The Chicago Public Library, especially Harold Washington Library’s 8th floor music collection, is an invaluable resource. You can photocopy the pages you need there. Hard-to-find sheet music can be sourced via Inter-library loan. Ask a librarian to help.
You can purchase sheet music in person at Coulson’s (312) 461-1989. 900 N Michigan Ave.
Classical songs in the public domain can be found at the International Music Score Library Project. http://imslp.org. You can find some free scores and lead sheets (melody line and chords) at musescore.com. Many songs can be easily transposed to a different key. Sheet music online for purchase is available from SheetMusicDirect.US, SheetMusicPlus.com or MusicNotes.com.
Try to find either the original score or the simplest arrangements possible. For cabaret and jazz standards, a lead sheet with the melody and chords is sufficient for pianists. Less ideal is sheet music in non-standard arrangements for specific artists.
Print first to a PDF. This way you can print a copy anytime and share the music with your accompanist.
If you are not sure of your key, print, but do not confirm that the printing was successful until you have tried the song. You can usually change the key, if necessary, at no additional cost.
The mobile app iRealPro has 1300 jazz standards and is inexpensive. The app provides a chart of chord changes only. However, if you and your pianist already know the tune, it is handy for instantly transposing and for having the chorus of the song all on one page.
Members of Chicago Cabaret Professionals share music via the website chicagocabaret.org. Membership in CCP is required. Join online for a modest $35 per year at chicagocabaret.org.
Also, via your membership in Chicago Cabaret Professionals, you can seek Arrangers and Transcribers. When working with the arranger, be sure to specify whether you want a lead sheet with melody line, lyrics, and chords or a complete piano/vocal score.
Each SongShop participant usually performs two songs at our quarterly SongShop Live concerts. The Salon Series are house concerts featuring four to six singers, each performing a 12-to-15 minute set of songs. SongShop Garden concerts became quite popular during the pandemic and continue each summer.
Singers are expected to attend at least six SongShop sessions in the months preceding the concert, and to invite at least ten people to attend the concert.
The more time we spend on stage, the better we get.
We strongly recommend joining Chicago Cabaret Professionals to network, find new opportunities to perform, open mics and other workshops.
For classical art song singers, Eugenia Cheng hosts a monthly Liederstube. Also in Chicago, Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago has as its mission the study and performance of art song and vocal chamber music repertoire by curating performances and providing educational opportunities.
In addition to feedback and coaching, Claudia and our music directors can make suggestions for repertoire and lead you to potential collaborators, including assistance with graphic design and promotion of your individual or small ensemble shows. We love to toot your horn!