Most schools actually discourage the use of patter songs for boys or girls (if only unofficially), because they:
1. usually don’t show vocal range
2. are notoriously difficult to coordinate with an accompanist (the same reason many schools discourage or ban use of operetta rep such as “Poor Wand’ring One”)
3. tend to be gimmicky and not to show a wide acting range (although there are exceptions, such as “Not Getting Married” from Company)
Lulu’sMomma, could you tell us which are the schools that REQUEST patter – cause I need to be prepared when a student comes and tells me he needs such a song for college auditions – lol!
If this list is longer than I previously knew, I've gotta start paying more attention to patter songs for guys - otherwise all of my male students will be stuck doing the Major General's song from PIRATES!
Many great vocal technique teachers have few or incorrect ideas about the needs for college audition song rep. A really complete “book” (a technical note but one that carries through to professional MT: “portfolio” is used to refer to the collected work samples of tech and design people, whereas MT singers refer to their "books") for college auditions contains:
1. & 2. a contrasting pair of songs – the ideal pair contrasts in all 4 of the following areas:
- era of composition (many schools require at least one pre-1960 or pre-1965 song)
- vocal range and style presented (this is where belt/mix and legit pairings come into play for women)
- musical style (ballad vs. uptempo – and further, jazzy, traditional, rock, pop, etc.)
- acting range shown (comedic versus dramatic, etc.)
3. a standard – whatever type of standard best fits an individual performer’s voice – especially if you don’t have a standard in your “go-to pair” - could be a ballad or an up, and does not necessarily have to be from the “Golden Age” of MT (1940-1960)!!! Many standards were written pre-1940, such those by Berlin, Kern, Gershwin, Porter, Johnny Mercer, Arlen, etc. (but many of those composers ALSO were writing from before 1940 until past 1960!! – so check the date of the specific song if you are looking for your pre-1960 song)
4. A pop-contemporary MT song (esp. if your go-to pair doesn’t contain one of these) – here’s where you can throw in overdone songs such as those from Last Five Years, Songs for A New World, Wild Party, maybe even Millie – because these are in your book to be chosen by the auditors, not for you to choose to present - keep reading for an explanation
5. Anything else you do uniquely well – which is of course very specific to the performer!!! - that doesn’t fit any of the above categories
6. Anything that is in your book to swap into your go-to pair on a bad vocal day (when you’re sick, etc.) or to act as a 3rd go-to piece (Baldwin-Wallace requires 3 16's)
6. POSSIBLY a classical piece/art song - required if you are auditioning for OCU and a few other programs, but your legit song should take care of what this shows about your voice and vocal technique for most schools
The reason to have more than your go-to pair, aside from having “sick audition day” alternatives, is that at some schools, the auditors may page through your book and see what else you have that they are interested in hearing you sing. This does NOT mean you bring everything you have ever sung – it means your carefully chose the 5-6 pieces you will have rehearsed the heck out of and are excited about showing off to a school! The request for additional song material doesn't happen often, but it definitely does happen. However, DON'T freak out and think "aaahhhhhhhhh - now I need MORE than 2 good songs?!?!?!"
It's the go-to pair that you should focus on finding - the rest is your "show off" stuff that doesn't fit into a go-to pair (in which you also strut your best stuff, of course!)
Professional audition books are set up somewhat differently than the above, since professionals need go-to 16-bar cuts for every conceivable style of music that could be requested: standard/legit, pop belt, traditional belt, true rock song, jazz song, novelty-comedy song – but don’t worry about that yet!!!
Happy searching! It's like an MT treasure hunt!
P.S. Keep in mind that "everyone" has the MT Anthologies, so use them as a good place to start, introducing you to shows you may not know. That doesn't mean not to do a song from them if you really "own" it - but don't let buying an anthology do your rep search work! ; )
P.P.S. Wanna know about more B-way shows than you ever knew existed??? Go to ibdb.com (Internet Broadway Database) - there are song lists there!!!! : )