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Tips for Singers:
Singing Tips In the Digital Age
by Richard Baisner

Who would have ever thought that singing has anything to do with technology?

In this article, I’m going give away some of my secrets on how I use today’s technology to expand my repertoire and significantly improve my singing ability.

What’s my secret weapon? It’s called a "portable MP3 player." In case you haven’t heard of one of these before, it’s somewhat like a CD player, but with no discs and with no moving parts. Your favorite songs can be digitally "downloaded" into the device using your computer (soon you won’t even need a computer to do this). Before I go out to sing, I usually put the songs I want to sing into the player so I can refresh my memory on how the songs go. However, most of the time I use the MP3 player to practice new songs. Let’s begin with the basics.

If I have a song that I want to learn, I first buy the song on a CD if I don’t have it already, and I download the song into the MP3 player using my computer. Then, I get the lyrics and read along as I listen to the song until I have a pretty good idea of how the song goes. When I’m ready, I go ahead and start singing along. You’ll know right off the bat if the song is not in your range of if it’s too difficult, which can save you a lot of embarrassment!

If I find a song I like and think I can do, I’ll begin my process of practice and memorization, which I described a few articles back. One of my "specialties" is learning fast songs that no one else tries. In the old days, I would have to manually rewind my tape (or CD) every time I wanted to listen to a part over again. This is where the MP3 player comes in handy. If there’s a part of the song that is unusually difficult or fast, you can set your MP3 player to "loop" back that specific part over and over again until you literally brainwash yourself! You can listen to whole verses, or even just a few seconds of the song repeatedly. Using this type of loop-back feature allows you to practice and memorize the song in pieces, instead of being overwhelmed into learning the entire song at once.

Now, I remember the time I was trying to learn the ending of "Jungle Boogie." The on-screen lyrics were off and even detrimental if you looked at them. I needed to have this part memorized in order to do the song correctly. In this case, I went beyond simply listening to the MP3 file. First, I converted the original song into a WAV format (where I could edit it on my computer) and I copied just the section of the song I needed to practice into a new WAV file. Since I owned the Karaoke CDG of the song as well (without words), I also recorded the instrumental track of the same section into my computer. From here, I appended the two files together and converted it to an MP3 format, where I could download it into my portable MP3 player. In essence, what I have now is 20 seconds of the original song, and then 20 seconds of the Karaoke version, back-to-back. I can now listen to the original sample, and practice on the Karaoke version right away. Set this vocal/instrumental combination on a repeated loop, and you’ll soon become a walking Karaoke machine!

Now comes the ultimate in practicing. Next time you go out singing, ask the Karaoke host if they can tape record your song. Most venues can do this for you for a nominal charge if you ask them. When you get home, hook up a tape player to your computer (line out to line in), and set your computer up to record a WAV file from the line-in source. Play your tape on your tape player and start recording on the computer at the same time. Stop recording when your song ends. Now, you will have your own WAV file of the song with your voice! From here, you can either play it back on your computer to analyze it (it helps if you also have the original song on your computer to compare it to). Or, if you own a portable MP3 player, you can convert your file to an MP3 format and download it into your player to take with you and share with your friends!

(reprinted with the kind permission of
Richard Baisner a.k.a. Grateful)

Singers, looking for great quality custom Karaoke backing tracks? Try these links below:
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