Top karaoke songs

Top Karaoke Songs for Girls, Guys, Groups & More

Top karaoke songs

Karaoke night! Some people make this a weekly ritual. Some do it for fun, and some take it very seriously… and even compete in karaoke contests!

No matter how you view karaoke singing, it’s a wonderful way to practice performing — especially if you’re a beginner singer. This guide is here to help you make the most of the night, including tips to prepare beforehand, how to choose the best song to sing for karaoke, and how to shine on stage!

How Karaoke Can Make You a Better Singer

Going to karaoke is a great idea if you’re pursuing music. Think of it this way: you’re not being judged as you would be at an audition or vocal contest, so it’s certainly less stress. You can try out new material here before you take it to the “big time”!

It also goes without saying that performing, in general, becomes easier the more you do it.  Karaoke night is a great way to get over stage fright if you attend regularly — you’ll always have an audience, and they are usually very supportive and encouraging (especially if you go with your friends and family!).

How to Pick the Best Karaoke Song For You

Before you hit the stage, I’d recommend having a few songs in mind. Thinking ahead can be especially helpful for beginner karaoke singers, since it will take the stress away from choosing the song the night of. But there’s a lot more to it than just picking your favorite song and rolling with it…

Let’s say you just love the Beatles. That doesn’t mean you can SING it in the original key without straining! John and Paul had very high singing voices, and most males are baritones. So, ask yourself this: “When I sing along to my favorite songs, who am I most comfortable singing with?”

Maybe it’s Taylor Swift, a middle voice. Or perhaps a higher one, like Dolly Parton. Use this as your guide for picking your song.

Oh, and since karaoke is about fun, don’t forget to pick a song that you truly enjoy singing! It’s usually a better idea to choose something more up-tempo as it’s less likely for nerves to show. If you’re nervous and singing a ballad, things can get shaky.

5 Tips for Singing Karaoke

Here are some other things to keep in mind about how to have a successful karaoke night:

  • Look confident! Start with a smile and with your feet planted shoulder width apart. Make no apologies for being on that stage!
  • Pick a song you really know so you’re not always having to look at the lyrics on the screen. Don’t forget you have an audience that wants you to sing to them!
  • Use good vocal technique. Breathe low, and keep your sound placed in your mask rather than shouting into the microphone.
  • Practice at home! YouTube has many excellent channels, such as KaraFun, where you can pull up the song for free.
  • Remember it’s about fun. Don’t take yourself too seriously. If you pick a song you love, it will show in your performance. That’s when you can expect the compliments to pour in!

Ok, ready to find out the top karaoke songs? Here are our top picks, broken down by genre, category, and more! You can also jump to specific song recommendations using these links:

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Best Female Karaoke Songs

Ladies, you’ve got so many great choices when it comes to karaoke songs! From powerhouse pop to girl-power classics, these songs are really fun to sing! Here are our picks for the best female karaoke songs.

  1. Shake It Off – Taylor Swift
  2. Stronger – Kelly Clarkson
  3. I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor
  4. It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls
  5. Single Ladies – Beyoncé
  6. Like a Virgin – Madonna
  7. Wrecking Ball – Miley Cyrus
  8. Emotions – Mariah Carey
  9. Rehab – Amy Winehouse
  10. Black Velvet – Alannah Myles
  11. Son of a Preacher Man – Dusty Springfield
  12. Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover – Sophie B. Hawkins

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Best Karaoke Songs for Men

Guys, start warming up your voices for these top picks in all vocal genres: rock, pop, punk, and even lounge-style. Here are our picks for the best karaoke songs for men.

  1. Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond
  2. Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey
  3. Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
  4. Wonderwall – Oasis
  5. My Way – Frank Sinatra
  6. I Wanna Be Sedated – the Ramones
  7. Losing My Religion – R.E.M.
  8. Never Gonna Give You Up – Rick Astley
  9. 867-5309/Jenny – Tommy Tutone
  10. Mack the Knife – Bobby Darin
  11. If I Was Your Girlfriend – Prince
  12. When I Was Your Man – Bruno Mars

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Top Easy Karaoke Songs

Need something a bit easier to sing? If your vocal skills aren’t quite where you want them to be yet, don’t worry — there are plenty of easy karaoke songs that you can still rock out to.

  1. 500 Miles – The Proclaimers
  2. These Boots Are Made for Walking – Nancy Sinatra
  3. Crazy – Patsy Cline
  4. Happy – Pharrell Williams
  5. Copacabana – Barry Manilow
  6. That’s the Way (I Like It) – KC and the Sunshine Band
  7. Celebration – Kool and the Gang
  8. Funkytown – Lipps, Inc
  9. Don’t Worry, Be Happy – Bobby McFerrin
  10. Eye of the Tiger – Survivor

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Duet Karaoke Songs

Grab a friend for twice the fun! Duet karaoke songs let both singers shine — check out the list below for our top picks.

  1. The Boy is Mine – Brandy and Monica
  2. Cruisin’ – Huey Lewis and Gwyneth Paltrow
  3. Islands in the Stream – Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton
  4. Need You Now – Lady Antebellum
  5. All I Have – Jennifer Lopez and LL Cool J
  6. Up Where We Belong – Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes
  7. Empire State of Mind – Jay-Z and Alicia Keys
  8. Ebony and Ivory – Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder
  9. Dream a Little Dream of Me – Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong
  10. Hunger Strike – Eddie Vedder and Chris Cornell

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Best Group Karaoke Songs

For those of you that hit the bar with a bunch of friends, these group karaoke songs will let you all join in on the fun at the same time!

  1. We Are Family – Sister Sledge
  2. California Dreamin’ – The Mamas and the Papas
  3. ABC – Jackson 5
  4. Wannabe – Spice Girls
  5. Push It – Salt ‘n Pepa
  6. No Scrubs – TLC
  7. Lean On Me – Club Nouveau
  8. Rapper’s Delight – Sugar Hill Gang
  9. YMCA – Village People
  10. Supersonic – JJ Fad

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Funny Karaoke Songs

Want to just have fun, without worrying about your vocal skills at all? Pick one of the funny karaoke songs below, add in a splash of confidence and stage presence, and the crowd will love you.

  1. Rock Lobster – B-52s
  2. Just a Friend – Biz Markie
  3. Tubthumping – Chumbawamba
  4. MMMBop – Hanson
  5. Mickey – Toni Basil
  6. Party All the Time – Eddie Murphy
  7. The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades – Timbuk 3
  8. Whip It – Devo
  9. If You Like Piña Coladas – Jimmy Buffet
  10. Rico Suave – Gerardo

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’90s Karaoke Songs

’90s kids, listen up! Whether you grew up with rock or pop princesses, these crowd-pleasers will get everyone singing along with you.

  1. Closing Time – Semisonic
  2. Time of Your Life – Green Day
  3. You Oughta Know – Alanis Morissette
  4. Torn – Natalie Imbruglia
  5. I’ll Stand By You – The Pretenders
  6. Genie in a Bottle – Christina Aguilera
  7. Gettin’ Jiggy Wit’ It – Will Smith
  8. Who Am I? (What’s My Name) – Snoop Dogg
  9. Santeria – Sublime
  10. Don’t Speak – No Doubt

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’80s Karaoke Songs

More a fan of ’80s music? Here are our favorite jams to sign up for.

  1. Billie Jean – Michael Jackson
  2. I Want to Know What Love Is – Foreigner
  3. I Think We’re Alone Now – Tiffany
  4. Wake Me Up Before You Go Go – Wham!
  5. Don’t You Want Me – Human League
  6. Tainted Love – Soft Cell
  7. I Can’t Wait – Nu Shooz
  8. All Night Long – Lionel Richie
  9. Everybody Wants to Rule the World – Tears for Fears
  10. Part-Time Lover – Stevie Wonder

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’60s and ’70s Karaoke Songs

Break out the bellbottoms and get your best John Travolta impression ready for these disco tunes.

  1. Dancing Queen – ABBA
  2. Stayin’ Alive – The Bee Gees
  3. I’m Every Woman – Chaka Khan
  4. Rapture – Blondie
  5. Do Ya Think I’m Sexy – Rod Stewart
  6. Play That Funky Music – Wild Cherry
  7. Brick House – Commodores
  8. Big Yellow Taxi – Joni Mitchell
  9. You’re So Vain – Carly Simon
  10. Let’s Get it On – Marvin Gaye

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Best Karaoke Love Songs

Can you feel the love tonight? If you want to impress your sweetie in the crowd, pick one of these top karaoke songs about love.

  1. Time After Time – Cyndi Lauper
  2. Wicked Game – Chris Isaak
  3. Try a Little Tenderness – Otis Redding
  4. Come to My Window – Melissa Etheridge
  5. The Sweetest Thing – U2
  6. I Melt With You – Modern English
  7. That’s the Way Love Goes – Janet Jackson
  8. Can’t Help Falling in Love – Elvis Presley
  9. She Loves You – the Beatles
  10. Nothing Compares 2 U – Sinead O’Connor

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Best Rock Karaoke Songs

Love singing rock music? Here are some of the best rock karaoke songs to consider.

  1. Pour Some Sugar On Me – Def Leppard
  2. Creep – Radiohead
  3. Born in the USA – Bruce Springsteen
  4. Under the Bridge – Red Hot Chili Peppers
  5. We’re Not Gonna Take It – Twisted Sister
  6. Livin’ On a Prayer – Bon Jovi
  7. Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd
  8. Piece of My Heart – Janis Joplin
  9. Zombie – The Cranberries
  10. Enter Sandman – Metallica

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Best Pop Karaoke Songs

Pop songs are just plain fun to sing! Here are some of our favorites.

  1. Royals – Lorde
  2. Baby One More Time – Britney Spears
  3. Push – Matchbox Twenty
  4. Treasure – Bruno Mars
  5. Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen
  6. Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley
  7. Iris – Goo Goo Dolls
  8. The Middle – Jimmy Eat World
  9. Timber – Ke$ha and Pitbull
  10. All About That Bass – Meghan Trainor

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Best R&B Karaoke Songs

Feeling that rhythm and blues? Put your heart and soul into these top R&B karaoke songs.

  1. This is How We Do It – Montell Jordan
  2. Let’s Stay Together – Al Green
  3. Poison – Bel Biv Devoe
  4. End of the Road – Boyz II Men
  5. No Diggity – Blackstreet
  6. Doo Wop (That Thing) – Lauryn Hill
  7. Un-break My Heart – Toni Braxton
  8. Not Gon’ Cry – Mary J. Blige
  9. He’s So Fine – The Chiffons
  10. Chain of Fools – Aretha Franklin

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Best Country Karaoke Songs

More of the honky-tonk type? Whether you prefer classic country songs or modern-day hits, here are the best country karaoke songs.

  1. Man! I Feel Like a Woman! – Shania Twain
  2. Something to Talk About – Bonnie Raitt
  3. Ring of Fire – Johnny Cash
  4. Take Me Home, Country Roads – John Denver
  5. Stand By Your Man – Tammy Wynette
  6. Friends In Low Places – Garth Brooks
  7. Your Cheatin’ Heart – Hank Williams
  8. Before He Cheats – Carrie Underwood
  9. Celebrity – Brad Paisley
  10. All My Ex’s Live in Texas – George Strait

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Worst Karaoke Songs

And whatever you do… avoid these WORST karaoke songs!

  1. Achy Breaky Heart – Billy Ray Cyrus
  2. I’ve Got You Babe – Sonny and Cher
  3. Picture – Sheryl Crow and Kid Rock
  4. Baby Got Back – Sir Mix-A-Lot
  5. Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice
  6. Barbie Girl – Aqua
  7. My Heart Will Go On – Celine Dion
  8. Margaritaville – Jimmy Buffet
  9. Boyfriend – Justin Bieber
  10. Friday – Rebecca Black

Readers, what top karaoke songs did we leave out? Add a comment with your favorites!

mollyrPost Author: Molly R.
Molly R. teaches online and in-person singing lessons in Hayward, CA. Her specialties include teaching beginner vocalists, shy singers, children, teens, lapsed singers, and older beginners. She joined TakeLessons in November 2013. Learn more about Molly here!

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How to Enter (and Win) Singing Contests (3)

How to Enter (& Win) Singing Contests & Competitions

How to Enter (and Win) Singing Contests

Are you ready to step out of the practice room and take your talent to the stage? In this article, voice teacher Milton J. shares his tips for preparing for a competition or audition, and then continue reading for our list of contests to enter!


For quite a few years, we’ve tuned in our televisions, phones, and tablets to our favorite singing contests and competitions every week. We’ve been picking our favorite singers, voting for them (sometimes more than once), and hoping they win the coveted record deal at the end of the season.

We’ve watched as the juggernaut American Idol, a derivative of Pop Idol from Europe, gave way to other singing competition shows like The Voice, The X-Factor, and The Sing-Off.

Other worthy and not-so-worthy opponents, such as ABC’s Rising Star, have tried to get into the singing competition game. While American Idol may be ending, there are many singing competitions locally, regionally, state-wide, and nationally that vocalists can enter into, in addition to auditioning for the current king of reality singing competitions, The Voice.

The following tips will help out vocalists who audition live, as well as those who audition through a prepared recording. Let’s first take a look at tips for those who are preparing to audition live in front of a panel of judges.

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Tips for Live Singing Auditions

More often than not, singers will have to audition in front of one or more judges in order to be considered as contestants. It may sound nerve-wracking to sing in front of others, but you’ll be glad you seized the opportunity.

Live auditions give you the benefit of having instantaneous feedback from a panel of judges who, as a standard, should be well-versed in the art of vocal performance. Let’s go through some tips to help you conquer any live audition you wish to attend.

1. Be Well-Prepared

Judges can and will recognize an auditionee who has put enough time and effort into perfecting their performance. Practice is not something that should be overlooked. Develop a routine and structure your singing practice in a manageable way.

Your degree of preparedness will only be determined by how comfortable you are with your greatest weakness. Turning that weakness into a driving force in your performance will help you get to the level of comfort you need for a live audition.

For example, if your weakness involves your voice cracking at a high note, embrace it and try to make the voice crack fit the feel of the song. Australian singer Sia has a natural voice crack that has made its way into many of her songs. She embraced what many would call a weakness and turned it into something stylistic and beautiful.

2. Choose a Song That’s Suitable for Your Voice

One issue that plagues even wonderful singers is performing a song that’s not suitable for their voice. If your voice is more Andrea Bocelli (opera) than Justin Bieber (pop), that’s ok! Being true to your own voice, which inherently has unique qualities, is what will shine instead of doing a song that’s popular but doesn’t showcase your voice in the best light.

Find out which type of music suits your voice by listening to different singing styles and genres. Once you figure that out, you can start working on perfecting your style.

3. The Judges Are Your Audience

One mistake some vocalists make in their auditions is forcefully singing to judges, which turns to ineffectively singing through the judges — this is a common singing audition mistake. Treat the judges as your audience members as opposed to your adjudicators. Take them on your journey and help them feel the emotion you’re conveying through the lyrics of your song. The more you sing FOR them and less TO them, the more effective your performance will be.

4. Always Warm-Up Your Voice

One of the things vocalists time and time again fail to realize in their rehearsals and auditions is to properly warm-up their voices. Much like how an athlete that needs to fully stretch out their body before entering a game, a singer must stretch the muscles in their vocal cavity to be as musically effective as possible.

Be sure to take ample time to go through all of the warm-ups and vocal exercises you have learned from your vocal coach. This is very important to ensure that you can hit all the notes you need to and acquire consistency throughout the song.

There’s more to warming up your singing voice than you may think. For example, reciting tongue twisters are a great way to practice syllable annunciation. Be sure to try more outside-of-the-box vocal warm-ups to increase your vocal effectiveness.

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Tips for Pre-Recorded Auditions

In many cases, vocal competitions will require you to send in an audition video in lieu of a live performance. This may be a result of limited space in the audition venue, limited time with the judges, or due to the sheer amount of auditionees that can’t possibly be given the chance to perform live.

Make no mistake, pre-recorded auditions are not necessarily easier than live ones. Sure, you’re able to record yourself as many times as you need, but in turn, the judges are able to play your tape over and over again. If you make a mistake, a simple rewind will allow the judges to hear it again.

With that said, pre-recorded auditions can be powerful when done right. Let me show you some tips on how to make an impact on the judges via a video performance.

1. Create a Performance

One interesting thing about the major singing competitions, such as The Voice, is that their video submission guidelines are straightforward, and yet they leave room for creative freedom. With that freedom afforded to you, you should create a performance video.

For this, have your camera set up with a view of a stage, makeshift stage, or perhaps even just curtains. Whether you’re able to record in a large auditorium or a small bedroom, make the best of the environment to boost your performance.

A performance is only supplemented by how well a singer can act. You need to make sure that your performance resonates with the audience behind the camera lens, which is a great reason why singers should learn how to act.

2. Eye Contact and Connection

While performing in front of the camera, understand that your audience lies behind the camera lens. You must therefore create an artificial connection toward the camera by engaging your eyes, facial expressions, and body language. Maintaining eye contact is an important facet of how to sing with confidence.

The best way to find this connection is through a couple methods: record and review your interactions with the camera or ask someone to stand behind the camera so you may sing to them. Performing in front of someone else is good practice for suppressing your nerves and building your confidence.

These tricks can help you see what’s working in your performance and what’s not.

3. Stay Loose!

With a lens in front of us, many vocalists tend to lock up and become methodical, robotic, or in layman’s terms, fake. We may lose the natural tenor of our speaking voice when introducing ourselves, or we may rush to get our words out and muddle our speech in order to meet the time requirements.

That nervous energy is then transferred into our performance, which we know isn’t the best performance we’re capable of giving. Be sure to keep yourself loose before the camera turns on. You’ll be more relaxed if you practice your introduction and conclusion, and use the natural cadences in your speaking voice to keep you grounded as you move into your vocal performance.

If you follow these tips, you’ll be sure to rock your vocal audition!

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2016 Online Singing Contests

Ready to enter? Here are some competitions to look into, most of which are online singing contests that you can enter no matter where you live. Some of them do require travel if you advance to the next round, so be sure to check out the details on the contest’s website.

Young Arts

  • Cash awards of up to $10,000
  • Must be a U.S. resident, age 15-18, or in grade 10-12
  • Submit an online application through National Young Arts website
  • Apply here

Song Door

  • Must be 16+ to enter
  • Submit your song online, along with your $10 entry fee
  • Enter here

New Song Contest

  • Open to anyone 18+
  • Submit your song online, along with your $30 application fee
  • Enter here

Mid-Atlantic Song Contest

  • No criteria currently given, check back later

Fox’s Next Empire Artist

  • Must be a U.S. resident, 18+
  • Submit a video performance of your solo or group act
  • Enter here

Song of the Year

  • Must be a U.S. resident, 18+
  • Submit your song online and pay the entry fee (varies)
  • Enter here

Unsigned Only

  • Must be amateurs 18+, younger entrants may enter with parental permission
  • Submit your song and lyrics online or through the mail, along with $30 per entry
  • Enter here

Paramount Song Contest

  • Please contact contest officials for more information
  • Enter here

American Traditions Competition

  • Must be 21+ to enter
  • Submit three songs from the categories listed on the contestant information page, and pay the entry fee of $55
  • Apply here

Hal Leonard Vocal Competition

  • All ages welcome
  • Submit a video recording
  • Enter here

Classical Singer Competition

  • Open to anyone 14+
  • Two song submission by video recording online, by mail, or audition in person, along with $85 entry fee
  • Register here

The American Prize

  • Open to U.S. residents 18+
  • Send in 3-5 recordings of arias to the email below, along with $40 entry fee and form
  • Enter here

Schmidt Competition

  • Open to high school sophomore, juniors, and seniors
  • Complete your application and pay the $45 entry fee, then perform three musical compositions live from one of the locations listed
  • Apply here

Texas Troubador

  • Anyone is welcome to enter, but finalists will be asked to travel to Clifton, TX
  • Submit one to three original songs, along with application and entry fee
  • Apply here

Singist Online Singing Contest

  • Submit a video (see guidelines on their page) and users vote on the winners
  • Contest re-starts each month

SingSnap Online Karaoke Competitions

  • Join the SingSnap network to upload videos, meet other singers, and share your talents

American Protege

  • Anyone five or older can enter (varies by category)
  • Send a video recording, $200 application fee, and application form
  • Enter here

American Guild of Music regional contests

  • Open to students with 3 months to 12 years of music study, up to age 21
  • Your teacher must be an American Guild of Music member to participate
  • Regional contests are held throughout the year; see website for details and upcoming dates

The Voice Auditions

Singing Contests for Kids

If your son or daughter has an interest in the spotlight, a few of the singing contests listed above are open to youngsters. However, it’s a good idea to start with voice lessons to help build their confidence and refine their voices before entering. And of course, make sure to show your support along the way, no matter how they place!

Singing Contests for Teens

Singing competitions can be a great resume-booster and wonderful experience if you’re thinking of pursuing a music degree or a career in music. Getting as much performance experience as you can is key! Check out the age restrictions on the singing contests listed above, or check with your teacher for local competition recommendations.

Additional Resources for Singing Contests

Readers, do you know of other singing contests for teens, singing contests for kids, or singing contests for all ages? Leave a comment and let us know the details!

MiltonJPost Author: Milton J.
Milton J. teaches guitar, piano, singing, music recording, music theory, opera voice, songwriting, speaking voice, and acting lessons in Corona, CA. He specializes in classical, R&B, soul, pop, rock, jazz, and opera styles. Learn more about Milton here!

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how to overcome stage fright

The Ultimate Guide to Overcoming Stage Fright

The Ultimate Guide to Overcoming Stage Fright

Stage performance is a challenging art form. Whether you’re acting out a role in a musical theatre setting, giving a speech in front of a crowd, or even playing a solo at an open mic night, the experience can be nerve-wracking even for seasoned performers.

It can be even more anxiety-inducing if you’re a perfectionist, as that can breed a fear of failure… and from there, performance anxiety can feel even stronger.

Performance anxiety (commonly referred to as stage fright) can devastate a performer’s career and enjoyment of their craft, but it doesn’t have to — performance anxiety is a normal human reaction and a completely curable condition if given the right resources, patience, and support system. This article is a guide to learning how to overcome stage fright, for anyone who may experience it — musicians, actors, dancers, speakers, educators, and students. If you wish to understand and improve anxiety issues that are holding you back from giving your best performances, read on!

What is Stage Fright?

Let’s start with anxiety, which is defined as a feeling or worry, nervousness, or unease about an upcoming event. Most people have experienced some level of anxiety before, during, or after a performance, speech, sports game, or test. Anxiety differs from fear in that fear addresses a present threat, while anxiety is typically felt in relation to something in the future. Anxiety is a normal, healthy human experience and, in small doses, is beneficial in making decisions and in achieving peak success.

Performance anxiety (stage fright) in particular is nervousness or unease about a specific future event in which you will be required to execute a task, such as a song, a scene, speech, or test — and usually when you’ll be in front of an audience. Symptoms may be present during the task, for weeks or months leading up to it, and sometimes after the event is over.

So, how do you get over stage fright? Even most experienced performers feel anxiety, so it’s more a process of learning how to deal with stage fright. Here are the steps I recommend.

dealing with stage fright - step 1

Knowing if you are truly experiencing anxiety is critically important, as it’s the first step toward understanding and overcoming it. If you have experienced a few or many of the following symptoms before or during a performance situation, you are experiencing stage fright:

  • Excessive sweating (typically in the palms, feet, armpits or face, but could be anywhere)
  • Increased heart rate
  • Chills, hot flashes, or sudden changes in body temperature
  • Shallow breathing, tightness in the chest, or hyperventilation
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Racing thoughts, obsessive fear of failure during the task
  • Inability to concentrate or process logical information
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Frequent urge to use the bathroom
  • Inability to make small talk or hold a basic conversation
  • Shakiness, especially in the hands
  • Sensitivity lights, sounds, or textures in the environment

As you can see, this list of sensations is not only unpleasant, but makes performing at your best nearly impossible. Fear of failure becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Journal Activity 2 (3)

  • Look at the list of anxiety symptoms, and make a mental checkmark next to the ones that you have felt during performance situations.
  • Note when it happened, how often, and any other details you remember. Are your symptoms limited to a specific few, or all of them? Are there symptoms you’d like to solve first as a priority, before others?

Now go back next to each symptom that you’ve checked, and rate it on scale of 1-10 as to how severe it felt (1 being hardly felt it, 10 being you felt it so much you couldn’t concentrate on anything else).

If you are seeing numbers in the 1-4 range, it’s likely that you are experiencing normal, healthy jitters that can actually add to your performance by making you more focused. If you are seeing numbers in the 5-10 range, you are experiencing moderate to severe stage fright and should read on to discover strategies for improvement.

dealing with stage fright - step 2

Before you can properly map a route to overcome stage fright, it’s important to know where you’ve been — and what has caused stage fright in the past. Let’s look at some of the reasons why you are experiencing stage fright, how they might contribute to your present challenges, and how you can utilize them most effectively.

Start by asking yourself some questions about your performing career, starting from the very, very beginning, which might include childhood memories or more recent situations depending on your age.

Journal Activity 2 (3)

  1. Recall the first time you performed for an audience, formally. Who was there? What thoughts and feelings do you remember? Were you happy with the outcome of the performance? Was it a positive or negative experience, was it stressful or relaxed?
  2. Recall the first time you performed and experienced anxiety (if different from above). What were the circumstances? Who was there? Did you practice or prepare, and how much? If different from #1, what do you think sparked anxiety if there were previous performances that didn’t?
  3. Recall the next few times that you performed, after #2 above. Ask yourself the same questions and look for patterns.
  4. Recall the 2-3 most recent times you performed. How recent was it? Have you purposely avoided performing in recent circumstances due to fear? Were you with a large group, small ensemble or solo? Were there any post-performance experiences worth noting?
  5. From the above questions, look for patterns. Are there any pivotal events that dramatically changed the course of your performance history? Are there any key people, venues, or pieces that contributed to where you’re at today?

dealing with stage fright - step 3

The next step is re-contextualizing key anxiety triggers so that they don’t continue causing problems. Most people can identify one or two key incidents that left a large impact on their self-esteem.

Maybe it was a teacher giving an aggressive critique, a family member telling you not to quit your day job, or a performance in which you froze on stage and ran off crying.

At the time you may not have realized the impact of this key event, but in hindsight you can see that it has undermined your confidence and affected your ability to perform ever since.

Journal Activity 2 (3)

The mind is powerful and can distort memories, making them seem bigger and nastier than they really were in real life. As far as exercises that can help you deal with stage fright, this is a great one to try. Pick one of your key incidents that is particularly painful or memorable and jot a few notes about it to the facts:

What venue were you performing in?
What piece were you performing or practicing?
Who was watching?
What feedback were you given, either verbal or non-verbal?
How did you react? Did you shout, cry, freeze up, or laugh it off?
If you responded verbally, what did you say?
What did you do after the event?

Re-Contextualizing the Event

Now let’s bring some imagination to it: sometimes taking the gravity out of a memory and bringing it into a lighter, if not humorous, context can be extremely healing. By re-contextualizing this event, you are not dismissing it or minimizing its impact, but re-framing it in a more positive, lighthearted perspective. By giving your brain a new way to interpret it, you will begin to move past it and no longer allow it to block your present performance opportunities. Jot a few notes in response to the following:

If you could go back and re-live this event, what would you do differently?
Is there anything positive that has come out of the negative memory?

dealing with stage fright - step 4

We’ve spent the preceding sections of this guide processing your past. Now it’s time to move into the present and start thinking about what you can do now, and in the near future, to overcome stage fright.

There is no magic formula, unfortunately; you must expose yourself – you must perform, perform, perform, and this is known as exposure therapy. Exposure therapy is a fancy name for the common-sense approach known as “facing your fears,” a technique commonly used by psychiatric doctors to treat phobias of all kinds. However, there is an art to exposing yourself to your fears, and it should be done in careful, small, planned doses that gradually lead up to a major milestone.

Create an Exposure Ladder

Exposure ladders are a technique used widely by the medical psychiatric community to treat generalized anxiety, panic disorders, and phobias of all types.

An exposure ladder is a list of activities that lead you gradually to a big goal (such as performing on your city’s biggest stage, for example), with activities ranked from least to most anxiety-provoking. An individual will work up the steps of the ladder, moving on to the next step only after mastering exposure to the current step with little or no anxiety.

You’ll need to create your own customized exposure ladder, starting with #1, which is your first, tiny little step toward performing — something that you could handle right now, today, with little or no anxiety symptoms. Then you’ll move on to #2, and so on, gradually making steps more anxiety provoking as you go, until you’ve reached a final step which is your final performing goal. You can make your final step as big or small as you want, just be honest with your true performing goals.

One precaution: be careful not to create too big of a jump between steps on the exposure ladder. You can repeat a step as many times as needed, in order to master that level with little to no anxiety. Depending on how often you are working on the steps, it might take months or years until you feel you’ve mastered a step, and that’s just fine. Study the example below to help you brainstorm ideas for your own ladder.

Example Exposure Ladder

1. Imagine yourself performing.
2. Perform alone.
3. Record yourself performing a scene or song and watch it without critique.
4. Perform for a supportive partner or friend.
5. Perform a duet or ensemble in front of family or friends at an informal gathering.
6. Perform solo in front of family or friends at an informal gathering.
7. Perform a duet or ensemble at a venue that is higher caliber, like a talent show for your class at school, a neighborhood barbeque, or karaoke at a bar.
8. Perform solo within the same circumstances in #7.
9. Perform with a semi-professional ensemble, such as an audition-only community chorus or community theatre.
10. Arrange an opportunity to perform solo for your peers or an audience, within the group you’ve identified in #9.
11. Enter a competition.
12. Continue finding opportunities similar to #11 with gradually higher caliber venues (or even paying gigs!).

dealing with stage fright - step 5

Once you start working the steps on your exposure ladder, there are going to be successes, and also setbacks. It’s important to arm yourself with relaxation techniques so that when setbacks occur, you have a strategy in place to deal with them in a healthy way. Try these:


Find a quiet space, sit or lay in a position that is comfortable enough to sustain for 10 minutes minimum, close your eyes, and stop thinking. It’s as simple as that; meditation is simply a state of thoughtlessness. Your mind will wander, and when it does, just bring it back to a blank space. If you can commit to meditation as a daily practice for 10-20 minutes, over time you will be able to push aside thoughts that distract you during performances, including anxious thoughts.

Progressive muscle relaxation

Find a quiet space and lay down with your arms naturally at your sides and legs fully extended. Close your eyes. Prepare with three slow, deep breaths. As much as possible, focus all of your attention on the task at hand; don’t let your mind wander. Tense your forehead muscle, holding it as tight as you can for about five seconds. As you do this, inhale and hold the breath while the muscle is tense, and then exhale and breathe normally as you let the muscle relax. Enjoy the relaxed position for about five seconds.

Repeat the above process with the following muscle groups: your face/cheek muscles, neck muscles, shoulders (pull them up and tight), back muscles (pull your shoulder blades back and in), abs/stomach muscles, arms and hands (make a fist while you do this and tense it all the way down to the fingers), glutes, thighs, calves, and then finally feet.

dealing with stage fright - step 6

Acceptance is a final and critical step in learning how to overcome stage fright, as resistance will only make a problem grow stronger. It’s important that you stop criticizing or judging yourself for having fears or challenges on stage, as it is one of the most common types of anxiety, and you are definitely not alone!

Acceptance is not declaring that stage fright is “just a problem you have” and that you’ll have to deal with it for the rest of your life. Acceptance is realizing you have some uncomfortable symptoms that are occurring and allowing the process of change to unfold, even if the process is difficult. Acceptance is allowing setbacks to happen, refraining from self-criticism when they do, and celebrating the small successes along the way.


Public speaking and performances of all types continue to be the number one fear of most adults. By reading this article, you have embarked on a journey that very few are brave enough to take – congratulations are due just for starting!

Your reading has given you initial tools for understanding what stage fright is, how you experience it personally, how your past is affecting your present, and beginning to learn how to deal with stage fright.

Performing is one of life’s great joys and you too can enjoy sharing your unique gifts and stories in front of an audience, free of fear, paralysis, or uncomfortable feelings. Don’t give up, and remember that psychological change is a gradual process. Good luck, and happy performing!

Readers, what other ways have you learned how to overcome stage fright? Let us know in the comments!

How to Overcome Stage Fright Infographic

ErinRPost Author: Erin R.
Erin teaches acting, singing, speaking voice, and more in San Diego, CA. She holds a B.A. from University of Minnesota in Vocal Performance, a M.A. in Education from National University, and has been teaching since 2007. Learn more about Erin here!

Image credit: Kian McKellar

Tips from Teachers How to Get Ready for a Piano Recital

How to Get Ready for Your First Piano Recital [Infographic]

Tips from Teachers How to Get Ready for a Piano Recital

A good piano performance takes plenty of patience, practice, and persistence. And your first piano recital can be nerve-wracking, on top of that! Here, music teacher Liz T. shows you exactly how to prepare…


If you’re new to playing piano, your first piano recital is a wonderful opportunity to showcase what you’ve learned in front of family and friends! However, performing can be nerve-wracking for kids and adults alike. Here is a suggested timeline to help you perform at your best!

Prep Before the Recital

3 Months Before

  • Start planning your repertoire (the songs you’ll be performing) with your teacher. Having your songs picked out at least three to four months before your recital gives you plenty of time to practice.

2 Months Before

  • In your lessons, work with your teacher on improving your rhythm, as well as mastering the melody and chords.
  • In between lessons, practice your pieces! Work on the left and right hand separately, then practice with both hands together.
  • Don’t overwhelm yourself trying to learn entire songs in one sitting. Break it down: work on 16 measures at a time, or one page at a time.

1 Month Before

  • This is the most crucial time before the recital, so make sure you’re not slacking off!
  • If you feel prepared, try challenging yourself by memorizing your piano pieces.
  • Try recording yourself playing, so you can identify areas you still need to work on.
  • Listen to professional recordings of your pieces.

Week Before

  • Make sure you know the logistics of the recital: What time should you arrive? How should you dress? Will the recital be indoors or outdoors?
  • Put on a mock recital in front of your friends and family.

Day of the Recital

  • Get a good night’s rest and eat a well-balanced meal.
  • Bring extra copies of your music, as well as snacks and water.
  • Wear comfortable shoes.
  • Make sure you warm up! Run through some scales and arpeggios, stretch your muscles, and keep your hands warm and loose.
  • Breathe! It’s normal to get stage fright, but imagine your performance going well, and stay positive.

Additional Tips for Your First Piano Recital

  • Besides bringing extra copies of your music, I recommend having a picture of your music saved on your smartphone (as you never know what can happen).
  • I also recommend either laminating your music onto a small board or putting it into a three-ring notebook. This way, you won’t have pages blowing away and falling down.

Got it? Here’s a handy infographic to print out and post where you can see it!

Piano Recital Timeline - How to Get Ready for Your First Piano Recital

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I wish you all the best with your upcoming piano recital. If you would like to map out an action plan for how to excel at your next recital, schedule a piano lesson today and get started!

LizTPost Author: Liz T.
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/teaches all styles of music including Musical Theater, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, R&B, and Country. Learn more about Liz here!

Photo by bnilsen

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Disney Live auditions

4 Insider Tips For Your Disney or Nickelodeon Audition

Disney Live auditions

Want to perform with Disney, or another popular production company or cruise line? Learn what to expect at Nickelodeon and Disney singing auditions — and how to put your best foot forward –in this guest post voice teacher Liz T...


Have you ever thought of auditioning for a job with a Disney or Nickelodeon production? Well, there are a few things you should know before your audition! As a performer myself with Disney Live, Radio Disney, and Nickelodeon at Sea, I am here to give you insight into what these types of companies are looking for at their performer auditions.

Here’s what you need to know about Disney singing auditions and the like…

Don't ever pay money for an audition - Tips for Disney singing auditions

Don’t ever pay money for an audition

Unfortunately, there are a lot of scams out there that convince families to pay large advances to so-called “agencies” to get your kid seen in front of a Disney or Nickelodeon Casting Director. This is not the way to approach landing a role. If someone is asking for money just to give your child a chance to be seen, their promises may not be true.

Also, you should never pay an agent any money upfront — most deals end up at only 10-20% if they actually help you get contracted work.

Presentation is everything - Tips for Disney singing auditions

Presentation is everything

For the actual audition, Disney and Nickelodeon hold many casting calls each year in Orlando, New York City, and Los Angeles. It’s common for them to list auditions on websites like Playbill, Backstage, Walt Disney, and Feld Entertainment. Sometimes there are workshops in these cities where you or your child can participate in a master class with a casting director.

Remember: from the moment you walk in the audition room or send your headshot for review, you are being considered for a part! Both Disney and Nickelodeon look for actors who are positive and confident. They don’t want to see you walking in the audition room with your head down and a sourpuss face (even if you are auditioning for a serious role). They want to see a smile, an upbeat personality, and someone who can hold an intelligent conversation!

I suggest wearing a nice, bright-colored outfit to your audition to show you care about your presentation (also, make sure your clothes are free of logos). Imagine if you were meeting a friend’s parents for the first time — you want to make a good impression right from the start! They also want to see that you can work well with others and do not give off a diva-like impression.

Maintain a position image - Tips for Disney singing auditions

Maintain a positive image

If you are lucky to get a job with Disney or Nickelodeon, you will be in the public eye. This means that many kids will look up to you as a role model, so it’s important that you lead a healthy lifestyle.

Disney and Nickelodeon want to give off a positive, clean, healthy image to kids. They also do check-ins constantly, so even after you are hired, you still have to maintain a healthy lifestyle while performing. They are very strict with this, and do not tolerate bad behavior at all. Many well-known actors have been dropped from their TV show contracts or record labels for not maintaining these lifestyles.

Choose an appropriate songs and monologue - Tips for Disney singing auditions

Choose an appropriate song and monologue

To work for companies like Disney and Nickelodeon, you also need to have great energy and high spirits! So, it’s important to show this in your audition. Pick an audition song that is appropriate for your age and range, and make sure it doesn’t include any offensive material.

You can sing a Disney song or use a monologue from one of their movies or TV shows for their audition, but I also encourage you to change it up! Research some old, classic musicals, or even use some new and currently popular material for your audition. Most audition panels love funny material, and they love to laugh! They want to see big personalities, and that you would be a fun, lovely person to work with.

How Do Disney Auditions Work?

There are many different ways you can audition for Disney or Nickelodeon. For example, I made an audition video and sent it into Disney because I was not able to attend an audition in person. In my video I included some clips of past singing, acting, and dancing performances.

I finally received an email almost six months later, asking to do some more interviews and auditions over Skype. After another month, I was finally offered a role with the company! So, it paid off being patient and making that video, because you never know what opportunities are in store for you.

How Do Nickelodeon Auditions Work?

For Nickelodeon, I attended an audition in person. The audition was a very positive experience, and they took a lot of time getting to know me as a person and not just as an actor.

I spent about an hour with the panel, and they asked to hear me sing, read from a children’s script, and learn and perform a new dance combination. This is very rare for auditions, as most only last about two minutes. At the end of the audition, they offered me a job right on the spot, which started in two weeks! I was very lucky, as this is not particularly common.

I happened to be at the right time and right place for both these auditions. A little luck may have been on my side, but it would not have worked out without my hard work, determination, and practice for many years.

How to Get Singing Gigs with Disney and More

Looking for more? Check these resources out!

Other TakeLessons tips:

Elsewhere online:

These companies are very professional and look for the best of the best — hard-workers who are serious about performing. I suggest not going to your audition until you are extremely prepared and confident.

It’s a good idea to build up your experience with other auditions first, and then try out for these major companies when you’re truly ready. And of course, working with a voice teacher or acting coach is a great idea — your teacher can help you choose the right song and monologue, and teach you how to present your best self at the audition.

Good luck with your Nickelodeon or Disney audition, and let me know how it goes!

Photo by Ricky Brigante

LizTPost Author: Liz T.
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/teaches all styles of music including Musical Theater, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, R&B, and Country. Learn more about Liz here!

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11 Signs You're Going to Rock Your Singing Audition

11 Signs You’re Going to Rock Your Vocal Audition (in GIFs!)

11 Signs You're Going to Rock Your Singing Audition

Even if you’ve picked out the perfect song to sing for your audition, it’s normal to feel nervous! But take a deep breath — if you’ve got the below 11 things down pat, you’re on the right track… 


Auditions are a fact of life for a serious singer. After all, they are the job interview for the performer! If you’re wondering how to prepare for a singing audition, I’m here to help you with some important singing audition tips.

Although auditions can seem daunting, there are plenty of things you can do to feel confident. Here are 11 signs that you’re going to rock your vocal audition!

1. You are rested.

True, it may be harder in this day and age to get the suggested eight hours of sleep every night, but the more quality sleep you have the night before, the better! A relaxed body means better sound, as there will be a lot less tension.

2. Your materials are together.

This means your sheet music is in the right key and clearly marked for the accompanist. The pages are also back-to-back and neatly organized in a binder. If you’re using sound files, they should be easily accessible and cued up at the correct time.

3. You know your lyrics backwards and forwards!

Confidence is key, and knowing that you REALLY have your songs down pat will help you soar through the audition!

4. You’ve done a good warm-up.

This means at least 15 to 20 minutes or so of light vocal exercises. It’s best not to do too much more than that, as you risk tiring yourself out. Think basic lip trills, hums, and sirens — you can never go wrong with those! It doesn’t needs to be anything fancy.

5. You are dressed appropriately.

This means you look professional, but you are also not restricted in any way by clothing or shoes that are too tight, which can affect your breathing and overall comfort level. Remember — a comfortable body means free tone!

6. You’ve picked songs that are right for your voice type.

The tessitura of each song fits you like a glove. These songs are so worked into your voice that someone could wake you up at 3am to have you sing them— and you’d still sound good! That’s when you know you have the perfect audition songs for your voice.

7. The “coast is clear” – meaning your throat and sinuses!

You’re free of congestion and excess phlegm. This means your vocal cords will come together nicely to make beautiful sounds. Problems with congestion? Please don’t panic. Just do more lip trills and sirens!

8. You’re hydrated.

This is one of the most important singing audition tips to keep in mind. There’s nothing worse than the feeling of a dry throat when you have to sing! Just make sure you didn’t over-hydrate, because that can dry out your vocal folds, too.

One of my favorite things to suggest to singers is to cut an apple into quarters: this has the perfect ratio of water as well as citric acid to break up any light congestion. It’s the perfect pre-audition snack!

9. You know what you’re singing about.

Now this is a biggie! Singing the right notes, rhythms, and words is essential, but what good is all of that if you aren’t connecting dramatically? Those that choose to be compelling over perfect are almost always those that get hired!

10. You realize that the audition starts before you begin singing.

This means being kind and respectful to any audition monitors, stage managers, and definitely to your accompanist, should you be working with one! You never know who has the final say in whether or not you get hired or cast. Smile, be friendly, and be prompt! Being a diva will get you nowhere.

And lastly….

11. You are prepared to have FUN.

Yes, I said it. Auditions can indeed be fun. You are going to rock any vocal audition you do if you treat it like an intimate performance, rather than something you have to do.


With these singing audition tips, you’ll have an easier time dealing with the butterflies that try to creep up. If you are not already working with one, a voice teacher is also essential for preparing you for your auditions. There are so many great instructors with backgrounds in rock, pop, musical theatre, and more. He or she can help you find the songs that fit your voice, as well as coach you further in the essentials listed above!

Break a leg! Remember that auditions do get easier the more often you do them… so get out there and show them what you’ve got!

Preparing for a contest or competition? Check our singing contest tips here!
mollyrPost Author: Molly R.
Molly R. teaches online and in-person singing lessons in Hayward, CA. Her specialties include teaching beginner vocalists, shy singers, children, teens, lapsed singers, and older beginners. She joined TakeLessons in November 2013. Learn more about Molly here!


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50+ MORE Best Songs to Sing at A Talent Show

50+ MORE Best Songs to Sing at a Talent Show

50+ MORE Best Songs to Sing at A Talent Show

We’ve showcased a few good songs to sing at talent shows, but we heard you wanted more! Here, Brooklyn, NY voice teacher Liz T. shares 50+ more options, along with the three helpful steps to ensure an amazing performance! 


Singing at your school’s talent show is a great experience for young performers! Many singers, however, are shy to sign up because they are nervous or don’t know what to songs to sing. I’m here to help you work through these concerns!

First off, WHY should you sign up for a talent show? Performing in front of others has many benefits. You’ll learn how to overcome stage fright, how to sing with a microphone, and — depending on your set-up — how to perform with a background track, pianist, or band (or maybe even accompanying yourself!). If you want to become a famous singer someday, it’ll also prepare for you for those bigger gigs!

First Step: Choose a Song

If this is your first talent show, or if you are new to performing, choose a song you know — one that you have practiced a lot and that you feel comfortable singing. You will sound better and look more comfortable on stage when you feel confident and at ease with the song you are singing! Also, some of the best songs to sing at a talent show are ones with simple lyrics that you can remember, just in case those nerves kick in!

Next Step: Prepare, Prepare, Prepare!

If you really want to “wow” the crowd, I recommend working a voice teacher leading up to your performance! He or she can help you prepare for your talent show, including choosing the best song to sing, working through stage fright, and polishing up your overall performance. Even with natural talent, a singing coach can help you bring your skills to the next level. Singing isn’t easy, and it’s smart to have a strong foundation!

Final Step: Have Fun!

Ready to perform? The crowd is waiting! But what should you do if the nerves kick in? Sometimes we can’t help but get those jitters and butterflies in our stomachs when we step onto the stage. Here are my tips for how to deal with them:

  • Be prepared! Know your material well, and bring extra copies of the music or backup CDs. This will help you in case something goes wrong with the equipment or you lose your sheet music –you’ll be ready!
  • Bring water, and hydrate yourself regularly. One side effect of nerves is a dry throat, so drinking water will help!
  • Do some meditation, yoga, or stretching right before you go on stage. This will help those tight muscles and body jitters!
  • Bring headphones and an iPod, and listen to your song right before going on stage so it’s fresh in your mind.
  • Have fun! Your friends and family will be cheering you on.

What Are the Best Songs to Sing at a Talent Show?

Still unsure about what to sing? Here are some talent show song ideas, along with the artists who either wrote or popularized the tune:

Traditional/Folk Songs

  1. Amazing Grace
  2. God Bless America
  3. Danny Boy
  4. This Land is Your Land
  5. Leaving on a Jet Plane” by John Denver
  6. Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon and Garfunkel
  7. The Rainbow Connection
  8. Puff the Magic Dragon” by Peter, Paul and Mary
  9. Shenandoah
  10. This Little Light of Mine


  1. “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin
  2. Imagine” by John Lennon
  3. Killing Me Softly” by Roberta Flack
  4. Respect” by Aretha Franklin
  5. Lean on Me” by Bill Withers
  6. In My Life” by The Beatles
  7. Dancing in the Street” by Martha and the Vandellas
  8. What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong
  9. Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley
  10. Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder


  1. Dancing Queen” from “Mamma Mia!”
  2. Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from “The Wizard of Oz”
  3. Anything Goes” from “Anything Goes”
  4. The Impossible Dream (The Quest)” from “Man of La Mancha”
  5. My Favorite Things” from “The Sound of Music”
  6. Tomorrow” from “Annie”
  7. Fame” from “Fame”
  8. Hopelessly Devoted to You” from “Grease”
  9. Beauty and the Beast” from “Beauty and the Beast”
  10. Footloose” from “Footloose”


  1. Summertime” by Ella Fitzgerald

    2. “New York, New York” by Frank Sinatra
    3. “Misty” by Sarah Vaughn
    4. “I Got Rhythm” performed by Judy Garland and others
    5. “Georgia on My Mind” performed by Ray Charles and others
    6. “At Last” by Etta James
    7. “Feeling Good” performed by Michael Bublé and others
    8. “Fever” performed by Peggy Lee and others
    9. “Blue Skies” performed by Willie Nelson and others
    10. “Someone to Watch Over Me” performed by Linda Ronstadt and others

’80s/’90s Pop

  1. Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper

    2. “Something to Talk About” by Bonnie Raitt
    3. “Beat It” by Michael Jackson
    4. “Living on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi
    5. “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey
    6. “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” by Whitney Houston
    7. “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler
    8. “Turn the Beat Around” by Gloria Estefan
    9. “Your Song” by Elton John
    10. “Piano Man” by Billy Joel

Contemporary Pop

  1. Don’t Know Why” by Norah Jones

    2. “You Belong With Me” by Taylor Swift
    3. “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars
    4. “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele
    5. “Wanted” by Hunter Hayes
    6. “Happy” by Pharrell Williams
    7. “Love Song” by Sara Bareilles
    8. “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera
    9. “Stronger (What’ Doesn’t Kill You)” by Kelly Clarkson
    10. “Waiting on the World to Change” by John Mayer


  1. I’ll Be There” by The Jackson 5

    2. “When You Believe” by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston
    3. “Lucky” by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat
    4. “(I’ve Had) the Time of My Life” by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes
    5. “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
    6. “Anything You Can Do” from “Annie Get Your Gun”
    7. “Summer Nights” from “Grease”
    8. “All I Ask of You” from “Phantom of the Opera”
    9. “I Got You Babe” by Sonny and Cher
    10. “One” by U2 and Mary J. Blige

I wish you all the best of luck in preparing for your talent show, and hope to work with many of you soon!

LizTPost Author: Liz T.
Liz T. teaches online singing, acting, and music lessons. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M. in vocal performance and currently performs/teaches all styles of music including musical theater, classical, jazz, rock, pop, R&B, and country. Learn more about Liz here!

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popular karaoke songs

6 Struggles Only Karaoke Enthusiasts Understand (in GIFs)

6 Struggles Only Karaoke Enthusiasts Will Understand

Love karaoke? And by that we mean… borderline obsessed? Is it your first suggestion for a birthday get-together? Do the karaoke hosts at your local bar know you by name… and get concerned when you don’t show up? Are you first on stage, while your friends hide in the corner slowly sipping their liquid courage?

Yep, we know the feeling.

Even if it takes you forever to browse the book and pick the perfect song to sing, it’s all worth it when you take the stage, grab the mic, and hear the roaring cheers of your fans (er, friends).

If you know your local karaoke spot’s song catalog by heart, karaoke isn’t just a late-night whim for you. It’s a hobby that unleashes the natural performer inside you, daring you to take risks and win over crowds. If you’re a karaoke enthusiast like us, we bet you can relate to these six struggles…

1. YouTube swallows your weekends whole.

Most people imagine the karaoke life as a series of parties, bars, and amateur singing contests. However, you do most of your singing at home. YouTube is full of popular karaoke songs, complete with scrolling lyrics, so it’s easy to warm up with a few of your favorites. But before you know it, hours have passed and you’re down a sing-along rabbit hole. The Internet is a great place to practice, but if you’re not careful, you’ll lose track of real-life karaoke, with its far superior sound systems and energetic live audiences.

2. You have nightmares about losing your thumb drive.

Once upon a time, people burned their favorite popular karaoke songs onto CDs and handed them to KJs. Today, you can fit thousands of custom-edited and privately purchased karaoke songs onto one flash drive. However, if you’ve ever fished around for your USB drive in a dark pub, you know this convenience is a double-edged sword. If your competition has your playlist of karaoke songs, there goes the element of surprise.

3. You take notes while listening to the radio.

You can’t help it. When you’re driving to work or school, streaming an online radio station, or listening to a friend’s music collection, you’re constantly on the lookout for popular karaoke songs to sing. Are those lyrics fun and easy to hear? Is the beat recognizable? Do you think you can match the singer’s voice? Should you go scrambling for the rest of their collection, hoping to find that perfect track for the next karaoke night? Without fail, listening to music always results in karaoke brainstorms.

See also: Our top picks for karaoke songs for girls, guys, groups, and more!

4. Reality show judges make you want to scream.

When you watch singing shows like “American Idol,” “X Factor,” or “The Voice,” you can’t help but critique the amateur singers who somehow get a national platform for their mediocre mimicry. And it’s inevitable: With every new season of yet another televised singing competition, a few more talent-less wannabes are kicked out of tryouts because they “belong in a karaoke bar.” Ironically, the judges are usually music-industry veterans who profit every time you sing a song they recorded or produced. Why, then, do they insist on using karaoke as a punchline?

5. To alter or not to alter: That is the question.

Some karaoke machines can raise or lower a song’s key, to better match your own voice with the singer’s. You’ve been around long enough to know how divisive this issue is, and you may even have a firm opinion about whether or not it’s a legitimate way to perform. However, there’s no denying the appeal of a guaranteed harmony, digital or otherwise.

6. Practice doesn’t always make perfect.

Successful “self-taught” singers are few and far between for a very good reason: singing takes more than just talent. If you want to master the nuances of singing for a live audience, you’ll need to train your vocal cords with exercises that make it easier to breathe, stay on key, remember the lyrics, and sing with emotion. A private vocal coach or singing instructor can work with you to hone your singing talents and tweak your performance style.

Karaoke Tips: Picking the Best Songs to Sing

Remember… picking the best song isn’t always about choosing from the most popular karaoke songs of all time. If you want to avoid embarrassing mistakes, you’ll want to select a song that suits your voice (i.e. your vocal range and stylistic tendencies), your personality, and also your audience! Are you at a grungy dive bar? Might be best to save “Genie in a Bottle” for another time.

Also, remember that singing karaoke is all about having fun! If you’re nervous, it’s much easier to pick a song your genuinely enjoy singing before breaking out the high notes and fancy riffs.

For specific recommendations, check out our list of fun songs to sing at karaoke!

Additional Karaoke Resources

Need more karaoke tips and inspiration? Here are few other websites to check out:

  • The Karaoke Channel — This website offers thousands of professional, re-recorded hits available for download, along with a community forum and a mobile app to take with you on the go.
  • Karaoke Version — Another great resource for finding instrumental tracks to sing along to.
  • Sunfly Karaoke — Offers more than 13,000 karaoke tracks available for download or via a personalized karaoke disc.
  • RedKaraoke — Feeling shy? These apps work with your iPhone/iPad, Android device, or SmartTV to start the party, without ever leaving the house!
  • Ace Karaoke — Need karaoke equipment, like amps, cables, stage lighting, or mics? Find it all here!

Readers, anything you’d add to this list? What are your favorite karaoke songs to sing? Leave a comment below and let us know!


Photo by Richard Sunderland

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How to Make a Living Doing What You Love

Musicians, Here’s How to Make a Living Doing What You Love

How to Make a Living Doing What You Love

Ready to take your talents to the masses, but not sure how to get music gigs? In this guest post, our friends over at GigSalad share a few helpful tips to help you start your gigging career…


It’s safe to say that almost every musician dreams of making a career out of their talent. However, many artists are intimidated and unsure of where to begin. If you’re serious about your music, and you know you want to succeed in the industry, there are a few essential steps to help you find music gigs and kickstart your career. By applying these few simple methods to actively promote yourself, you’ll be well on your way to making a living doing what you love.

Practice, practice, practice. We know you probably hear this enough from your teachers, but your practice hours are crucial to your sound. It’s what attracts fans and keeps your calendar booked, so before you start your gigging endeavors, make sure you’ve mastered your performance.

You need a solid web presence. In order to line up your first few gigs, you have to put your talent in front of a lot of eyes and ears. One of the best (and cheapest) ways to do this is by promoting yourself online. There are many marketing tools available for musicians, but don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to utilize them all. Just focus on these few, and you will have a stronger impact.

  • Find a website builder. You don’t have to be tech-savvy to have a great place to host your music. There are several website builders that make it easy to plug your media into a beautifully designed template. You’ll want to choose one that is mobile-friendly, can be easily customized, and offers stylistic flexibility. We recommend Bandzoogle because it’s built specifically for musicians to add downloadable music files, gig calendars, and band merch. Having a beautifully designed website is an excellent way to gain more fans.
  • Use your social media. Your social platforms are a great way to engage your audience and attract new fans. You can notify followers of your upcoming shows, get feedback from past performances, and even find out what kind of music they’d like to hear in the future. And by activating the new Facebook call-to-action button, you can get booked directly from your page! To truly maximize your opportunities, consider going outside of your own social media feeds. When you connect with other local performers, venues, and community groups, you’re exposing your business to their followers as well. Liking other posts instead of just asking users to like yours creates a more direct relationship with those users.

Get gigs by playing gigs. At the beginning of a gigging career, often times artists will put on free shows to get started. These performances are typically in smaller, more intimate venues such as coffee shops, libraries, or house parties. Although these are unpaid gigs, they can still offer other valuable benefits. Any gig opportunity helps boost your stage presence, earns you the spotlight, and gives you a chance to recruit more fans.

Surround yourself with musicians. Not only do you get a chance to chat with people who have the same interests, but you can also learn a lot from these conversations. The music scene is constantly evolving, and your fellow musicians can keep you updated on the latest trends and tips that have helped them. This also gives you a great opportunity to create mutual referrals for future gigs.

Connect with venue owners. Venue owners come in contact with a ton of musicians, so it’s important to make yourself stand out. Introduce yourself in person, and be sure to leave them a link to that great website you’ve created to promote your music. Because of their heavy workload, it’s a good idea to send them a follow-up email if you haven’t received a response after a few days.

There are a lot of tips out there for musicians who are just starting their gigging careers, and it can feel daunting to consider all of them. Every musician is unique in their journey to success, so make the moves that feel right for you. By perfecting your talent, creating a strong web presence, and connecting with the right people, you can considerably boost your gigging opportunities.

Readers, what other strategies do you use to find music gigs? Let us know in the comments!

Post Author: Tessie Barnett
Tessie Barnett is the content writer for GigSalad, an online platform for artists to promote their talent, connect with event hosts and planners, and get booked for private and public gigs ranging from weddings and parties to corporate events and festivals. As the largest entertainment booking platform in the U.S. and Canada, GigSalad helps talented people do what they love.

Photo by Lauren Liggett

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get better at singing

4 Unconventional Ways to Get Better at Singing

get better at singing

Did you know there are ways you can get better at singing… that DON’T involve singing? Find out the ideas in this guest post by professional voice teacher Molly R...


The obvious thing to do when you want to get better at singing is, of course, to sign up for voice lessons! You may have even found that teacher right here on TakeLessons.

But singing is so much more than what goes on with your vocal cords. We also have to exude confidence and connect with our audience. We can’t always get the help we need to become dynamic performers from voice lessons alone. Here are some suggestions for other classes that will take you from a good singer to an unforgettable one!

Dance Lessons

No one’s looking for you to become the next Fred Astaire, but it’s essential that you move well if you plan on singing on any stage. Any type of dance lesson will do: ballet, salsa, ballroom, and more.

When the body’s more relaxed and agile, not only do you look more polished, your voice will be a lot more free. Gone are the days of “park and bark,” where you just stand there and open your mouth. To use your space effectively, you have to be comfortable with your body. Fear not, non-dancers: There are plenty of lessons out there that cater to beginners. I plan on taking a swing dance workshop this summer, and I am encouraging all my students to join me!

Tai Chi and Qigong

This is super simple, yet so very beneficial. Master the eight brocades in Qigong, and you have a marvelous way to connect with both body and breath! Tai Chi and Qigong lessons help us conquer nerves, get better sleep, and move with more grace. Yes, many of us have heard how yoga does all these things, too, but many people would prefer something easier and gentler. Plus, Tai Chi and Qigong are perfect for kids and senior singers!

In addition to your private lessons, I recommend following Jesse Tsao on YouTube for tips and inspiration.

Acting Lessons

A great voice becomes a spectacular voice when the audience believes you know what you’re singing about. One of the best ways to develop your performance skills is to take acting lessons. Even if you’re new to acting, beginner acting lessons abound. You can even find teachers through TakeLessons (I happen to teach beginning acting, too!).

Remember, each song you sing is a monologue set to music. Finding ways to express it dramatically, as well as musically, will set you apart from other singers who are only focused on sounding good! To help you get better at singing, an acting coach will challenge you to create a character for each song, thus making each of your performances more meaningful to both you and your audience.

To supplement your lessons, I also recommend reading the book “What Do I Do With My Hands?” by Rhonda Carlson, who has coached many Broadway performers.

Improv Lessons

This one changed everything for me! These days, improvisational comedy workshops are offered everywhere, including at corporate events and schools to make employees and students feel more confident. Plus, it’s plain fun!

Stepping out of your comfort zone is essential for any sort of performer. By taking improv lessons, you’ll strengthen your creativity by learning how to think on your feet and to trust your instincts. You’ll also learn how to “play well with others” — meaning your fellow performers and the audience. And did I mention just how much fun it is? Go for it! After performing in any improv situation, recitals, musicals, and open mics will seem so much easier!


So, what are you waiting for? As a voice student, you will always be learning something new to help you get better at singing — but, surprisingly, it’s not always about vocal technique! So go sign up, and have a blast. When you’re having fun on stage, so is the audience!

mollyrPost Author: Elaina R.
Molly R. teaches online and in-person singing lessons in Hayward, CA. Her specialties include teaching beginner vocalists, shy singers, children, teens, lapsed singers, and older beginners. She joined TakeLessons in November 2013. Learn more about Molly here!

Photo by Nick Page

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