What are the best duets to sing for beginners? Check out these suggestions from Brooklyn, NY voice teacher Liz T...
From Sonny and Cher to the Carpenters, duets can be very fun — and challenging! Selecting the right duets to sing with a partner can make the song sound more colorful, and add an even stronger vocal sound. If you are interested in learning some duets, here are some male and female songs I recommend, and also tips for becoming a successful duo!
1. “I Got You Babe” by Sonny & Cher (1965)
This is an easy pop song that most people are familiar with. It’s fun and flirty, and showcases both male and female voice (and makes the audience feel good too!).
2. “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” from “Dirty Dancing” (1987)
This very romantic upbeat ’80s rock song makes you want to dance right from the beginning! It’s best for a male bass and a soprano or alto; each singer has his or her own verses and then you sing the chorus together.
3. “A Whole New World” from “Aladdin” (1992)
This beautiful Disney love ballad by Alan Menken can be sung in either gender, although it’s best if a tenor and a soprano sing this song. It has beautiful lyrics, and is great to perform at a coffeehouse, karaoke night, or school recital.
4. “Take Me or Leave Me” from “Rent” (1996)
This fiery love song between two women from Jonathan Larson’s musical “Rent” is a strong belt song. It shows lots of attitude and emotion, and is very fun to sing! It’s definitely a good one to work on those Broadway chops!
And as you’re practicing these duets to sing, keep the following tips in mind:
– Pick a song you both like. There are many duets out there, ranging from contemporary R&B love songs to country ballads, and showtunes to classical pieces. Pick a song that will showcase both your voices, whether singing male and female, female and female, or male and male. Also, if you feel it is appropriate, don’t be afraid to try a song that was meant for the opposite gender — sometimes these are the best duets!
-Practice your parts alone, then together. First work hard at learning your vocal part on your own, and then practice and perform with your partner. If both of you are trying to learn your parts at the same time, if you are singing in unison or in harmonies, it’s going to be more difficult. It is best if you are both feeling solid and comfortable on your own parts before putting them together. Also, explore different duet combinations — some voices blend more than others, and if the duet is not working for some reason, it could be because your voices are clashing. You and your partner should be working as a team.
– Add parts together and harmonies. Now that you have practiced both of your parts individually, it’s time to put them together! Do it slowly at first. Take each part section by section, and slow it down if you need to. While you should be listening to your duet partner, try not to let their part distract you. Duets can be sung in different ways, by two people singing different verses, and the same chorus, or completely different lyrics at the same time. Choose a duet that is right for you, and that you are passionate about. Once you have mastered your duet, I encourage you to add some interesting harmonies — your audience will love this!
I wish you all the best in working with your duet partner, and if you feel like you need more help, schedule a voice lesson with me through at TakeLessons!
The song ideas don’t stop here — check out our list 400+ songs to sing!
Liz T. teaches singing, acting, and music lessons in Brooklyn, NY, as well as online. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M in Vocal Performance and currently performs and teaches all styles of music, including musical theater, classical, jazz, rock, pop, R&B, and country. Learn more about Liz here!
Photo by morganknorr