Middle School Muddle

Chorus in the middle school years? Changing voices, interaction between boys and girls, adolescent development, suitable repertoire — the challenges can seem endless.

Here’s a quick look at some of the more frequently discussed middle school choral issues shared on the MENC online forums. In coming weeks, we’ll elaborate on some of these topics. 


“Boys sing. Boys sing beautifully. Leave the 2 and 3 part – just make sure the music is appropriate. And thank your lucky stars that boys are interested still – don’t lose them.”

“I would encourage you to talk about the voice change a lot. I found in my middle school, the only time students had heard about the changing voice in school was during sex education. Therefore, they assumed the changing voice should make them feel uncomfortable or embarrassed. My first year, the boys would totally disappear off the radar after their voices started to change, even if they were enthusiastic before the voice change. They were ashamed, and I think it’s because they thought of the voice change and they thought of sex ed.”

“I periodically do a range test with my MS kids. Who sings highest and lowest and how their voices are changing over the year are really interesting to them.

-Sue Rarus, August 19, 2009, © National Association for Music Education