How to Learn a Song

When selecting a piece, be sure you either really love it or I have assigned it to you with the intention of having you learn something important from it.  There is NO busy work in singing.  Everything we do serves a purpose.  Once you have chosen a piece, follow the next steps to success:

  1. Learn the melody and rythms – This can be done by listening to original and previous recordings, listening to a demonstration vocal on CD or having me play the melody onto a tape.
  2. Learn the lyrics – Read the text several times.  Look up words you don’t understand.  Write notes to help you put the meaning into simple terms.  Start learning a few lines at a time.  Use memorization tricks, alphabetizing or association.
  3. Sing the melody without lyrics – On an “owl like ooh” sing the melody line.  Lip buzz the melody line.  Bumble bee buzz the melody line.  “NG” the melody line.
  4. Sing the lyrics altered – Use all exercises assigned to begin using lyrics but keeping yourself in a consistent placement.
  5. Finally, sing the lyrics and melody together – Sing the song, small sections at a time and check for accurate placement, rythms and tempo.
  6. Check for memorization – Sing through your song without looking at lyrics or notes.  Stop when you think you may be “off” and circle that part.  Move on through the song, circling the sections that aren’t quite memorized.  Review these areas over and over and repeat this again until no parts are troubling you.
  7. Add color and dynamics – Decide which words to accentuate, and color the interesting words with varying tones.
  8. Move onto Acting – Look at helps for acting, focus and gestures.  Make choices and take risks.
  9. Perform in front of people – Ask family and friends to watch you perform.  As you sing in these un-pressured settings you will find where your song still needs work

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