This article is designed to help anyone to enjoy karaoke and improve their singing performance whether it be as a "virgin" karaoke singer or as someone starting out on a singing career. It contains tips designed to help old hands and newbies alike achieve a better karaoke singing style. The best piece of advice is to bear in mind that one of the whole idea behind karaoke is that it doesn't matter how good(or bad) your singing is - you are singing for your own enjoyment. The people in the karaoke bar are there usually because they enjoy karaoke too, so it is not expected that you perform like the next American/Pop Idol. In fact some of the most boring karaoke nights I have been to have been spent watching a succession of pretty decent singers. If I wanted that I would go and see a show.
That said there will be many of you out there who desperately want to use karaoke as a step on the road to becoming the next pop idol or want to win a karaoke contest. So here goes....
Choose a song that you are very familiar with and that suits your style of singing. You have probably heard people murdering a very popular song (usually anything by Anastasia) when they would have sounded 10 times better singing a song that they knew well and suited their voice.
If possible take your own karaoke disc, I have never known a kj refuse to play a singer's own disc. You will have practised this to perfection at home and your performance will be 100% better as a result.
Alternatively sign up for a streaming karaoke subscription and you can practise any one of thousands of songs. For advice on streaming karaoke click here. Similarly don't be afraid to ask the kj to change the key to suit your voice. A song that you may struggle with in one key may be just right for you if its taken down a semitone or two. Most digital key changers will allow at least eight steps down and eight steps up.
Unless you have an exceptional singing voice, sing an up-tempo number. Slow romantic love songs (what my Dad would have called a ballad) need a big voice to be done properly. Unless you like straining to hit and hold long high notes give it a miss and choose something quicker which will get the place jumping. Up tempo songs require much less technical ability and in karaoke terms are generally more entertaining. You can usually tell a slow song isn't going too well when the kj starts to wave a lighter in the air. You may find this flattering and make you think
Don't drink too much! Alcohol will make you shout and slur and is definitely not good for the vocal chords or getting your words right!
Don't hassle the karaoke host, he has a set way of prioritising the singers. Generally first time singers are put on first (they jump the queue), so don't expect the singing order to run in exactly the same sequence as the slips were handed in.
Fill in your request slip fully ensuring the track number etc is perfectly correct. There is nothing worse than getting up there only for the wrong song to start.
Treat the mic with respect! Don't shout into it, knock it, twirl it around by its lead or throw it. The kj will not be happy to the say the least and although you probably think you resemble a cool mic throwing rock legend, chances are you just look like a jerk!
Hold the mic about an inch away from your mouth - you should never touch the mic with any part of your mouth or face, both from a singing and a hygenic point of view! For long high notes start with the mic further away from you and as you hold the note slowly bring it nearer. This has the effect of making the note sound stronger and more consistent. As you run out of breath the mic is nearer and the note remains constant. Practise this technique if you can.
If you are really serious there is always the option of singing lessons. There are now some very affordable internet courses which have achieved fantastic results. Give one a try.
Above all ENJOY yourself - that is the whole idea.
Daniel Morris is a writer and designer of The-Karaoke-Advisor.com an online karaoke resource and advice center.
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