The Singing Teacher’s Bookshelf
Here is a list of the books I use most to teach singing (in the UK). I would recommend these to others. I offer the list as a guide, if needed, to other teachers who might feel there is a gap in their library.
Classical Songs - Compilations
Editors Appleby and Fowler
My notes Good compilation of simple folk and traditional songs for the UK. Good for younger singers (up to Yr 6) and excellent for sight-singing for older students.
My notes This series of four books is for more advanced students. Good choice of repertoire. The editors are distinguished singers, and these are performing editions. Transposition (such as Elfenlied in Book 1) are not noted, and not all songs are given in their original language.
Sing Solo Soprano
Editor Jean Allister
Editor Constance Shacklock
for more advanced students
Sing Solo Tenor
Editor Robert Tear
Sing Solo Baritone
Editor John Carol Case
Chester Book of Celebrated Songs
Editor Shirley Leah
Publisher Chester Music
My notes A good compilation of classical songs for the developing voice. I would use these for around grade 4 to grade 6 (the songs are graded: Book 1 for the easy ones, and Book 3 for the harder ones). There isn’t any concession to voice type, however
Chester Book of Celebrated Songs, Volume 1
Chester Book of Celebrated Songs, Volume 2
Chester Book of Celebrated Songs, Volume 3
Twenty-Four Italian Songs And Arias Of The 17th And 18th Centuries
My notes: This appears to be published only for Medium-High Voice. This is standard repertoire, widely used, but now extremely dated, with accompaniments that are anachonistric (albeit very fine!). Everyone needs a copy: you might think there are better options now, but sometimes it is helpful to have editorial interference - and indeed Si Tu m”ami, which turns out not to be by Pergolesi at all, but by the editor Parisotti. Flattery indeed.
26 Italian Songs And Arias (Medium/High Voice) (Book/CD)
Also published without the CD
Publisher Alfred Publishing
My notes This is my preferred volume for this repertoire - the accompaniments are unfussy, and the songs presented with pronunciation guide, word-for-word translations and biographical information. It is everything a song book ought to be, but so rarely is.
The Junior Recitalist
Editor Noelle Barker
Publisher Stainer and Bell
Volume 1 Soprano
ISBN M 2202 0980 2
Volume 2 Mezzo-soprano/Contralto
ISBN M 2202 0981 9
Volume 3 Tenor (out of print)
ISBN M 2202 0982 6
Volume 4 Baritone/Bass (out of print)
ISBN M 2202 0983 3
My notes: There are four books of English songs - one for each voice type. They both have excellent material, albeit somewhat recherché. I am always tempted to cover the books in brown paper - the title seems to me to be misjudged: junior singers aren’t really interested in unusual English repertoire, and I am not sure in what sense the word Junior is meant - these songs don’t seem to make technical or musical concessions to youth, and adults are put off by the word “Junior”. Junior perhaps meaning ages 16-18. Volume 2 gets a rosette from me, for including Holst’s Betelgeuse (one of the great songs of all time), but again I wouldn’t fancy exploring theosophist philosophy with anyone under 16.
Classical Songs - Standard Repertoire
Musical Theatre and Film
The Singers Music Theatre Anthology
This is an ever-expanding series, now consisting of twenty-three volumes, of core material. There are five volumes for each voice type, and three volumes of duets. Some of them have been published in Original and Revised editions (which are not the same). Revised is better. Also, some volumes have backing tracks on CD (volume 1 of each voice is indispensible).
This web site has a list
And the publishers very helpfully publish a pdf index to the complete series of The Singers Music Theatre Anthology:
Soprano Volume 1
Book and CDs
Mezzo-Soprano/Belter Volume 1
Book and CDs
Tenor Volume 1
Book and CDs
Baritone/Bass Volume 1
Book and CDs
There are also three volumes of Duets
My notes perhaps here, two volumes are necessary, since the voices needed are different.
Duets Volume 1 (Male/Female)
Book and CDs
Duets Volume 2 (Various Voices)
ISBN 978-0634064463 or 978-0634098352
Book and CDs
ISBN 978-0634078583 or 978-1423423737
Theatre Solos for Beginning Singers (15 Easy Theatre Solos)
Publisher: Hal Leonard Europe
My notes: some of these are certainly NOT easy! Good selection. Good for approx Grades 4-6. early-mid teen girls
Broadway for Teens
Young Women’s Edition
Editor Louise Lerch
Publisher Hal Leonard
My notes: excellent modern anthologies of carefully chosen material for the young singers. I really rate these. Each book is published with a CD of backing tracks, adjustable for speed and pitch.
The Teens Musical Theatre Collection
My notes: I use these a lot, but they are a bit dated now. They have been replaced by Broadway for Teens (q.v.)
Young Men's Edition (book and CD)
Author: Louise Lerch
Publisher: Hal Leonard 00740161
Also published without the CD:
Young Men's Edition (book only)
Publisher: Hal Leonard 00740078
Young Women’s Edition (book and CD)
Publisher: Hal Leonard 00740160
Also published without the CD:
Young Women’s Edition (book only)
Publisher: Hal Leonard 00740077
Musical Theatre Classics
My notes I like these books because they include a CD of performance (by a professional soloist with piano), as well as piano backing tracks. There are volumes for all voice types.
Published by Hal Leonard Europe
Vocal Selections (or Vocal Scores) of Musicals
My notes Buy as many as you can! Vocal Selections for beginners would include:
The Sound of Music
The King and I
early Disney, e.g. The Jungle Book,
Contemporary Disney (50 songs)
Publisher: Walt Disney Music Company (distributed by Hal Leonard)
My notes: I use this a lot with early to mid-teen girls
The Illustrated Treasury of Disney Songs
Publisher Hal Leonard
My notes I use this with younger singers, around grades 0-3, Years 7 and below.
Music Theatre Collection for Young Women Singers
My notes: I can’t recommend this, although it is widely available in the UK, and has a good selection of popular material, it mixes voice types, so half the book is wasted. There is no chart of tessitura for each song, so unless you know the material well, you end up wasting time with it, at least I do. I would use Theatre Solos for Beginning Singers instead (same publisher)
Publisher HLE HLE90001476
Single Composer Anthologies
Pop and Rock
All-Woman Volume 1
Book and CD
All-Woman Volume 2
Book and CD
All-Woman Volume 3
Book and CD
All-Woman Volume 4
Book and CD
Now dated, but much of this is core repertoire. The books that include a CD do not have all the songs of the books that don’t have CDs. The original series has been extended to include All Woman Love SOngs, All Woman Jazz, etc.
Rock School Vocals
Publisher Trinity College of Music
Rock School Vocals Grade 1 -3 Female
Rock School Vocals Grades 4-5 Female
Rock School Vocals Grades 6-8 Female
Rock School Vocals Grade 1-3 Male
Rock School Vocals Grades 4-5 Male
Rock School Vocals Grades 6-8 Male
each with 2 CDs of backing tracks
Rock School Vocals Companion Guide
Rockschool has a website at www.rockschool.co.uk
Extensive Series of books with backing tracks on accompanying CD. Mostly Pop, but some Music Theatre. There are too many volumes in the series to mention individually.
Publisher: Wise Publications
This web site has a list:
Published in four volumes,
Singing Time Grade 1
Singing Time Grade 2
ISBN 0-7119-9121-9,or possibly 9780711991217
Singing Time Grade 3
Singing Time Grade 4
Author: David Turnbull
My notes: It is very good to have all the music needed for an exam in the same book - practical advice, warm-ups and theory, together with songs and sight-singing exercises. The sight-Singing sections are out of date since the Assoc. Board made their 2009 sight-singing tests untexted, but are still very useful. These are my books of choice for young singers. I find grade 3 and 4 the best, because the range of material suits a wide range of ages. Grades 1 and 2 (partly it has to be said constrained by the ABRSM lists). So I tend to use the Grade 1 book only in Primary Schools (up to Year 6)
The Boosey and Hawkes 20th-Century Easy Song Collection
Editor Eileen Field
Publisher Boosey and Hawkes
There are four books (volumes 3 and 4 are published both for high voice and for low voice). I find these are very good compilations, albeit one needs to use them with some caution: for example, compare the standard of Lurking in the Pond (easy) and When I was one-and-twenty (really hard) from Book 2! Books 1 and 2 are published like instrumental books, i.e. with a separate booklet included for the singer, with the vocal line only. What a good idea!
Singer’s World Book 1
Singer’s World Book 2
Singer’s World Book 3 High Voice
Singer’s World Book 3 Low Voice
Singer’s World Book 4 High Voice
Singer’s World Book 4 Low Voice
Making the Grade
Making the Grade 2 - 3
Publisher Chester CH61681
My notes good beginner book for girls, 8-11
Making the Grade 4 - 5
Publisher Chester CH61682
My notes good beginner book for girls 11-13
Basics of Singing
My notes: This book is regularly revised. IMHO, each edition gets rather less useful in the UK. There is an understandable bias towards American material which seems to me to have increased with each revision. The current, Sixth Edition, is unusable to me. The good news is that the early editions are available cheaply second-hand.
[The sixth edition does have a 2CD accompanying set of backing tracks
The ABRSM Songbook, series
Compilers: Campbell, Forbes and Zobens
Publisher: Associated Board New Singing Books
My notes: Published in five volumes, but printed at soprano pitch only! with a CD that is at soprano pitch only, but they do have pronunciation guides for all songs.
The ABRSM Songbook Grade 1
The ABRSM Songbook Grade 2
The ABRSM Songbook Grade 3
The ABRSM Songbook Grade 4
The ABRSM Songbook Grade 5
Penguin Book of Folk Song
(also published as the The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs)
Editors Ralph Vaughan Williams and A. L. Lloyd
My notes Classic collection, highly recommended.
This web site has a listing of recordings of each song: http://www.informatik.uni-hamburg.de/~zierke/lloyd/penguinbookofenglishfolksongs.html
Classic English Folk Songs
Editors R Vaughan Williams and A L Lloyd.
Publisher The English Folk Dance & Song Society
My notes Seems to be unavailable. It is a revised edition of The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs
The Crystal Spring: English Folk Songs Collected by Cecil Sharp (Paperback)
Editor Maud Karpeles (Editor)
My notes This is the book I use most, as a glance at my folk song page will show.
Botsford Collection of Folk Songs
Published by Schirmer
Editor Botsford, Florence Hudson
An old series of books, published in the 1930s. I use these a lot because they have a wide range of folk-songs in foreign languages. I feel that students can hardly go into Grade 7 and sing Scarborough Fair!
Vol. 1. The Americas, Asia and Africa
Vol. 2. Northern Europe
Vol. 3. Southern Europe.
Sight Sing Well
Author: Jonathan Rathbone
Publisher: Edition Peters
My Notes: best for pre-teens beginner - systematic. Some of the lyrics are a bit childish.
Book 1a - Basic Solfa, Teacher’s Manual (EP 7766)
Book 1b - Basic Solfa, Exercise Book (EP 7767)
Book 1c - Pupil's Book (EP 7768)
Author: Nancy Telfer
Publisher: Kjos Music Company
My Notes: best for small groups - excellent material, well ordered, and imaginative lyrics. There is a Book 2 that I have never had the need of, there being so much material in Book 1.
Book 1 Students’ Edition
Book 1 Teacher’s Edition
Improve Your Sight-Singing
Authors: Paul Harris and Mike Brewer
Publisher: Faber Music
My notes suitable for more musically literate students (e.g. those studying other instruments) Published in two volumes (each available in two editions. for High and Medium/Low voice)
Improve Your Sight-Singing High/Medium Voice, Elementary: Treble Clef
Improve Your Sight-Singing Low/Medium Voice, Elementary: Treble Clef
Improve Your Sight-Singing Low/Medium Voice, Bass Clef:
Improve Your Sight-Singing High/Medium Intermediate:
Improve Your Sight-Singing Low/Medium Voice, Treble Clef, Intermediate:
The Advanced volume has never been published!
Specimen Sight-Singing Tests (from 2009)
Specimen Sight-Singing Tests Grades 1-5
Specimen Sight-Singing Tests Grade 6-8
My notes: These books will show you what level you need to achieve, but not how to get there!
Music in Words
Author Trevor Herbert
Metodo Pratico di Canto
Author: Nicolo Vaccai (Vaccaj)
My Notes: There are two editions, Soprano/Tenor and Alto/Baritone. Although this book is also available for free download from Scribd.com, the Ricordi edition comes with a CD of (excellent) performances and backing tracks, as well as notes by the editor.
Voice Placing and Training Exercises by George Dodds
There are two editions: for Soprano/Tenor, and for Alto/Baritone
I used to think this rather dull - probably judging it on the look of the pages, rather than the content. As I get older, I realise the error of my ways. I use it all the time, now, with more advanced singers
Mike Brewer’s Warm-Ups!
Author Mike Brewer
Publisher Faber Music
A Handbook of Diction for Singers
Author David Adams
My notes Indispensible guide to pronunciation of French, Italian and German.
The Singer’s Manual of English Diction
Author Madeleine Marshall
My notes A bit dated, and American of course. Very detailed. Should be on every singer’s bookshelf
Singing and Communicating in English
Author la Bouff
My notes Some may find this may be an alternative to Marshall’s book, but it is too American for my tastes
Song Text Translations
Lieder Line By Line
Author Lois Phillips
My notes Indispensable.
The Voice Book
Author Michael McCallion
My notes Not specifically for singers, but contains very many exercises and technical advice about voice production, and pronunciation in English
Author Timothy Caldwell
Publisher Prentice Hall
My notes The best book I ever bought about singing
Singing in Tune
Author Nancy Telfer
Publisher Kjos Music Company
The Structure of Singing
Author Richard Miller
Publisher Schirmer Books
My notes Any book by Richard Miller is worth the purchase price ten times over
The Naked Voice
Author W. Stephen Smith
My notes Advanced level text. Practical exercises borne of years of experience with opera singers.
Find Your Voice
Author Jo Thompson
Publisher Artemis Press)
Find Your Voice CD (Vocal Exercises for Men)
Find Your Voice CD (Vocal Exercises for Women)
My notes I use this book with sixth-formers and first year college students. It covers most of the ground of singing, business advice as well as practical exercises.
Singing and Imagination
Author Thomas Helmsley
My notes If I were allowed to take only one book about how to sing to my desert island, it would be this one.
Trinity Guildhall Singing Syllabus
Associated Board Singing Syllabus
Pay-for sheet music
Classical Schubertline http://www.schubertline.co.uk/home.htm
Popular Sheet Music Direct http://www.sheetmusicdirect.com/Default.aspx
Translations of Songs
Lied and Art Song Page http://www.lieder.net/lieder/index.html
Eyes and Ears http://www.lightandmatter.com/sight/sight.html
General sites for Singers
Singer’s Workshop (in French) http://chanteur.net/workshop.htm
Peabody (a resource for more advanced singers) http://www.peabody.jhu.edu/conservatory/mecc/repertoire_resources_for_singers.pdf