You’ve always wanted to go for it and you’ve probably wanted to try it, but let’s accept it: you’re scared to death. People love the idea of karaoke – people singing live music, hanging out with your friends over a drink or two and maybe get a few laughs in. But it’s just the idea of singing in public that sends your stomach down to your feet? Maybe you hate public speaking or you’re just so petrified to sing alive. Either way, the idea of singing is always a fun thought, just not a realistic one. If the word “karaoke” conjures feelings of dread, you probably need a little prep work before you hit the stage.
If you’re even just the tiniest bit interested in getting some vocal chops, we’re here to help. Doing karaoke is definitely one of the best things to do, so we’d like to ease up the process a bit with some helpful pointers that can hopefully kill your stage fright and make for an enjoyable experience.
Find Your Voice
Before you start giving the crowd a run for their money, you first have to learn the basic techniques to sing correctly. You’ll want to seclude yourself from all the noise so you won’t feel self-conscious. Correct posture is the first step toward polishing your karaoke singing skills. A good way to know if you’re standing in a right posture is to stand with your ears directly above your shoulder and your shoulders directly above your hips. This way your chin is at rest, but you want to keep your chin down while singing, which gives you full resonance in your pharynx.
Control Your Breathing
Your breathing should also be more controlled while singing. You must have practiced the song like a thousand times in your car with no problem at all, but you never accounted for the fact that you’d be singing louder and projecting or your heart rate would be accelerated. While keeping your shoulders still, let your lower abdominal muscles release when you inhale, basically popping out your stomach to ease your breathing motions. Push your stomach back when exhaling while your ribs stay expanded.
Choose a Signature Song
Choose a well-known song you know all the words to or something that many people are familiar with and enjoy. This way the audience will have more fun listening and cheering you on, which will make things smoother for you. Don’t worry if you cannot remember all the words. The lyrics will be on the screen, but if you can just focus on having a good time rather than the words you’ll be fine. Make sure the melody is easy to hum and that you can feel the rhythm easily. Learn the melody and study it as thoroughly as would study any other subject. Upbeat songs tend to be better crowd pleasers than slow songs but make sure it’s within your vocal range.
Practice at Home
If you could just get your hands on a karaoke machine, that would be great. Play the song often and sing it all the time – sing while you’re doing your daily household chores such as cleaning, washing dishes, during commercials – because practice makes you perfect. Try to get the instrumentals track on a CD or some portable MP3 player so you can sing along without hearing the other singer. You’ll probably never learn to lead with your voice if you practice singing with someone else’s voice all the time. To improve your karaoke, listen to the song with headphones and record yourself singing along. Try to record yourself and listen back. Taking time to write all the words will help you memorize them quickly. Think about what the words actually mean. It’s surprising how much better we sound when we really understand the meaning behind the words.
Pick a Stage
Options for karaoke in most urban areas are usually twofold – public gatherings and private rooms. Both will wind up costing you a substantial amount of money, whether for room rental, DJ tripping or drinks. Some karaoke venues have regulars who are friendly and who cheer each other on. That’s something you’re looking for – not a place with high turnover and bad sports who complain about bad singers. But the bigger the crowd, the better! You’d also never do karaoke in one of those private rooms either; they seem just so weird. Also, check how the screens are arranged. You might want to consider the option of facing away from the audience so that if you get nervous or something while in the middle of your performance, you can look at a screen that doesn’t force you to look at the audience.
Before you take to the stage all by yourself, find a decent singer to do karaoke with. You should do with someone who’s already comfortable singing in public and who can garner a little bit of cheering and clapping to motivate you. It’s okay to be nervous the whole time, but in the end, when it’s over and done with, you’ll only remember the cheering crowds and feel good about having performed and the next time you won’t be as intimidating.
Sing Like You Mean It
Now that you’ve determined what you’re singing and you’re all set to hit the stage, it’s time to suss out how to pull off your performance. This is the most fun part! The trick is to have confidence – easier said than done. The main thing to remember is that a great karaoke performance doesn’t have to involve making your voice reach levels of angelic. It’s all about knowing what you want to do and knowing how to maneuver around in that space. Going in all doesn’t necessarily have to mean being loud enough to not need a microphone; it just means being present at the moment and aware of what you’re singing.
This, of course, is the most important part. Smile, move to the music and enjoy your time to the fullest in the spotlight because this could be your moment of the lifetime. Remember, you’re not there to impress the cheering crowd – you’re there to have a good time and the crowd wants to have a good time with you, so be bold and confident and sing your heart out. Let loose yourself in the moment on stage and become a different person for those best three or four minutes. Just forget everything and have FUN!