A lot of singers worry that they will forget the words and/or melody of a song. My advice would be:
Familiarise yourself with the structure of the song.
Rehearse it and rehearse it and REHEARSE IT
Tell the story
Structure (you can make a note of the relevant points on a printout of the lyrics):
The standard structure of a song is: verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge (or middle 8), chorus (it’s common to give the parts letters as in the image above)
Come Home by One Republic is an example of a song with this structure:
There are, of course, variations on the general theme. For example:
The song may start with the chorus instead of the verse, for example All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor
There may be an instrumental in the middle instead of a middle 8 with lyrics, for example Stay With Me bySam Smith
Sometimes there is a pre-chorus (also called a link) between the chorus and verse) – usually the link has the same lyrics each time. Listen to All Of Me by John Legend, and note the part that starts ‘my head’s under water’.
Some songs have an extra verse after the middle 8, for example ‘Teenage Dirt bag’ by Wheatus. Sometimes it’s just a repeat of the first or second verse.
A key strategy is to note any repeating patterns in the song – the verses usually have the same melody pattern,and the same applies to the choruses.
Sometimes the verse can even be separated into two halves, possibly with a slight change to the end of thesecond half. Check out All Of Me by John Legend: the first half goes down at the end, on ‘pin you down’, thesecond half ends by going up on ‘be alright’).
Once you are aware of how the song is structured it’s a lot easier to learn it.
I don’t think I need to say much more about this. Just sing the song over and over until you can practically sing it inyour sleep. Also listen to it as much as possible on your mp3 player when you’re travelling, exercising, cooking….. And make sure you’re comfortable singing the whole song – not straining or stretching to reach notes.
Tell The Story
Once you’ve learned the song by heart, and tackled any technical issues, you can concentrate on what you’reactually trying to say! Singers (myself included) often get so caught up in getting a song ‘right’ that they forget thatit’s about communication, just like speaking. Why did you choose the song, and how does the subject matter relateto you? The more you can personalise it, the easier it will be to remember it. Also it won’t matter so much if youforget the exact words – you’ll still get your message across.
So give the above tips a try, and, as always, let me know – on this page or on my Carol Jack Vocal Studio Facebook page – how you get on!