Pop songs for choirs | Teaching pop music

Most contemporary choirs have a wide range of pop songs in their core repertoire but what makes them so, well, popular?

What are the defining features of the pop genre and what are the challenges of teaching pop music? How does a song, generally written for a 4 or 5 piece band work in a choral setting? Choir Player’s Musical Director, Jane Reeves explains:

Pop songs for choirs

Oh how we love pop music in contemporary choirs – it’s a natural choice for song selections all over the world!

It is no surprise then that pop music is the most popular genre in our Choir Player selection.


Pop music: key features

  • It feels good. Admit it! Most people can’t listen to a pop song without smiling.
  • The songs are catchy. Tell me you’ve never gone to bed with an ear worm (delightful Swedish word used to describe the experience of having part of a song stuck on repeat in ones head) after hearing a clever pop song more than once.
  • Simple chords (usually).
  • Lyrically unchallenging with repetitive sections.

Pop songs in a choral setting

We enjoy teaching and performing pop arrangements with good reason and the benefits of including a few songs in your concerts are many.

Why teaching pop songs feels so good

  • Choir members will always feel good after spending an hour or two rehearsing fun, positive songs.
  • Energy levels can be kept high due to the nature of the songs. Major chords can make us feel positive and happy.
  • Lyrics and harmonies are generally simple and easier to learn than other genres. This is also due to the repetitive nature of the melodies.
  • Subjects and storylines contained in the songs are often relatable!

Challenges teaching pop songs

  • Pronunciation….. pop songs do not deliver lyrics in the way that some choirs are used to, it’s almost a whole new discipline!
    If most choir members are used to performing a more traditional repertoire, they may find pop rhythms alien and require a little more encouragement.
  • Pop Songs can require a bright forward placed sound which can be tiring if not performed correctly.

Finding backing tracks and choral arrangements of pop songs

Check out Choir Player’s huge repertoire of pop songs. With arrangements designed for community choirs, you’ll find great SATB harmonies to use alongside the perfect app for choir practise and performance.

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