One more post about repertoire:
One of my favorite things to do is find repertoire, both for me and for my students, for anyone, really. It can be a wonderful treasure hunt. You never know where it will lead you or what you will find! I think I like the search as much as I like to work on the resulting gems. As exciting and interesting as it can be, the search can also be frustrating and dispiriting. It helps if you can leisurely discover what is out there. It loses its fun, and in fact can be incredibly stressful, to have a looming deadline.
There are so many ways to approach your search. My favorite path to start down is listening to one of my favorite singer’s recordings. This is especially good if your favorite singer and you have similar voices. This avenue can also introduce you to new composers and shows which in turn might acquaint you with a new performer who could become a new favorite. And while we are on the subject of performers, if there is a particular performer that you think you sound like/look like/act like, looking up what other roles they have played and repertoire they have sung is a great way to find songs that might be a good fit. This in turn will make you aware of other composers and shows which in turn…you get the idea.
One thing I try to remember and always tell my students when on the repertoire hunt: the process of finding great repertoire is like shopping for a great outfit to wear. Yes, a song is like a good piece of clothing; one size does not fit all. The question is: what “fits”? Scenario: you walk into Macy’s to buy clothes. There is no question that more than one item of clothing will fit you somewhere in the store. But do you buy everything that fits? No, because not everything is exactly right. It might just be a tad too long or too short, the color is slightly off, the neckline not perfectly flattering, the fabric not exactly what you feel comfortable in; it just isn’t “it”. Or when you look in the mirror, in that outfit you see your mother or grandmother (or father or grandfather for that matter!) staring back at you! Horrors! Or you try on something that suddenly makes you see a whole new side of yourself- sexy, powerful, silly, whatever… Like your favorite go-to outfit that you love to wear, that will make any day better, the right song should make you feel excited to sing it; it is so “you” it is as if the song sings itself. Warning: usually you will start to refer to this song as “yours” and guard it zealously. You can’t imagine anyone but you singing this piece. Be sure to hide this slightly irrational personality trait. For some reason, it can be misunderstood… (Reason #457 why singers are CRAZY.)
It may be hard at times to find the perfect fit in a song, but it is worth the search. When you sing a song that you love that also suits your voice, personality and temperament, singing is even a greater pleasure than it is normally.