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Learning a new song can be overwhelming at first. That is why in this article I want to show you how to learn to sing a song step by step. If we break it down into steps it is much easier!
Whether you are learning a new song for your band, your singing lesson, or just for yourself, these steps will help you learn the music much more in-depth and more quickly than if you just sing it along over and over again.
This is just one technique to learn how to sing a song step by step, there are many other methods. However this one has worked well for me and it gets easier with every new song, so it is the one that I am showing you today.
Please note that the following guide is based on vocals only, and therefore the descriptions mentioned only apply to the vocal line.
Also, this is a guide for you to learn a NEW song. If you are learning a song you are already familiar with, you can probably skip some of the steps.
You can go even deeper if you are familiar with the musical elements of a song. This is just one way of learning a song for people that might not have knowledge of musical theory, and for anyone that needs to learn a song quickly and well.
At the end of this work, you will be able to sing your song from beginning to end with a backing track 🙂 and THEN is when the real technique, style, interpretation and performance work commences!
Learning the structure of a song means that you are familiar with the different sections of it, and how those different sections are organized throughout the song.
There are many different possible structures, and variations within structures. But the more songs you learn you are going to find that many of them have a structure that starts being quite familiar to you.
The most common sections that you will find in a popular song are:
In the verse you are generally going to find a development of the story that is being told. The characters are introduced. Different verses within a song generally share a similar melody but different lyrics.
In the chorus you will usually find the central idea of the song. It is generally easier to remember than the verse. Different choruses within a song generally share both the same melody and the same lyrics.
Pre – chorus
Leads to the chorus, both with lyrics and melody.
The bridge generally has a distinct melody that creates a sort of “break” from the rest of the song. It generates contrasts, it can add additional information, and it can build up the tension within a song.
Some common structures that you will find in contemporary popular music:
Verse- Chorus – Verse – Chorus (e.g: “These Days” – recorded by Rascal Flatts)
Verse- Chorus – Verse – Chorus – Bridge – Chorus (e.g. “Because you loved me” – recorded by Celine Dion)
Verse – Chorus – Verse – Chorus – Chorus (e.g. “Angels” – recorded by Robbie Williams)
Learn your melodies one line at a time. Especially if you are not that familiar with the song! You can use YouTube to slow it down if the melody is tricky for you. Play a musical line, stop the recording and sing it. Repeat as many times as necessary. You will find that by breaking it down you actually learn it more quickly than if you try to learn a whole section at once.
At this stage don’t worry about the lyrics. Sing your song with a vowel of your choice and focus on learning the melody. Adding lyrics at this stage will not serve you and will probably slow you down.
Once you are familiar with the song, find a key that works for your voice. There is no shame in dropping the key or raising it.
If you don’t know music theory and you don’t play any instruments, you can do this by using the Transpose extension by Chrome. With this extension you can try the YouTube track modifying the key up and down by one semitone at a time. So you can spend some time doing this and then the song will feel much better and easier!
If you are a more advanced singer and musician, you might be able to do this quickly if you are familiar with your own voice range (not only how high and low can you go, but also where your voice sounds better!) and you can find out what notes that the melody contains.
I know. This is the step that no one wants to take! It is not the most fun part but it does get easier and easier the more songs you learn. AND it will help you develop your memory, so don’t skip it.
There are many reasons why learning your lyrics from memory is necessary if you want to be a good singer. To name a few of the obvious ones, if you haven’t learned your lyrics by memory and you have to read them every time you sing the song, you won’t be able to work and develop your voice technique. Also, you are not going to be able to deeply explore the emotional world within your song. Which is a huge part of being a singer! Communication is key, and if you are not clear in what you are communicating then you are missing out on one of the main reasons we sing!
You don’t have to learn the whole lyrics in one go. Break your song down. Learn one part at a time! There are many techniques to learn lyrics – you can refer to this article to learn more 🙂
Now that you are well familiar with the structure, melody and lyrics of the song, you can sing it with a backing track or acapella. You know exactly what to sing and when. You no longer have to be stressed about when to start singing and what verse goes where.
You can now enjoy your song and sing it in social situations and impress your friends – or be ready to explore the song more in-depth depending on your particular needs, wants and goals – This is the moment to start working on technique, interpretation, style and performance.
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