Putting it together

Sometimes I get so excited when I begin working on a new song that I rush to the piano and give it a try with some full out singing.

While this is rather fun, it may not lead to the best long term results.

So what is the best way to learn a song? I’m sure that every singer has their own process, but this is what I have begun to find the most effective:

  1. The Text: Read it aloud. Learn the words. Work on the diction. Treat it as a dramatic monologue. The composers drew inspiration from the words, so become friends with them!
  2. The Piano: I really like playing the piano part separately, hearing the harmonic shifts and understanding the song from the point of view of the accompaniment. Where am I being harmonically supported? Where are we sharing the melody?
  3. The Voice: Next, I try working on the vocal part with a simple lip trill. Once I feel comfortable with the melodic line, I’ll begin to work with a single vowel (usually an [u] or [a]) and then move on to the vocal combinations in the text.
  4. Putting it together: When everything is vocally in order, it’s time to bring all the pieces together!
  5. Supplementary Ideas: Usually when I’m working on a new piece, I like to listen to as many different recordings as possible. Everyone reading of a piece is unique and I like to go “shopping” for musical ideas!
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