What song should I sing? It’s the age-old question.
Young singers are always looking for great pop songs to sing in lessons. We are shown pop stars like Adele, Lady Gaga, or Justin Bieber, and kids are drawn to their “cool” factor. As a voice teacher, I’ve often struggled with the song requests from my students. Many of the songs that are most popular are wildly inappropriate for young singers to work on! It’s so difficult to find pop songs that they love to sing, and that are appropriate for their maturity and vocal development. After 10 years of working with young singers, I’ve developed a list of my go-to favourites that also seem to be frequent hits with my students. Here is a list of 5 great pop songs for young singers, and a karaoke to practice with (in no particular order):
Song 1: Better Place, Rachel Platten
This is a great pop song for young singers, especially beginners. There are lots of approachable patterns, so learning isn’t too difficult. There are also some good rhythm challenges to promote good counting! The words are so lovely, and give students lots of places for good word painting. You’ll see in the official music video that this song is directed to relationships of all types, so this is a great pick for those looking to steer away from romantic themes.
If you like Better Place, you might also love Rachel Platten’s other girl-power hit, Fight Song. A bit higher and beltier, but great for young singers with strong stage presence!
Here’s Better Place (original):
Here’s Better Place (karaoke with lyrics):
Song 2: Rainbow, Kacey Musgraves
A really lovely pop ballad with a heartfelt message. Subject matter leans a bit on the sad side, but offers an uplifting final message of “it’ll all be alright”. The chorus is so lovely, and gets young singers using that mid/high mixed voice. I love Kacey Musgrave for young singers – she doesn’t overblow her sound on the top, and allows it to float beautifully and easily. When students inevitably listen to her original recording, I think she sets a great example in this song of how we’d want our young singers to approach things!
Here’s Rainbow (original):
Here’s Rainbow (karaoke with lyrics):
Song 3: You’ve Got A Friend, Carole King
Definitely the hardest song on the list musically, You’ve Got a Friend is a great stretch piece for a young student in need of a musical challenge. This song might be most appropriate for a student who is 12-13 years old (but I have had this work for both younger and older students!). Some interesting key changes and rhythmic patterns keep students on their toes, but all within totally appropriate subject matter and vocal style. There are also some great (but relatively short and approachable) riffs throughout, which many students love to challenge themselves with.
Here’s You’ve Got a Friend (original):
Here’s You’ve Got A Friend (karaoke with lyrics):
Song 4: Count On Me, Bruno Mars
Count on Me is a fantastic pop song for young singers – it makes my list for students under 10 as well. I’ve used this song for young boys and girls alike – it works perfectly for anyone! Totally appropriate words, and really accessible vocal melodies. The middle section with the high “oo’s” is a great challenge section for young voices to access higher notes with healthy technique. This is always at the top of my recommendation list for any young, beginner vocalists.
Here’s Count On Me (original):
Here’s Count on Me (karaoke with lyrics):
Song 5: One Call Away, Charlie Puth
Another great pop song that is equally suitable for young boys or girls, One Call Away is a great song choice for any young singer. The words are approachable and understandable to anyone of any age, and do not have to be interpreted as romantic in any way. There’s some great range to the song, so it’s great for developing more of your voice, with some great scale passages to practice accuracy and tuning. I’ve taught this song more times than I can count, and it’s a studio favourite for sure!
Here’s One Call Away (original):
Here’s One Call Away (karaoke with lyrics):
If you enjoyed these songs, you should definitely check out more from these artists! A big part of choosing repertoire as a young singer is finding artists who speak to you and your style, and raiding their discography for favourites! Other artists that my young students have enjoyed are Shawn Mendes, early Taylor Swift, and some Ed Sheeran. There are many great pop songs for young singers! Just be sure to read the words without music to really get a sense of whether or not it will work for your child.
Here’s another post I like about how to choose the right song for you:
Check out Jose’s blog post below: