Some boys do not enter puberty until the ninth or tenth grade. There will even be a few, depending upon the part of the United States in which they live, who might even change as late as the eleventh or twelfth grade. Boys in the North, tend to change somewhat later than those in the South. There is a question as to whether climate or heredity is the primary factor. Scandinavian and Germanic people settled in the North whereas the South and Southwest contain a large number of Blacks, Latins, and Native Americans. Teachers should administer to the vocal needs of boys in the first and second phases of change. Ignoring them or placing them on a tenor or alto part that might prove difficult for them to sing is strongly discouraged.
Teachers have a responsibility for the students’ psychological well-being, and if the students are content in their role in the choir, teachers have fulfilled that responsibility. Taking particular care to find music in which those students can make a maximum contribution goes a long way toward ensuring the students’ contentment. If SATB music is used, teachers should be careful to select that which administers to the needs of the cambiatas. If there are places in the alto or tenor part that move beyond the A-to-A octave recommended for the cambiatas’ successful contribution, teachers should edit the part so that the students will be successful in singing it. Boys in the second phase of change (adolescent baritones) should receive careful consideration as well. Placing them on a tenor part that requires them to use the upper part of their range extensively will result in tension and misuse of the vocal instrument. Often the bass part lies too low for comfortable singing. Here again, if SATB music is used, teachers should take time to edit whatever part the adolescent baritones are singing to enable them to sing in the comfortable area of their voices, the D-to-D octave.
A practice that is becoming more and more in vogue is the use of Soprano I, Soprano II, Cambiata, Baritone (SSCB) music for groups containing changing voices in high school, particularly if there is an abundance of girls and few boys. Since probably there will be only a few cambiatas, it is quite acceptable to place high school altos on the cambiata part to maintain balance. This is not detrimental to the young female singers provided they are allowed to use their upper voices with other literature. The A-to-A octave is similar to the range of many alto parts in Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass (SATB) music. It is important to continue to refer to the part as cambiata for the psychological well-being of those boys who might be singing it. Altos are not nearly as concerned about being asked to support the cambiatas as the cambiatas are about being called altos. The remainder of the girls are to be divided into first and second sopranos, and all the boys in the second phase of change (adolescent baritones) and changed voices (high school tenors and basses) will sing the baritone part that, with a few exceptions, stays within the D-to-D octave. Using SSCB vocal classification in high school for groups with changing voices and a preponderance of girls results in four-part singing with a much more satisfactory balance than using music voiced SATB or Soprano, Alto, Bass (SAB) but most important, it administers to the needs of the changing voices in the group.