All of us human beings love to sing. However, not all of us can memorize a song quickly. Some forget the lyrics as they sing, while others lose track of the melody, and at the same time there are people who fail to complete both.
Singing is both mind and muscle memory. Unlike reciting a speech in which you voice out the words and sentences, in singing you also have to provide the harmony that goes with the lyrics. This can be very tricky to master, because once you make a mistake on either the lyrics or the notes, the whole song might get ruined.
Are you preparing to sing a song in front of an audience? If your answer is yes and you’re having a hard time memorizing your piece, the here are some quick tips that may come in handy:
- Listen to the song on repeat.
Yes, this can be tiring at first, especially when you’re undergoing singing lessons and your teacher assigned you a song to perform within a few days (or even hours). But rather than trying to memorize the lyrics and melody right away, you may want to listen to the song on repeat first. This allows your brain to do two things: acknowledge and recognize.
The brain first acknowledges the song and its elements, and processes the information until it finally recognizes it as a whole piece. You know it when your brain already recognizes the song because you’ll find yourself humming to it (or even singing parts of it) unconsciously.
- Jot down the lyrics.
When you are pressed for time, you may want to jot down the lyrics of the song right away so that you can form some kind of mnemonics, a method wherein you create your own memory que. You can use the first letter of each line and make an acronym out of them, or highlight the words of each stanza that immediately caught your attention. This way you reduce your chances of interchanging the lyrics in the middle of singing.
- Read the lyrics while humming to the melody.
Some music teachers use this technique in their singing lessons, wherein they ask their students to hum the melody first while silently reading the lyrics of the song. This is very helpful because the brain picks up tunes and words separately; through this technique, you are able to give your brain the space to digest these bits of information while at the same time linking the lyrics to melody together.
Through this method you are also able to grasp the beat and tempo of the song, and during practice you can tap your fingers slightly in order to gauge your timing until you finally know when and where to place the lyrics with the song’s melody.
- Do some karaoke.
If you have more time to memorize your piece, then you better practice singing via karaoke. In karaoke you are provided the song’s melody to follow, with its lyrics flashing on the screen. Karaoke practice helps a lot not only in memorizing the song as a whole, but also in finding the proper timing, i.e. to which beat you have start singing.
And yes, karaoke singing is fun too-you won’t even feel like you’re rehearsing for an upcoming performance or undergoing actual singing lessons!
- Internalize the song’s meaning.
Perhaps the best and quickest way to learn a song is when you can relate to its meaning and story. Hence, when given a piece to memorize, you may want to go through its lyrics and understand what they mean, or what they are about. When you can relate to the song, you not only get to memorize it faster; you are also able to sing it with more empathy because you feel its emotions too.