Learn a Song by Heart

You’re just about to let loose in one of your favorite songs. But oops, the lyrics are gone! This blog gives you some tips to learn a song by heart.

The voice is a talking instrument

One of the great things about singing is that mind, body and soul are in full swing at the same time.
When you sing, you can express deep emotions and even transform them.

The words of a song give body and meaning to music. An added dimension.
You are carrying this great instrument that is the only instrument that has words! So you might as well give yourself the present of learning a few songs by heart – to be enjoyed by you and those around you for a long time to come.
There’s great freedom in that.

Tip #1: Whisper the lyrics

You can really connect with the lyrics when you let go of the melody for a while. Try reading the lyrics out loud and then whisper them. Notice the difference. Whisper quietly and listen to the words. You’re creating a deeper connection to the lyrics, and connecting the meaning of the words to yourself. This is a great foundation for expressing your song.

Tip #2: Break up the song

If learning a song by heart seems a bit overwhelming, commit yourself to learning just a little bit every day. E.g. Day one could be a good day to learn the chorus. Day two repeat the chorus and add verse 1. Day three repeat verse 1 and the chorus, add verse 2, and so on.

Pay extra attention to the small, less significant words (e.g. that/this, of/at etc.) – they need a bit more repetition.
Before you know it, you’ll know the song by heart!

Tip #3: Express the lyrics

Say the lyrics out loud as if you are talking to a friend.
Now, play with the words. If you’re an introvert, this is the part where you can challenge yourself.
Add a bit of drama, exaggerate the expression of the song (what exaggerate means to you will of course depend on your temper). E. g. if the lyrics have a sad theme, sense the sadness in your voice, if it’s a romantic song, create a romantic mood. Be melancholic, joyous, seductive… Whatever you feel the song calls for.
See if you can get a bit out of your comfort zone. If it feels a bit awkward or out of character, you’re doing well!

Tip #4: Write down the lyrics

If you are a visual person, you might learn the lyrics best by writing them down. This will also make the lyrics more personal for you as you see the words in your own writing. You will eventually express the song in a way that only you can do it.

Happy Singing!

© Nína O’Farrell 2020
Photo by Negative Space

Feel free to leave questions / comments.

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