For any aspiring voice student who wants to become a great singer, finding the right vocal teacher, studying hard, and practicing the right way are essential. However, singers also need to study the right materials, and will need to invest in an assortment of song collections, music theory books, and more to develop a great foundation as musicians.
Any great voice teacher will be able to start students off with great musics to build their confidence, experience, and skill. But music lessons can’t just consist of working on various songs. At Sage Music, we believe in helping our students to achieve their goals, and that requires a multi-faceted approach to studying singing.
These seven essential books are must-haves here at Sage Music. Each the books below covers different topics, from repertoire development to music theory and more. They will help aspiring voice students to better understand the music that they’re studying, enhancing their performances, in turn. Whether your goal is to become a talented singer or to eventually launch a career as a musician, these books will give you the knowledge that is necessary to start you on your way.
This book from Schirmer’s Library of Musical Classics is a stable for the aspiring voice student. Available in two vocal ranges, this collection of songs makes for an excellent introduction to Italian repertoire. The music is visually easy to read, and you can even purchase a recording of accompaniments that make practicing both fun and more enriching. You can purchase the book here!
These books give you plenty of options to choose from. There are six volumes for multiple voice types including Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Tenor, and Baritone/Bass. An additional 3 volumes of duets make for great learning opportunities, and 16-bar audition volumes are ideal for preparing for an upcoming audition. These books feature a mix of contemporary and classic musical theatre pieces, and are available for purchase as a standalone book, a book and online accompaniments, and a book with an accompaniment CD. They make for a rich introduction to musical theatre.
Hal Leonard’s Arias For books introduce aspiring singers to some of the essential arias that they should study. Each book is a collection of famous arias according to voice type. A companion CD is available featuring beautifully recorded accompaniment parts for easy at-home practicing.
Pasquale Bona’s Rhythmical Articulation is a collection of 120 etudes that explore rhythmic theory and the role that time plays in a musical phrase. Progressively difficult, these etudes are ideal for both beginning voice students and more advanced students, making this book an investment that a student will want to both keep and revisit throughout their career.
Sight singing is an essential skill for every singer to develop, and this series of books develops that skill by means of progressive exercises. As students progress through the books, they’ll train themselves to hear different intervals and patterns. The skills that these books can help to build aren’t just essential for beginning students, but are highly valuable to students going into college or entering professional careers.
Having an understanding of chord progression and harmony will go a long way in developing and strengthening a singer’s ability and overall musicality. This collection of chorale harmonizations presents Johann Sebastian Bach’s music in perfect vertical alignment, making it easy to analyze and study the chords, the overall chord progression, and the movements of each individual line. This book is a must-have for understanding the ins and outs of how chords work within the context of a larger piece.
An excellent understanding of music theory will make any singer a better musician, and Tonal Harmony is a great place to start. This book, by Stefan Kostka and Dorothy Payne, is in its seventh edition – and with good reason. It provides an intensive study of music theory fundamentals including key signatures, interval inversion, beat division, chord progression, part writing, and more. Any singer would benefit from studying this detailed book.
The above books are all an excellent addition to an aspiring voice student’s library. With each book covering a different area of study, they can help students to become well-rounded singers with an excellent foundation in terms of music theory, harmony, repertoire, and more.
Not sure which book to start with? Talk with your voice teacher about your goals, and they will be able to recommend the right book for you as you start out.