Teaching a 12-Year-Old Boy Singing

by Priscilla

First of all, I love your site -- it's been an amazing help to me since I started teaching.

However I've just started teaching a 12 yr old boy singing, and I'm a bit worried because at his age do I need to find him songs which are written for a boy to sing or not?

I've been teaching girls for quite a while now and it's fine, but I've never taught a boy before. Are there any tips you could give me??


Hi, Priscilla,

This is a hard question and I don't have an easy answer!

I also haven't taught very many boys. Finding music for them is the hardest part. But it's not impossible!

First, I'd have a look at Oklahoma, an American musical. It has "Oh What a Beautiful Morning" and "Kansas City" which are both fun. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is also full of songs for guys.

But you are in the UK, and I don't know if your boy would like music about the American West! (Both of those musicals are very much about the west, with corny accents.) I'm assuming that you have looked at my page, Broadway Musicals. If you haven't, please go there and study these musicals.

The music of George Gershwin (another American) is still fun after nearly 80 years, and always sounds fresh. It's still copyrighted, so you should look on Youtube to find out if you like something before you buy it. (Probably you already know this quite well!)

Folk songs are perhaps your best bet -- they never really get old. I'll bet he would like "Spanish Ladies."

If he wants to be a rock star, then I am sorry for you! I don't really teach that kind of music, as I believe once kids learn to breathe & phrase & articulate well, and project sound (and match pitch!) then they can go off and imitate their favorite rock musician to their heart's content. You can help them with style.

Les Miserables is popular, so you might show him some of that music. They are pretty dramatic pieces.

"Chimchiminee" from Mary Poppins is a lovely song sung by a guy -- good melody.

South Pacific has some nice songs for guys, depending on your boy's temperament. Can you see him singing "Younger Than Springtime?" Or a high-energy song, "There is Nothing Like a Dame" -- very fun!

Andrew Lloyd Weber's stuff is great. And I have a book called "Great Songs from Musicals for Teens" Young Women's edition -- that means there must be a young men's edition!

12 years old is a tricky age, because he's not really a little boy anymore, but heavy-duty love songs are not appropriate for him either.

You're just going to have to do your homework and look for fresh music for him -- boys are a challenge! I would be interested to hear what you find that he likes.

Yes, I would do a little bit of classical music also. If you pick up a book of "Italian Favorites" or something like that, it will have folk songs in it too, such as Funiculi, Funicula or Ciribiribin or Santa Lucia. He might like the high-energy songs. But if he is really musical, he will appreciate songs that are just beautiful, too.

What about my favorites of all, English/Scottish ballads and folk songs? The Minstrel Boy, Spanish Ladies, Skye Boat Song, White Orange & Green, The Grenadier and the Lady... (these are all on my Vocal Page).

Thanks for writing, Dana

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