How do we choose the songs at Sing!?

We love that so many people want to contribute ideas to the song selection at Sing!, and we often get asked how we choose the final list for each term. So, here’s an insight into the process we go through to decide what music we’ll all be enjoying each week…

We start by collecting all the ideas we’ve been given throughout the term – by email, via facebook, in person. We’re fairly confident that at least some of these ideas are not expected to be taken seriously (you know if I’m talking about you!) but we write them all down anyway. This term we had 50 new songs to consider!

We aim to have about 15 songs ready for the Christmas concert, which we think makes for a good concert without being too many to learn. We’ve already learnt three songs since the last concert, which leaves 12 to choose. We’d like to repeat three from the previous concert, to reduce the number we need to learn now (and because we sounded awesome at the last concert!) which leaves nine.Of those, we thought four should be Christmassy, which leave five slots (we didn’t receive many Christmas suggestions this time round, but would be happy to this time next year!)…

We also need to think about a few other things too: we try to get a mixture of genres (pop, gospel, folk etc), difficulties (some we can learn in one session, others that will take several weeks) and styles (fast and upbeat vs more mellow). We think about how many will need band, as we want a mix of a cappella and accompanied pieces. We try not to end up with too many religious songs (which can sneak up on us when we go for gospel, spiritual or classical songs, which tend to have religious sentiments). This term, we’ve tried to take on board the feedback from the survey, although we’ve found it quite hard to do everything we’ve been asked (for example, 29% of people would like a longer rehearsal each week, but 38% would not!) Finally, we consider which suggestions we have, or can easily get hold of, music for, and which we’d need to spend some time arranging.

Once we’ve thought about all those things, we’re ready to fit these songs into the rehearsal schedule for the term! We figure out how many slots we think each song will need (totalling 26 learning and 14 recapping slots this time) and then add up how many slots we have this term (24 learning and 12 recapping) – and then we realise we’ve already been over-ambitious, and that perhaps we won’t have a half-term break this term!

And that is how the list of 15 songs reaches its conclusion! We’re always happy to get (nice!) feedback on what you make of the songs we’ve chosen, and we’re even happier to get offers of help for teaching. The more part-teachers we can get to help us get through the learning, the more ambitious we can be (and the longer we can break for cake mid-rehearsal!)

I would share with you here the final song list, but 1) that would ruin the surprise each week and 2) we still reserve the right to realise we’re trying to cram too much in and to change the plan as we go along!

So happy sing!ing and we hope you enjoy the selection of songs we have for you this term 🙂