I have talked a lot on this blog about learning technique and practicing vocal exercises, but what about learning how to sing a song?
Once you have a solid technique and you want to start singing actual songs (the fun part), how do you go about learning songs and practicing them enough that you are good enough to start performing?
These are all good questions and in this post I want to share how to sing a song by following 3 easy steps. I will assume you have a song, or a number of songs in mind, and that you are familiar with the melody and structure of the song.
So, let’s get started….
How To Sing A Song In 3 Easy Steps
What is vocalization and how does it help?
Well, vocalization can be defined as singing the melody of the song on a vowel e.g. the “aa” vowel, rather than singing a song with the lyrics.
How does this actually help? Vocalizing the song helps you to get comfortable with a song’s range and “tessatura” (how high the line of the song sits), and develop enough vocal stamina to sing the song comfortably without having to worry about the lyrics.
If you can vocalize a song through several times and hit all the notes cleanly and comfortably, then you can start adding the lyrics.
If you know a song really well and you can sing it comfortably without strain, then you can skip this step. This step is designed to help a singer to get comfortable with the range of a song etc before having to deal with consonants and vowels.
Step #2 – Taking The Song In Sections
With this step, you break the song up into sections in order to help you get used to the melody and range of the song, along with helping you to build vocal stamina. You can either vocalize or sing the sections with lyrics – I will leave that up to you.
My goal is to be able to sing through the first section of a song comfortably and with no strain, paying close attention to the high notes or difficult high passages. I will aim to be able to sing a section through comfortably at least 3 times before I move onto the next section.
After I am comfortable with a section, I will then add the next section and repeat i.e. be able to sing it through comfortably 3 times. Before long, you find that you will be able to sing the whole song comfortably several times in a row.
As I mentioned previously, I use this step to help me with particularly difficult songs and you shouldn’t need to use this technique for every song you learn. It can be very helpful when learning operatic arias or really difficult rock/pop songs e.g. Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.
Let’s now look at step 3 when learning how to sing a song……
Step #3 – The 120% Rule
Well, I would want to get out there and start to perform in front of live audiences. But, singing a song in front a pretend crowd in your bedroom is very different to singing live in front of a “real” audience.
This brings me to the 120% rule. Basically, prepare and practice your song (or set) 120%, as you lose 20% due to the rigors of live performance e.g. nerves, lights, bad PA etc.
If you know a song so well, that you can sing it come rain, hail, sunshine or storm, then any surprises that come along during a performance will be like water off a duck’s back i.e. you will still be operating at 100%, rather than ~80% (if you didn’t follow the rule).
Well, by now you should know how to sing a song, or at least how to approach learning and rehearsing a song with the end result being able to perform it in front of an audience.
Remember, you may not need every step for every song that you sing, pick and choose the steps that work the best for the situation you find yourself in e.g. if learning a really difficult song, vocalize it and take it in sections, if learning an easy song, just practice it until you can sing it in your sleep.
I hope you enjoyed this article and please feel free to comment, like, tweet, pin, Google+ etc.
I wish you success in all your singing endeavors