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Choosing the Right Song

articles learning to sing videos Feb 11, 2021

Okay, so it's time for you to choose a new song to start working on. This process should be super exciting! You get to go through your favourite music, find yourself a new project and have a whole lot of fun while doing it.

Except that's not always how it works. Sometimes it's just you sitting there with your music app thinking 'where do I even start?' or 'how do I make sure I pick the right song?'.

Don't worry, I've got you!

Choosing the right song is a combination of things - knowing what you want to work on or achieve, knowing what sort of music you want to have a go at and, honestly, trial and error. But before I explain how to choose the right song, let me address one of the most common questions I get;

"Which artist is my voice like? / What artist suits my voice?"

Answer: None of them - and that's FANTASTIC! Your voice is completely unique - one of a kind, just like you. (Unless you have a twin, in which case, your voice is like your twin's, but let's not worry too much about that.)

I can't give you one artist that you should be singing, because there's no artist exactly like you. You will find that there are certain styles of music that your voice works well for (mine, for example, really likes musical theatre) but A) you have to experiment to find that genre and B) it's not like you're only allowed to sing that genre of music.

Alright, so with that said, let's choose the right song!

The first thing you need to ask yourself is this; what am I trying to achieve with this song?

If there's a specific technique you want to work on, search for a song with that technique. If you just want something simple for a quick, easy song to learn, search for something that you're already familiar and comfortable with. If you're planning to perform the song, try to find something you'll enjoy performing.

Next, consider the 80/20 rule

The 80/20 rule is the idea that roughly 80% of the song should be comfortable for you to sing without too much effort. 20% of the song can be more challenging. If more than 20% of the song is hard for you to sing, put it in the later pile and choose a different song (for now).

I always recommend writing down the songs you want to sing but can't quite manage yet, because one day you WILL be able to sing the song. (If you don't believe me, just write it down anyway. You might surprise yourself!)

Finally, Sing the songs!

If you've got a few songs that you think will work, sing all of them and see which one you like the best. I recommend singing through a song before making a final desicion because;

  • Some songs are harder to sing than they seem

  • Some songs are easier to sing than they seem

  • You might find that the range is higher or lower than you expected from listening to the song

  • If you're bored of the song by the time you get to the chorus, you probably don't want to be singing it for long periods of time

Pro Top: Make Yourself a Playlist

I absolutely love a good playlist, and if you use a music or streaming app, this is one of the best ways to keep track of the songs you want to sing. Every time you hear a song you'd like to sing, put it in the playlist! You can also remove songs from the playlist easily if you get bored of that song (or just don't want to sing it anymore.)

I have two playlists (a list of songs that I enjoy singing or want to learn and a 'repertoire' list with all the songs I've learned) as well as a physical list that I write in if I come up with something I want to learn eventually. Seriously, I've had songs on that list for 3 years before I was able to sing them. But you know what? I got there in the end!

Ultimately, it doesn't really matter what song you choose, as long as you HAVE FUN!

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