Choose a song you love and can relate to on a personal level. If you must sing a song you do not like, find correlations in your life to try to relate to the subject of the song. Try to learn to love it. (You HAVE to learn to love it when you are hired and they are paying you a lot of money!)
Make 3 copies of the song. The first copy is your clean copy, which you can reference until you have the song memorized. The second is to mark with instructions for your accompanist. The third is your working copy which you give to me to make notes during your lesson. You should refer to that copy when practicing. Put the copies in a binder, putting the first page of the song on the left side in a clear plastic sleeve and putting all subsequent pages back to back like a book.
Speak the lyrics over and over and make notes of the creative ideas that come to you on the working copy. Say the words as a monologue. Say them repeatedly again and let your inspiration run wild and guide you!
I suggest learning the song backwards, starting with the last page! This way, your voice is fresh when you begin practicing. The muscle memory takes over and the voice stays fresh as you are singing through the song from the beginning at a later time!
It is preferable to have your lyrics memorized as soon as possible, even before singing the song out loud. I like to learn my lyrics by hand writing them on a 3 x 5 card and carrying it with me during the day. I use yellow and pink markers to highlight any lines that are particularly elusive to me. I refer to the card all day long, repeating the lines out loud. This method has allowed me to learn entire operas in a very short time!!
If you play piano, learn the melody with the piano. If you do not play piano, learn the melody with a tape of someone playing the melody as well as the accompaniment. To save the voice, try to learn the melody without singing it. Sing it after you have learned the notes! If you are using sheet music, mark off the beats so you can learn the rhythms quickly and precisely.
Whenever possible, listen to a CD of the original only after you have developed your own ideas of what you want to do with the song. Listen to the artist perform the song, but do not copy their sound, vocal style or their inadequacies.
Practice the melody on a lip or tongue trill, and notice the complete freedom in your larynx. Then practice it on muh, nay, nah, neh, and/or nuh.
Sing the song all on vowels.
Practice the song using the original vowels.
NOW you should be ready to sing the song with the actual words!
TELL the story. Make the story your own.
Find correlations in your life that correspond to the emotions and situations in the song.
Write down your objective of the song. What does your character want? Who is singing the song? Are you a character or are you singing the song as YOU?
Write your subtexts over each line. Plan your gazing spots. Where are your eyes focused? To whom are you singing? Are you speaking with the audience or to an imaginary person?
Sing the song in front of a mirror. Make sure that you do not have any extra tension in your face or neck. Check to make sure that you are using your body and support system properly.
Use your inspiration and your acting skills!
Perform the song with an accompanist. Use a karaoke version if you do not have a pianist.
Perform the song for your family and friends.
Perform the song as much as you can!
Sing the song at least once a week after you know it to keep it in your repertoire!!
Do not sacrifice tone quality, ease or the correct technique for what you may think is style. Every style can be produced with the proper technique.
And most important, ENJOY both the performance and the learning process!
Badiene is appearing in “The Next Big Thing” airing Tuesday, June 12th at 11:00pm following The Glee Project.