Originally published Tuesday, 27 March 2012.
1. Be confident. Some would say that this should come first and confidence second, seeing that knowing your stuff would build more confidence. I agree and disagree. I agree that practice will always aid in your confidence. However, there may be times when you're thrown into something last minute and the time just isn't there. So whether you're singing karaoke or a competition (and everywhere else in between), your confidence level will translate over to the audience. If you lack confidence in yourself, they won't hear you. They will only see you. Your insides may be turning and toiling but remind yourself that you can do this! Don't let your fears get in the way of the fun.
2. Know your stuff. Practice makes permanent. Don't practice whimsically. Take good notes, do your homework and repetition is your new best friend. An unprepared singer leaves a bad taste with everyone. On the other hand, prepared singer exudes professionalism.
3. Connect with what you are singing. We've all seen this done well and not so well. When a singer connects with what he/she is singing, the audience is captivated. Take time to study your song, read background info if it's available. Study the artist or writer and figure out the intentions behind it. The more you kno, the more you show.
4. Listen to your song first. Don't try to sing along with it immediately. Listen intently, hearing all the little twist and turns and registering them in your brain waves so that your voice knows what to do. Can't sing what you can't hear.
5. Drink water before and after singing (practice and performance). Water is a non-optional element of singing. Drink at least 16 oz of water during the day of your performance and 16 oz after. During it good but very rarely do you get to take a water break between performances.
6. Take a big breath. Seriously. Don't forget to breathe. Between nerves, thought process, and performing, one can forget to do what comes most naturally to every human being! Breathing. Take deep, quick breaths. Sometimes it helps to plan out what parts of your song you will breathe at.
7. Warm up your voice. Just as a runner doesn't run a marathon without warming up, one shouldn't sing without doing some exercises. Find some that work for you and always, always, always warm up before singing. This prevents damage and boosts performance.
8. Find a Tough Critic Sometimes we are our worst critics. We can be both too hard and too easy on ourselves. Find someone that you trust, that has a good ear, and that won't be afraid to tell you the honest truth. Then brace yourself for some pointers. It will sting a little to hear, you're a little flat on the chorus or that one note doesn't sound right or even this song may not be the best for your voice, but in the long run it's worth it.
9. Sing With Someone Else This can be in an unlimited amount of settings: a choir, an ensemble, a quartet, a duet, with your mom, your friend, in lessons, etc. Singing with other people helps make your voice pliable. It sharpens your ears to listen to what's going on around you and gives you the chance to learn more advanced techniques like blending, harmonizing, and soloing.
10. Stop taking yourself too seriously. Even the big shots have to get to a point where they have fun at what they do. When all the pressure to be "the best" feels like it's bogging your joy down, remember why you started singing in the first place. Don't take yourself too seriously. Your body reacts to stress and people can sense it in your voice. Have fun~
**Want more than nuggets? Check out the full online singing course that will help you put these 10 into practice and see your voice improve!