Macquarie University
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The approaches of singing teachers to new and unfamiliar repertoire

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posted on 2024-06-25, 02:35 authored by Deborah Sharon Grace

The selection of appropriate vocal repertoire for singing students is a constant challenge and can be a daunting task for any singing teacher. Research has identified that current singing teachers are often expected to teach Contemporary Commercial Music (CCM) repertoire without the appropriate pedagogical training. Furthermore, the use of the master-apprentice model of teaching, largely inherited from the bel canto tradition, means that teachers may also be reliant on their recall of the lessons and repertoire they studied as students. For these teachers, it seems unlikely that they will include current CCM repertoire in their lessons.

The literature reveals that chosen repertoire should be appropriate for the age and level of vocal development of the student, and may help the progression of vocal and expressive techniques. Teachers are also able to consider selection criteria such as vocal range, tessitura, accompaniment, vocal line movement and phrase length. Although many resources and anthologies exist for the study and evaluation of traditional classical singing repertoire and some for Musical Theatre, there are limited resources which help singing teachers evaluate the suitability of CCM repertoire. These concerns lead to the primary research questions of: How do singing teachers learn and teach unfamiliar repertoire? and, How do singing teachers evaluate this repertoire for pedagogical purposes?

To determine the approach of singing teachers and the selection of unfamiliar repertoire, this research surveyed how singing teachers choose repertoire and the reasons behind the choices they made. Respondents (N=39) included singing teachers with a variety of experiences, to determine what approaches may be taken by teachers of different experience levels, backgrounds and genres and vocal styles. Through emergent themes, the findings of this survey provide insight into how singing teachers choose repertoire, what criteria they may apply and the resources they may utilise when approaching new and unfamiliar songs. These findings are used to generate a framework of repertoire evaluation.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction -- Chapter 2: Literature review -- Chapter 3: Research design -- Chapter 4: Findings -- Chapter 5: Discussion and emergent themes -- Chapter 6: Conclusion -- References -- Appendices

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


Master of Research

Department, Centre or School

Department of Media, Communications, Creative Arts, Languages and Literature

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Diane Hughes

Additional Supervisor 1

Andrew Robson


Copyright: The Author Copyright disclaimer:




120 pages

Former Identifiers

AMIS ID: 316918

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