Music selection is perhaps the most critical decision you make as a choir director. And making that decision can be completely overwhelming when you are looking for something you can successfully sing with 12 sopranos, 4 altos, and 2 basses. But music selection gives you the opportunity to create what Dr. Michael John Trotta calls a “culture of belonging,” where every voice has an important part. And there are resources out there who can help you find the perfect pieces to create that culture in your own choir.


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Highlight to Tweet: “Students know when you are trying to sell them crap.” -Michael John Trotta

Show Notes:

  • Creating a culture of belonging
    • Every voice is unique and important. Avoid assigning “hand me downs,” so that every member feel like they are contributing something significant.
  • Composition as a response to the choir.
    • Often commissions are in response to a specific choir’s particular needs. Figure out what your needs are, and what you need in the music to make it work.
  • Repertoire selection as a solution to engaging your choir
    • Sing great music; not hard music…great music.
  • Developmental appropriate repertoire 
  • Setting the stage for a lifetime of great music making 
  • What directors are looking for in repertoire
    • Many directors have the same struggle: finding music for the arriving voice/middle school range.
  • Music that sounds harder than it is, music that makes your choir sound great
    • Look for the music that is appropriately, not overly challenging. Many great pieces are not difficult, but the are beautiful.
  • BriLee Music / Carl Fischer Series, responding to the needs of teachers
    • BriLee is an excellent source for middle schools, Carl Fisher for high school repertoire
  • Contact Donald at Sheet Music Deals to set up a reading session for your district, and get some help finding exactly what you need for your choir.


Michael John Trotta is one of the most “exciting and prominent new composers of choral music,” a sought-after conductor, and dynamic clinician. He brings an “intimate knowledge of the human voice,” a “rare sensitivity to the capabilities of a choral ensemble,” and years of experience as an inspiring educator to thousands of singers each year. His award-winning commissions are frequently performed at Carnegie Hall, at national conventions (ACDA, NAfME, AGO, TMEA), and his recordings are broadcast worldwide. Dr. Trotta and his wife Rachel divide their time between New York City and Bay Head, NJ where he works as a full time composer, conductor, and clinician with choirs throughout the world. He recently released an emerging choir series with BriLee/Carl Fischer Music.

Resources/links Mentioned:

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