singing or chanting that, then add one of the harmony parts, and/or another measure or two. Maybe you won’t get any farther, and that’s fine. Maybe another section or another song will work better. Your only goal here is to get accuracy of pitch and rhythm, and joy.
Another good song for this is “We Go Together” from “Grease”. Remember the central section? (“Rama lama lama…”) It’s all chanted, and much of the rest of the song alternates between a line of melody and a line of do-wop. Start anywhere; try different sections.
Lastly, forget part-singing (at least for now) and consider all the forgotten varieties of manly one-part “a cappella” singing: sea chanteys, cowboy songs, slave songs, work songs, blues, American Indian songs and chants, etc. Not commercial arrangements, just the old, original songs. Think of that big, beautiful, men’s unison sound that Mitch Miller often used in his “Sing Along” recordings from the 1960s.January 12, 2017 at 7:42 am #533675
Canasg Music can offer
* Ye mariners all http://www.canasg.com/zmarinersTB.shtml TB, 2 minutes
* Dle dle (Armenian patter song) http://www.canasg.com/zdledle.shtml TBarB, 2 minutes
* Pokarekare ana (Maori love song) http://www.canasg.com/zpokareTBB.shtml TBB, 2 minutes
* Three cowboy songs http://www.canasg.com/zcowboysongs.shtml TBarB+piano, 10 minutes
* Six sea shanties http://www.canasg.com/zshantysix.shtml TBB+piano, 15 minutes
* Bound for South Australia http://www.canasg.com/zbfsozTTBB.shtml TTBB, 2 min. 15s
and more, including music for changing voices – please explore our catalogue, listed by voicing at http://www.canasg.com/catvoices.shtml
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