You know how they say a child's brain is like a sponge? I believe it. Memorizing lyrics and songs as a child was so easy; all I had to do was listen to it a couple of times and I knew all the words along with the riffs. As I get older, memorizing lyrics just hasn't been as easy. It's as though my mind's been filled with archives of music that I can't put in anything new. My archives consist of Spice Girls, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, NSYNC, BSB.. the list goes on.
I thought I'd share with you guys my process of learning songs now whether it be for my own enjoyment, shows coming up, or videos that I upload for covers!
Frozen has done so well and captured many hearts including my own. I decided to learn the song "Let it Go" sung by Idina Menzel. I'm kind of making a complete fool out of myself but thought I'd keep it real for you all.
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1. Listen to the song over and over again.
I listen to the song until I feel like I get a good idea of the order in which the melody transitions from verse, to chorus, to bridge, to end. Obviously there's a different order for every song, but I try to at least engrain the melodious pattern to my ear so I can at least hum it.
2. Listen to the song with the lyrics in front of you.
My favorite website to look up lyrics is AZ Lyrics. Whenever I search a song I just type in "AZ lyrics" next to it. They're mostly accurate and the layout is simple where I can read it clearly without getting distracted by annoying azzzzz ads.
3. Physically write down the lyrics.
Write it as nice as you can and don't rush through it. You're going to be reading off of this so keep it neat.
4. Sing while reading the lyrics out loud without the song playing in the background.
This is so that you work on being confident with the melody. A lot of auditions actually ask for people to sing acapella because they want to know if the vocalist can sing it on beat and on key without there being music in the background. Especially in live theater/musical theater when anything can go wrong - the show must go on - do you have what it takes to finish the show off on your own?
5. Sing while reading the lyrics out loud with the song playing in the back ground (preferably Karaoke/Instrumental track)
I like doing this because it helps me re-invoke the emotions and corrects me if my pacing/timing is wrong. It's also a step closer to performing the real thing.
6. Break the song down in increments that you see best fit to memorize.
After I sing it the whole way through, I make mental notes, if not physical notes on my paper, on my trouble areas. I go back and listen to it again.
7. Practice singing with the original track without looking at lyrics.
This is self explanatory.
8. Sing the song with the karaoke/instrumental track without looking at lyrics.
Practice performing standing up as if you're on stage. Record yourself if you are able to as well. You might actually catch yourself doing things that may not look great on stage (fidgeting with hands, putting your hands in your pockets, etc)
Your voice is unique. You won't sound like the original vocalist and that's more than okay. The more you get comfortable with the song, the more you'll be able to make it your own and spice it up. Especially if you put it on YouTube people are gonna have something to say whether it's "OMG I love your rendition" or "Ew. The original is SO much better." POINT IS, they took the time to listen to it so that is what is cool and amazing. You put yourself out there and for that you are brave. Have fun with it and enjoy music for what it is.