Learning lyrics is part of life for singers. You can’t get up on stage and read from a music stand; its just not professional. Plus you want to be free to look at your audience, move around the stage etc.. and you can’t do that if you’re rooted to one spot because you haven’t learned your lyrics.
So what happens if you’re one of those singers who has trouble getting lyrics to stick?
If this is you, then you’re not alone. Many singers forget lyrics mid-song or their minds go blank when they get up on stage. On the rare occasion I forget my lyrics (I’m usually really good at remembering them), I scat; which is a jazz technique using nonsense syllables.
However scatting might not be a get-out-of-lyric-jail option for you and so here are three super methods for learning and remembering your lyrics.
- Listen and copy
Put two versions of the song you want to learn onto your phone or CD or whatever you use to listen to, and the first version needs to be the actual song with the artist singing the lyrics. Then straight after that song you want to listen to the backing track of that song.
When we sing along WITH the artist, we don’t really memorize the lyrics because the artist is constantly reminding us of what they are. Having the backing track forces you to memorize the lyrics yourself.
I like to do this in my car because when I’m at home I bored going over and over the same song but when I’m driving, or out running (which is probably a safer and better idea), I find the information gets stuck in my brain better because I’m doing something else repetitive at the same time. There have been studies that show that if you do an easy, repetitive physical action while learning new information, the brain retains a lot more of what you have just listened to.
- Read through the lyrics properly and work out what they mean.
What is the song really about and what is the artist trying to say? Imagine yourself walking through the song and having it play out in your mind. If the lyrics say ‘come on lets party tonight’ then imagine yourself getting dressed up to go out to a party.
It will help you to remember your lyrics because most songs follow a story line. You go out to a party and then what? you meet a guy, or dance with your friends… its going to be party-based. You won’t hear something about being alone in your room feeling sad.
And as an added bonus, this technique will help you to deliver the song better because you know what it is you’re singing about.
- Try a written method of learning to kickstart your memory
People learn in a variety of ways. Some people prefer to listen, some people need things visually in front of them to learn, while some people need to write the lyrics out themselves in order for them to get stuck in your brain.
Throughout our school years, we do a lot of learning this way, the teachers will regurgitate a bunch of info, we write it out either by hand or on the computer and then it goes into our brain. You can do the same thing with learning lyrics.
Instead of downloading lyrics online, take the time to write them out and you’ll probably find that you start remembering them.
So now you have three different methods for remembering song lyrics – so just choose whichever method you feel with work best for you, and please let me know if this has helped you in the comments below.