When it comes to really mastering a song, a little preparation can go a long way! Here are some great tips from vocal teacher Valerie B. to try as you’re learning a new song…
1. Listen to the song, preferably with another vocalist singing it, along with the accompaniment (the same accompaniment that you will be using). Repeat several times until you are able to hum along pretty well.
2. Without the recording on, read the words out loud as if you were just reading a letter with no specific rhythm. Note to yourself where you thought you knew the words, but you realized you didn’t! Circle those parts as a reminder to yourself later.
3. Now, try reading the words IN RHYTHM with the song. Be sure to speak them CLEARLY (putting t’s and d’s, etc.. at the end of words).
4. If you have the ability to play the melody of your song on the piano, now is the time to sit down and pluck out those notes! Play it for yourself and sing only on a Hum or La. We’ve isolated the lyrics by themselves, now we will isolate the melody by itself. (If playing the piano is not an option, ask your teacher if she/he can make a recording of the melody that you can practice from or use your own recording again and sing along only on a Hum or La. YouTube may have some options on just giving you the melody line, so check that out, too.) Repeat several times until you feel comfortable with the melody line. Circle trouble spots and isolate them, practicing those specific measures only, over and over.
5. Now sing the melody AND the lyrics as you play (or listen to) the melody line. Repeat now over and over until the song is learned and then eventually memorized.
6. Listen to your recording again and sing along with the artist . Now that you have learned the melody, rhythm and lyrics, you can focus your attention on other things more like breathing, stage presentation, using a microphone, etc…
7. Now try it with a karaoke version (or a piano accompanist) of the song so that it is only you singing with the accompaniment. Circle the parts in your music where you missed your cues or forgot any words. Isolate those parts if you can.
8. A great performer is a prepared performer! Now, put that smile on and go sing for an audience!
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Valerie B. teaches piano and singing lessons in Wilmington, DE. Valerie received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from West Chester University, and specializes in teaching kids, including those with special needs. She joined the TakeLessons team in December 2009. Find out more about Valerie, or visit TakeLessons to search for a teacher near you!
Photo by Suchious.