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Beginning Middle School 3-part music

I am a new Chorus teacher in the North Carolina area.  I am very grateful to be walking into a developed program with a community that has a large support for the arts.  I am teaching 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Chorus and there are large numbers in each group.  After lookig throgh the music library, I noticed that the majority of the reperatoire is 2-part.  The my job is set up, I am split between two schools and I am at each school for about 18-weeks a piece.  I would like to take my 7th and 8th graders into the SAB or 3-part territory but I know this is complicated due to my limited amount of time with them.  
What are some good resources I could look into for some basic SAB/3-part singing? 
on August 18, 2013 4:07pm
Are the classes mixed or divided into treble and tenor bass groups? If you have any say in the matter, divide them inton treble and tenor bass instead of mixed choirs.  You will have emuch more success and find many more resources for gender-based choirs at this level.  Look at the Brilee Muisc website - they are a middle school choir director's best friend.  Also look at state choral contest lists at the easiest levels of music.  On the site, many state lists are found under the tab at the top of the page. Also, check the middle school/junior high repertoire lists here on Choralnet.Good luck!
on August 19, 2013 7:52am
Dear Kyle,
I have some free three-part arrangements of Scots songs on my website:
A Red Red Rose, Jock O' Hazeldean and A Highland Lad should give the basses something interesting to do without taking much time to learn. Afton Water and Duncan Gray are a bit more advanced, but worth it once you've got to know the groups.
Let me know if those are of interest - they're free for non-profit use. It would be good to know of any performances.
Chris Hutchings
on August 19, 2013 8:13am
If the students have experienced singing two part enough that they dont follow each other they will be able to tackle three and four part singing. If they sight read that is even better. An experiment to determine if they can do this is a simple round.
once you have determined their capabilities the options are gloriously endless. JWpepper has awesome music. I think the kids will suprise you.
on August 19, 2013 8:54am
Kyle, it is NOT a difficult maneuver.  I did it for 35 years of my 42 years of teaching.  My profile will inform you to a degree.  I am willing to send you, via e-mail, many items that you will require including warm-ups, a repertoire of approximately 100 compositions designed for a middle school choral arts program and for ensembles of any size and/or capability.  Many entries include multiple voicings and each of these includes links, composer, arranger, editor, publisher, publisher's catalogue number, price (accuracy is close, but not guaranteed), difficulty level, Pepper's catalogue numbers, ACDA criteria met, and some include "aside" thoughts and/or programming suggestions.  For each of these entries, if there is a Three-part mixed voicing available, it was certainly included.  In my list and in other lists, you should be most interested in "Three-Part MIXED" from any reputable publisher, not SAB, as SAB often takes the males lower than their ranges permit.  You have cambiati in your choirs and they usually cannot go lower than G of F below middle.  While some males can perform much higher than D above middle C, some cannot.  Three-part mixed arrangements usually stay at or below that D.  For very talented choirs, or small, selected ensembles (quartets/octets), with good bass and tenor sections, do not be afraid of SATB voicings.  My middle-school-specific list is on the J. W. Peppers web site ( using the Music Lists button, titled as Mid. Sch. Repertoire.  The list includes works from BriLee Music Publishing Company, a subsidiary of Carl Fischer Music, Carl Fischer itself, G and E.C. Schirmer, Shawnee, Oxford UP, T. Presser, Alliance, Alfred, Banks (UK), Musicaneo, Heritage, Hope and several other fine publishers.  The warm-up sheets may soon be a published item but I will send them to you as well including worksheets.  But I will need your personal e-mail address as these items will have to be sent as attachments, a maneuver this site does not afford us.  I applaud Mary Jane's writings especially the suggestion concerning classes being gender-based.  If your genders have the required talent, the list also includes music for SSA and SSAA as well as TB, TTB, and TTBB.  I have had my students perform all these and they loved it.  Never teach a genre of music with which the children already have a deep experience.  Expand their horizons; raise their performance and theory bars.  My students always loved it when they heard high schools performing music we also performed, sight-reading music in lieu of rote learning, and that feeling of accomplishment when successfully performing works that took great effort in both large and small ensembles.  Also, as Barbara Doscher always pleaded, never damage the voice; it is better to teach nothing than to damage the voice.  I look forward to your e-mail, Kyle.
on August 19, 2013 9:07am
I've had excellent success with the following 3-part/SAB music:
This Little Light of Mine, 3-part mixed, arr. Neil Johnson, Hal Leonard 42320010
Can You Hear, SAB, Jim Papoulis,  Boosey & Hawkes 48005164
Sing a Jubilant Song, 3-part mixed, Dave & Jean Perry, Alfred 5795
Whistle Down the Wind, SAB, Andrew Lloyd Webber, arr. John Leavitt, Hal Leonard 08621263
Shenandoah, 3-part mixed, arr. Spevacek, Jenson/Hal Leonard 437-19040
I've got a really fun canon, Missus Shady, which I'd be happy to send you if you'll send me your email.  My email:  barhamte(a)
Text:  O Missus Shady, she was a lady.  She had a daughter whom I adored.  I went to court her, I mean her daughter, every Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday half-past four. 
on August 19, 2013 2:15pm
Hello, Kyle,
If you are following John Briggs's wonderful and generous advice, you might, with an advanced girls' group, have use for the tune below. It is also available in SAB but as he notes, the part goes down to low A so won't work for tenortones much less cambiata singers. But an SSA group can have fun learning it and moving from unison to harmony and simple (Franck) canon.
You can see a perusal score and listen to a recording at 
I publish in inexpensive .pdf with a modest photocopy fee. And I offer educational discount.
Please contact me off-list if it is of interest.
David Avshalomov

Composer, Singer, Conductor
Santa Monica, CA
Special Citation Winner, American Prize 2012, Orchestral Composition
Dual Finalist, American Prize 2013, Choral and Orchestral Composition
ACDA Silver Platter Award 2012 for Choral Repertoire of Outstanding Quality
“Polifonija” Sacred Choral Music Competition 2013, Siauliai State Chamber Choir, Lithuania, Second Prize
Project : Encore, Schola Cantorum/Hudson, Recommended Choral Work of Exceptional Merit 2012
(My Beautiful Dream)
SAB (or SAA), piano, opt. flute(s)
DURATION: 4 minutes.
A slow, sweet, lyrical song, sincere and touching, with an appealing and natural pentatonic tune, canon middle and sweet ending. This song expresses an idealistic, innocent dream about the future of our suffering world and the hope that our children—and their children—may heal both the Earth and human society and live in peace forever. The song setting is suitable for youth choruses. It is not complex and can be learned fairly easily.
Let the children play and learn in Peace,
Help them grow up strong and healthy.
If we teach them wisely, they may come to heal the World.
Let the children learn and grow in Peace.
Children are the Dreamers of our World
And our duty to them is very clear.
If we work together we can give them
A dream of a future without fear.
Show them all the beauty in the World.
Show them Nature’s strength and glory.
And in Global Healing we will come to heal ourselves,
Take our place as guardians of the Earth.
Help your people and community.
Make a difference and always do your part.
Work for justice, care for those in need.
Keep compassion and kindness in your heart
If they grow up strong and clear and smart,
They’ll return the World to balance;
They can heal the forests, and the sky and sea and land.
Let them play and learn and grow in Peace.
May they heal the World and live In Peace.
In Peace.
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