World Choir Games Flanders 2023

New season, new songs – how to find new repertoire for your choir

  • [The views expressed in this blog are from my personal experiences from 25 years of leading non-auditioned community choirs in the UK, as well as adult singing workshops. My focus is on teaching by ear using a repertoire of songs from traditions across the globe. Your experiences may differ from mine, so do feel free to leave a comment and let's begin a conversation! A version of this article first appeared as a post on my blog From the Front of the Choir]


    With the holiday break starting soon, many choir leaders are thinking about their next choir season. Choirs often start back in September, a time when new songs are needed.



    I’m here to help! Here are some resources for finding new songs for your choir.

    Planning a new choir season is not just about finding new songs. See Finding songs for the new choir season.

    But there will come a time when you need to source new material.

    There are plenty of big publishing companies out there. Most of them focus on western classical music or popular songs.

    But what if you’re on a tight budget or are looking for something a little different?

    try something a little different

    My own interest is in traditional songs from around the world, often in the original languages. These can often be easier to teach and learn than many well-known songs. They tend to have fewer words and less complicated structures. See Don’t be too quick to dismiss songs that aren’t in English.

    I also teach all my songs by ear so don’t want to buy a copy of the sheet music for every singer that I work with.

    Although traditional songs are not subject to copyright, arrangements of them are. But these arrangements tend to be self-published in affordable songbooks. Or they can bought as single songs as downloads.

    affordable arrangements of traditional songs

    As it happens, I have around 70 song arrangements that are ridiculously cheap and easy to buy as downloads! You only need to buy one copy and are free to perform the songs with no extra payment. All songs are available as sheet music and/or recorded parts.

    You can find all the information on my website: buy my song arrangements.

    other resources

    Here are some websites that I use frequently. They range from free to affordable:

    You can also read a substantial post I wrote a while back that covers several song collections:

    Songbooks and other resources for choirs (that will also make great presents) – this also has links to other posts about finding songs for your choir

    If you’re a teacher you might want to read Using world songs in the classroom: a teacher’s guide to sourcing songs and how to use them

    I hope that gives you some ideas. Good luck for the new season!





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    Chris Rowbury

    Monthly Music Roundup:

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