The Power of “Glee”



Don’t Stop Believin’, Jump, Somebody to Love, Sweet Caroline, Can’t Fight This Feeling — these songs have two things in common:

  1. They have all been performed on the hit television show Glee
  2. They are all featured in J.W. Pepper’s 2010-2011 Editors’ Choice choral series.

I took some time today to listen to some of the incredible arrangements that have emerged in the newest recordings and found myself pondering the significance of shows such as High School Musical and Glee from a music education standpoint.

I read that a poll by the National Association for Music Education this past February showed that 43 percent of choral directors surveyed saw an increase in interest amongst students to join their ensembles due to the popularity of Glee.  I have also read several stories about students who never would have thought to audition for show choir before becoming suddenly eager to join, citing Glee as their inspiration for doing so.  This made me wonder how many Pepper customers have experienced the “Glee” phenomenon and whether or not you feel it has helped not only to increase student interest, but also to garner support from school administrators and parents.  Have there been any shifts in attitude toward your choral programs?  Have you noticed any changes in confidence and self-esteem amongst your choir members?  Have you had to explain to your students that they won’t be able to pull off a stellar rendition from the moment you pass the sheet music out to them?  I would love to hear your stories and opinions on this subject.  Please feel free to submit them via the Comments form below.

Click here to see a partial list of titles available from Glee.

Mandy Kubik
Mandy Kubik
Singer/Songwriter; Keyboard, Piano, Flute Player; Certified Associate Recording Engineer/Producer; Music Advocate; Former Regional Manager, J.W. Pepper, Michigan
  1. I have noticed an increase in interest for my audition groups…women’s group and our mixed group(part show choir, part mixed choir)depending on what we are performing. We are a small town and don’t have as many singers as the big districts, but when I pulled the Glee version of “Don’t Stop Believin'”and we worked it up with electric guitar, drums, keyboard and singers and mics…it was a hit and the kids WANTED to have a polished performance. Did they sound like the singers in the show? No…but they had never sounded better than when we brought down the house with that particular song. They even had more stage presence than I could squeeze out of them in past years. We have watched a few episodes together, talked about their performances, vs. ours and it has been a terrific tool to get them to understand just what it takes to become a true performer. I will most definitely use episodes of performances for a teaching tool again this year. My choirs are already excited and eager to perform even better this year. I truly wanted to hate the show when it came out…but I have to admit that I’m hooked and my students are, too. Our whole program certainly won’t consist of all “Glee” material, rather…some of the “Glee” renditions will enhance our programs. I am also happy to report that my two audition groups are bigger this year and even more talented than last year!

  2. That’s wonderful news Deb! You make a very good point in that if directors use shows such as “Glee” as teaching and inspirational tools, students will gain a healthy respect for the time and effort it takes to pull off a show-stopping performance rather than assuming they can just pull one off right from the get-go. I think it’s fantastic that, despite not initially embracing the show, you opted to capitalize on its value, apply it to your own personal teaching style and use it as an opportunity to connect with your students. Brilliant! Thank you very much for sharing your experience with us and best wishes for continued success with your growing choir.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here