Music Repertoire Project-Music 4822
Melissa Tchaikovsky

Pieces for Performing

1. "Prayer" from Hansel and Gretel, music by E. Humperdinck, published by Alfred

This piece has beautiful 2-part harmony. It's also part of a story that could be told prior to teaching in order for the students to visualize this moment. It would not be a real challenge to learn, but the challenge would be in how it is performed. It could be used for a girl's choir or an SATB choir.

2. "Neighbors' Chorus" from the comic opera La jolie Parfumeuse music by Jacques Offenbach, published by Broude Brothers, NY.

I chose this piece because of tempo, dynamics, rhythm, and pure fun (Once it is learned). This is also a very animated piece. It's very wordy and articulation is important. Sometimes opera is not well accepted in junior highs or even high schools. This is a fun song to introduce and expose opera to students.

3. "Little Brown Jug" music by R.. A. Eastburn, published by Shawnee Press

This is a Rhythm-Antic in 18th century style. It is written in 4-parts, but could easily be adapted to 2-part. This piece has texture where one part will be singing the melody and another part will be singing short or long rhythms. By the end of the number, all parts are finally singing together and the song continues to get faster and faster. You could incorporate woodblocks, triangles, and other percussion instruments with this selection.

4. "The Water is Wide," collected by Cynthia Gooding, adapted by Luigi Zannelli, published by Shawnee Press

This is an American Folk song that has stood the test of time. It is known and loved throughout the world. I like this song because of the expression that must be used. It starts with just women on the first verse, then men on the second verse. then on the third verse there is somewhat a call and response. This allows the students to hear an echo of what was just sung. The accompaniment is arpeggio's throughout which gives it a very flowing sound.

5. "A Cohan Salute!" Music by George M. Cohan, arranged by Don Besig, published by Shawnee Press

This is a simple, but energetic medley of Cohan favoirites. It uses part of "Give My Regards to Broadway," "Mary's a Grand Old Name," "Harrigan," "The Yankee Doodle Boy," and "Your'e a Grand Old Flag." These songs are "all America." I like this medley because it exposes students to an American composer, performer, and master showman. It also gives them music from Broadway to the patriotic styles. Most of the medley is written in 2-parts, but a small combo could be added for additional energy and texture. This would be a fun number for the audience as well as the students.

6. "When Allen-A-Dale Went A-Hunting" by Robert L. de Pearsall, published by Theodore Presser.

This is an A cappella Madrigal piece for mixed voices. Written in the late 1700s, it provides an opportunity for the students to learn a little about the time period. It is written in a fugal style. Each part sings the entire song at a different time. This would increase the student's ability to listen not only to their individual part, but also if they are fitting into the piece as a whole. It is written in A B A form. It's difficulty only comes when students are not listening.

7. "Seasons of Love" by Jonathan Larson, published by Hal Leonard

This Contemporary Broadway piece gives the students an opportunity to perform something new. It's available in 2 or 4 part which makes it adaptble to almost any junior high school group. It is in the style of a rock ballad where other instruments could be added to make the number seem even more like the original performance.

8. "Aint' Got Time to Die" by Hall Johnson, published by G. Schirmer

This piece is in the style of a spiritual. You could teach an entire lesson about early African-American culture with this number. It is to be sung A cappelaa with a tenor solo. The solo could be split up between several students. The dialect is written to reflect that of the slaves of the south. It is a part of our American culture that young people need to understand and beware of.

9. "Rhythm of Life" by Cy Coleman, published by Shawnee press

I chose this number because I sang it when I was in Junior High and I liked it. It has a good message in that music and rhythm are all around us. It has key changes that the students must listen for as well as a great texture. The smallest duratin in this number is a sixteenth note and the song moves very quickly. the students could learn great annunciation as well as flexibly moving between pitches. At the end of the song a musical pattern is made---first by the basses, then adding the tenors, then altos, and finally sopranos. It is sung three times with differing dynamics. By the very end of the song, all are singing in full choir parts. This pice I would consider contemporary choral.

10. "Over the Rainbow" by Harold Arlen, published by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.

This arrangement of a wonderful contemporary classic should be sung a cappella using a slightly breathy, non-vibrato tone throughout. This piece would teach the students how to "feel" a song because it should be done very freely, taking time to listen and change each chord. There is a lot of stylizing with this piece; vocal smears, how to approach certain notes, contemporary harmonies, and gliding smoothly from note to note. It is fairly difficult arrangement and may take students some time to learn, but where it offers so much, it is worth the time to learn.

Pieces for Listening

1. "Scherzo" from Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Op. 99 by Dmitri Shostakovich, The Perlman Edition, 6:33

I like this piece because it starts out with just the violin, then adds more instruments. This is the second movement in this concerto and it offers an array of things that can be taught to students. It's a mid-20th century piece. This piece was not performed until after Stalin's death.

2. "Impromptu in G-flat Major, Op. 90, music by Franz Schubert, Vladmir Horowitz- A Reminiscence, 5:44

I think it is important that everyone hear Schubert. This is a late 18th century piano piece that shows the style of Schubert, as well as the time period.

3. "ABC" by Freddie Perren, Alphonso Mizell, Berry Gordy, Deke Richards, Jackson 5-The Ultimate Collection, 2:58

The Jackson 5 were brilliant during their time. This piece shows a part of American Pop Culture. Known today as the "King of Pop," it shows who Michael Jackson used to be.

4. "Quando Me'n Vo" from La Boheme, by Puccini, La Boheme on Broadway, 4:43

I think this is one of Puccini's most beautiful opera arias. It has great melodic styling and introduces opera to students that may not otherwise have the opportunity to experience it. This work is about 100 years old, sung in Italian, but set in Paris. It would be interesting to explore this historical period.

5. "Chiquita Banana Original Jingle," Radio/TV Jingle, 0:49

Is this not a fun song to share with junior high school students? I have several old jingles---everything from the 1940 Pepsi jingle to the 1950s Texaco Star jingle. This is a fun way to introduce the music and culture of the 1940s and how important it was to the country to have "radio."

6. "Unchained Melody" by Alex North and H. Zaret, George Benson, Livin' Inside Your Love, 6:32

This is my favorite recording of this song. Most people know the Righteous Brothers' version, but this offers a completely different style even though both are classics. Also, this song was one of the most commercially recorded songs in history. I have several versions of the selection and could share them with students to compare. This one is performed in a jazz style while I have others that are in pop, country, and even "classical."

7. "Amazing Grace," traditional, religious folk, Charlotte Church---Voice of an Angel, 2:47

I've always loved this folk hymn. It is sung thoughout the world. I wanted to share this particular version because of the age of the singer at the time of the recording. I also like the choir part that backs up the soloist.

8. Brandenburgisches Konsert by J.S. Bach, Classic Highlights---J.S. Bach, 7:08

It is important that students are exposed to great composers. This selection is an excellent demonstration of the end of the Baroque era.

9. "Galileo" by Emily Saliers, Indigo Girls---Rites of Passage, 4:14

I love the vocal harmonies in this song. I would ask students what style of music this is. American pop music has such a wide range these days---it would be interesting to see what the students think about this song. It has great rhythm with bongo's guitar and other instruments. There's a lot that goes on in this piece. The words are also thought provoking. Great character lessons could be taught through this song.

10. "Carrying the Banner," by Alan Menken, The Musical NEWSIES, 6:13

Even though this song is from a movie musical, it definitely shows what modern-day musical have become. I also thought it would be good to include this piece because of the composer. Alan Menken has written so many musicals. The students could listen and see if they knew any other musical music by this composer. They might know "The Little Mermaid," "Lion King," "Beauty and the Beast," and many others. Could they listen to see if he has a certain style?


It was very difficult to limit my repertoire to 20 selections. As I sat and listened and looked at music, I was glad that when I teach I won't have to limit myself to the few I have here. I looked carefully at the words and difficulty. The performance songs offer a wide variety of style, genre, and difficulty. Where my focus is on choral music, I looked primarily at choir ensemble pieces. As far as listening selection are concerned, I felt it was important to include music without lyrics. Vocalists need to hear how entire orchestra's come together for a common purpose, as well as seeing how instruments express music. Understanding the range, timbre, and texture of an instrument should be just as important to a vocalist as it is to an instrumentalist. the composer/genres that I chose also have a wide range in time period and style. I hoped to pull in some that were well known as well as some that were less known. I feel my repertoire list has value in the sense of interest, variety, difficulty, as well as beautiful.

*Just a note: Some others I wanted to add to this list: The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Mr. Mister, The russ Freeman Project, Ella Fitzgerald, Glenn Miller, Traditional American Musicals, Beethoven, Handel, Marching Band pieces, and more.