How To Look Professional Singing
Backing Tracks...Even When You
Don't Know The Lyrics!
If you're anything like me, you
probably need to practice singing a new song several times before
you can commit the full lyric to memory. This can be a real pain
when you're really keen to sing a great new backing track you've
just bought, but don't want look like an amateur by standing on
the stage holding a sheet of paper with the lyric!
Some singers I know use a "music stand" and place their
lyrics on it - I wish they wouldn't. A music stand just looks
silly if you're a solo singer and not playing an instrument. It
suggests to the audience that you're "not professional enough"
to know the words, or worse, haven't bothered to learn them (this
may sound like very unfair comments, but sadly the entertainment
business is very unfair and audiences are notoriously fickle).
As if that's not bad enough, when the audience see you looking
at a lyric sheet, it makes them feel like you're more interested
in the lyric sheet than them...which in turn makes them equally
"disinterested" in you.
Most professional entertainers will tell you from bitter experience
that it doesn't take much to lose an audiences interest. So there's
nothing more disheartening than working hard the whole evening
to successfully captivate an audience, only to "lose"
them by ignoring them for 3 and a half minutes while you sing
a song and stare blankly at a piece of paper with the words written
So what can you do if you MUST have the words of the song in front
of you, but don't want to look unprofessional or lose contact
with your audience?
Easy! Display the lyrics on your iPod!
Did you know that the Apple iPod can display lyrics at the
same time as a song is playing? (and I don't mean karaoke)!
This capability isn't new, in fact it's been available on standard
iPods and Nanos for quite a while and Apple have now added this
facility to the new iPod Touch and iPhone. It's all done via the
iTunes software on your PC (or Mac) and is pretty simple to do:
Select the backing track you want to enter a lyric for, then from
the File menu click "Get Info".
Select the "Lyrics" tab which will bring up an empty
window where you can enter the backing track lyric. You can type
in the backing track lyric manually or copy and paste it from
a word document, web page or text file.
Click OK, and when you next synchronize the backing track with
your iPod, the lyrics will be in there with it.
To view the lyrics while the backing
track is playing, press the iPods large centre button multiple
times until the lyrics appear. On the iPod Touch and iPhone, tap
the image of the album cover while the backing track is playing
and the lyric will display.
Most singers I know keep their iPod close to them on stage by
mounting it on their microphone stand. This makes it easy to see
and operate while you're performing, and now, it also means that
you can glance at the lyrics, hopefully without your audience
noticing you're doing it. This looks so much better than using
a music stand or holding a piece of paper (both of which are noticable
enough to create psychological barriers between you and the audience).
And finally, I know that the size of the text and screen on the
Apple iPod has long since been an issue for some singers with
poorer eyesight, so the idea of putting lyrics on the iPod won't
suit everyone. But if you currently use an iPod for backing tracks,
then you'll already be used to reading small text to make song
selections, adjust volume etc, so this could be just the thing
Article Written by Kenny Campbell
(This article cannot be reproduced without express
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