I’m teaching a few students at the moment who are preparing for auditions for Musicals and it inspires the heck out of me.

I wasn’t really brought up on musicals. Every now and then I meet a person who was brought up on them and I am in awe at their knowledge of the range of songs they know, from rainy childhood days spent watching Mary Poppins, and The Sound and Of Music and all the rest of the classics over and over, they’ve got it down!

In preparation for helping my students I have purchased “The Ultimate Broadway Fake Book” (Hal Leonard, 5th Edition). Over 820 songs should get us somewhere. And I’m assuming that combined with the delights of youtube and a few rainy days inside, it should do the trick. (This book also has a little overview of each musical’s storyline, which is appreciated. The text in the music is small and bar lines are not set four across the page for easy navigation, but it’s a good place to start.)

But with over 820 to choose from, where do we start?

Obviously with the students personal taste and favourites. ‘Keep em keen, by, well, keeping ’em keen’ ­čÖé

Favourites at the moment appear to be Wicked, Rent and Hairspray.

My favourites will be swayed by my joys found in Jazz. So I lean more towards:

Blue Skies (Betsy)

My Romance (Jumbo)

On A Clear Day (On A Clear Day)

I’ll Be Seeing You (Right This Way)

Come Rain Or Come Shine (St Louis Woman)

Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man (Show Boat)

Don’t Get Around Much Anymore (Sophisticated Ladies)

How High The Moon (Two For The Show)

I’ll be teaching them with a firm swinging jazzy feel behind them, and then researching together with the student to see how very different they are in the musical.

But I guess what I’m wondering is: do we just dive in and learn as many as we can? I’m not saying ‘Quality versus Quantity’ at all – I want Quality of course! Thats the aim, but when you’re ready for your audition, is your┬árepertoire┬álist as important as the one or two songs you do actually choose and sing?

I’m trying to see what I can find on this, and I like these Audition Tips.

Oh, there’s some pretty good blogs and what not talking about songs not to do, and I guess I would take their points into consideration when helping a student choose their HSC pieces as well – overdone songs don’t need to be done when there’s so many good songs in the world!

I’ve always been a fan of B sides anyway. The lesser known songs in an album or musical. So if all the wise ones of the world suggest to avoid ‘Popular’ from Wicked, then I say we learn it for good measure, but focus on another song from that musical as well. Why stop with one?

So I guess I better do a rain dance and get my studying shoes on.