Tips In the Digital Age
would have ever thought that singing has anything to do with
this article, Im going give away some of my secrets on
how I use todays technology to expand my repertoire and
significantly improve my singing ability.
my secret weapon? Its called a "portable MP3 player."
In case you havent heard of one of these before, its
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 wont 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. Lets begin with
If I have
a song that I want to learn, I first buy the song on a CD if
I dont 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 Im ready, I go ahead and start
singing along. Youll know right off the bat if the song
is not in your range of if its too difficult, which can
save you a lot of embarrassment!
If I find
a song I like and think I can do, Ill 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
theres 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
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 youll soon become a walking Karaoke machine!
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!
with the kind permission of
Richard Baisner a.k.a.