Thinking about strutting your stuff and performing in your school’s talent show? This is a great opportunity not just to show off your vocal abilities, but also to learn and to express yourself. Not sure what to sing? Check out our ideas below for some good songs to sing at a talent show!
This song is great for showing off a strong middle range without going too low or high. It’s a popular enough hit that commercial karaoke tracks should be easy to find, and piano sheet music is available if you have a pianist friend or school accompanist. This song has a spunky, pulsing dance beat, along with a motivating message, making it perfect for young audiences. For further pop music brainstorming for mid-range female vocals, check out artists like Taylor Swift and Adele.
You might know it from the Counting Crows cover, but the song “Big Yellow Taxi” and its heartfelt environmental statement go back a long way! This song can work for any vocalist, and can be sung in a fairly narrow range, making it pretty easy to perform. And if you play guitar, this song is great for playing and singing at the same time! Reach back in time to some retro music by listening to Joni, along with other artists from the Woodstock era, and you’ll find plenty of ways to make a message heard in your talent show act.
Folk rock songs are generally pretty well-liked by audiences, are a good choice for male and female singers alike, and most are relatively easy to play. “Take Me Home, Country Roads” is another good one for playing guitar and singing at the same time. It’s versatile enough to perform with friends, or even add harmony with multiple singers. You might also like Cat Stevens or Simon & Garfunkel (check out “The Sound of Silence” or their rendition of “Scarborough Fair” for more ideas).
While pop-punk and hardcore punk are very different, Green Day revitalized punk flavors for a generation. You probably know “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” off of American Idiot; it’s one of their calmer songs, and ideal for any tenor vocalist. (Of course, it can also be transposed for other ranges, especially if you have friends playing backup instruments.) This is also a good example of a rock song that would translate well to an acoustic arrangement. (We’re looking at you, guitar players!) For another softer Green Day song, consider “Time of Your Life”. Other punk artists who have good songs to sing at a talent show include Bad Religion, Flogging Molly, and Social Distortion.
Are you looking to spice up your act with some movement and acting? Look no further than musical theater! “Make ‘em Laugh” is the song from an iconic scene in the Gene Kelly’s film Singin’ in the Rain, featuring some of the best-executed physical comedy ever to hit the screen. Plus, it’s perfect to incorporate your own unique style! Fans of modern theater will also know songs like “Defying Gravity” from WICKED and “Seasons of Love” from RENT – or, look up stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood, like Shirley Temple and Judy Garland. Fast talkers will perhaps like the Modern Major General’s song from Pirates of Penzance. Your choices in the realm of musical theater are practically endless!
The ‘80s and late ‘70s were full of music that is instantly recognizable, and Styx is one of the best-known artists of the era. Their song “Come Sail Away” is perhaps one of their most memorable, along with hits like “Renegade”. Dennis DeYoung’s lyric tenor range makes Styx’s music particularly good for female vocalists with a strong alto edge, and “Come Sail Away” can be performed to show off your vocal range, as it encourages great flexibility. Songs like this are especially good for singing with a group of friends! Other hits in this niche include Heart’s “Barracuda”, “Roam” by the B-52s, or “Carry On Wayward Son” by Kansas.
You know Joan Jett from the iconic “I Love Rock n’ Roll”, but she’s not known as the Queen of Rock for one hit! “Crimson and Clover” is a beautiful piece, and also check out “Bad Reputation”. For more great talent show songs that are perfect for husky vocals (and impressing everyone with your taste) look into anything by Aerosmith and AC/DC.
Speaking of how everyone loves rock and roll, this well-loved classic is sure to get audiences moving, clapping, and singing along! It’s an ideal song for involving a guitar and a drum set as backup, or you can probably find accompaniment tracks for this as well. If you play piano, rock and roll is a great genre in which to find songs that sound just as groovy as they do classy when translated to your instrument.
When you’re learning to sing, performance experiences like talent shows are a crucial part of your development, and choosing your repertoire wisely is crucial. And if you enjoy singing, consider taking voice lessons for the next step toward improving your craft! A voice teacher can help you select songs that are appropriate for your skill level, range, and style, as well as help you achieve your overall music goals.
Above all, be yourself, and enjoy what you do on stage – that’s what your audience will enjoy the most! Good luck on your journey to choosing the perfect talent show song.
Readers, what other good songs to sing did we miss? Leave a comment with your favorites below!
Photo by Jack Newton