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Tips for Singers:
Mastering Fast Songs
by Richard Baisner

I have a reputation of being able to sing the fastest songs, word for word, without error.

Fast songs are fun to sing, and it's always impressive if you can do them correctly. I've won many contests with some of them. Just how do I do it? In this article, I'm going to discuss some of my techniques to master any fast song, whether it be hip hop, rap, country, 80's, or 90's songs. But, be prepare for some hard work ahead!

If you're ready to take on the challenge, the first step is to memorize the lyrics. Sometimes the on-screen lyrics won't be in sync, they will wipe too fast to read, they are often incorrect, and sometimes they can be very distracting and less than useful. Therefore, I've found that the best thing to do is memorize all the lyrics beforehand to avoid any possible hiccups. I've discussed song memorizations techniques in another article, but for now the best way to memorize your song is to listen to it repeatedly while simultaneously reading the lyrics. Usually it takes me an average of four to six hours to memorize a song, and it will take just as long (if not longer) to master it.

Once you have the song memorized, you can begin perfecting the phonetics. Pay very close attention to how the original artist pronounces each word, each syllable, and each consonant. Sometimes I would have a very difficult time trying to sing some very fast verses. But, after listening very closely, I noticed the artist didn't fully pronounce each syllable correctly as expected. For example, "and" can be pronounced "an", "to" can be pronounced "ta", etc. Combine words together whenever applicable such as "don'tcha" or "comindagetcha" instead of "coming to get you". Mentally picture each new made-up "phrase" when you sing along during practice, instead of trying to fully pronounce each specific word.

Next comes the timing. After you get all the phonetics mastered, study the beat of the song very carefully. You will notice that certain words or syllables fall on specific beats or notes. For example, your song might have four drum beats during a fast lyrical section. Each beat may "land" on a specific syllable. If you have your lyrics printed up on a lyric sheet, highlight or circle each syllable that the beat falls on throughout every fast part. Next, try to sing those syllables so that they land on those specific beats. You'll find that your timing will improve dramatically! Next, I go through my lyric sheet and underline any syllable that is sung longer than the rest. Another thing that helps is to listen very carefully for when the original artist takes a breath, and I try to do the same at the same time. Not only will this give you the appropriate pause needed, but it will make you sound more like the original artist. As a bonus, it will prevent you from running out of oxygen and fainting on stage!

Advanced Techniques: If you wish to fully master your song, it will help to have a portable MP3 player or other device that can "loop" back a specific fast section over and over until you have it down pat. Doing this also lets you learn the song piece by piece, instead of being overwhelmed at once. If you have the technical capability to speed up and slow down your song, it's advantageous to practice both ways. During practice, I will oftentimes increase the speed of my song even faster than what it normally is. This way, it will seem a heck of a lot easier when you're performing it live! If you slow down your song, it will allow you to practice singing it phonetically correct.

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

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