Reply To: Contemporary music in the chorus classroom
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I don’t think there is anything wrong with teaching some popular music with your choir. It is a very good way to build your program and give the students something they recognize. The question I always look for when doing popular music is “what are the teachable moments in this piece?” Is it written in such a way that sight reading/solfege skills could be improved? Is the choral arrangement well written, giving you the opportunity to discuss word painting, phrasing, etc? When I taught high school I programmed Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” They were very excited to be singing it and it was a true challenge in terms of tight harmonies and range.
I would not suggest programming a piece simply because it’s popular and the students know it. There are a lot of bad arrangements out there and, in my experience, the students become bored with them quite easily.