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Achieve Total Recall with Your Lyrics

You don’t ever need to be let down by your memory –says Mark De-Lisser

I have heard many singers in live performance and in audition situations forget their words.

Some of the singers have magnificent voices but are let down by their forgetfulness.

Now I know that none of us are perfect, I too have forgotten words in a live performance.

More famously Ella Fitzgerald forgot the words to Mack the Knife live in Berlin 1960.

She improvised her way to the end of the song and in doing so created a masterpiece.

However, if you don’t have the improvisational skills of Ella there are a few practical things that you can do that may help you out.

Normally, the songs that we struggle with are cover songs that we have no real connection to when we first hear them. So let’s look at this:

How To Remember Your Words – 5 Steps

Step 1: Gather these materials: your track in audio form, pen & paper highlighter pen, your voice. That’s all.

Step 2: Play the song from start to finish marking down on the paper the sections, verses 1, 2, choruses and bridge if any. Leave space on the page to write out the words for these sections.

Step 3: Play the song again, this time start writing out the words to the verses and choruses etc, pausing the song each time so that you can catch up with the writing. Whilst doing this you must sing the line as you write it. It won’t be in the actual tempo of the song unless you can write that fast or it’s a particularly slow song. It’s important that you write it out and not type it.

Step 4: When you reach the end of the song play the song again from the start, looking at the words and singing them at the track tempo whilst highlighting the words as you sing them. Do this two or three times and you should now have committed them to memory.

Step 5: Hide the paper, start the backing track and see what happens.

My Reactions To This Week’s Peer Review Vids

Amanda – Climax by Usher (Cover)

Amanda – a really nicely crafted song performance. Your movement from that breathy falsetto sound to your chest voice was for the most part well controlled and delivered with confidence. Some minor pitching issues but nothing to detract from a really nice performance. I feel you could have lost yourself even more in this performance from the
start. Your first statement about not being able to make the performance attractive I feel has caused you to think about this more than the sentiment of the song. Always be true to the sentiment of the song and allow your face and physicality to be natural and reflect this.

Gabby Womack – You Make It Real (Cover)

Gabby – you have a lovely tone which is very much focused in the pharyngeal region of your vocal makeup which means there isn’t much specificity in your articulation at the front of the mouth. It’s important to gain some frontal placement to get a little more
crispness in your articulation. One way of doing this is to use tongue twisters that focus on the sounds p, b, m, w, and wh. These will allow for a greater awareness of the lips for articulation.

– Mark De-Lisser

Check out Mark’s Feature Interview with VoiceCouncil

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Mark De-Lisser is a vocal coach, vocal arranger, choir leader and vocal producer who has worked with some of the top vocal talent in contemporary music today including Jessie J, Olly Murs, Jamie Woon and Beverly Knight. Mark has taught at many recognized music institutions and held several high profile TV roles including Vocal Coach on BBC’s The Voice UK. Mark actively leads the renowned ACM Gospel Choir and has published “Sing Out!”, two volumes of pop songs for contemporary choirs. Find out more on Mark’s website: www.markdelisser.com

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  • Anonymous
  • Might I suggest from my own experience that one can get a more empathetic way of hearing themselves sings as others do, by giving time to listening to themselves sing while wearing headphones……not Earphones as they do not convey enough bandwidth feedback to the listener. In this way one can hear, feel and sense the emotive nuances of their vocalising just as their audience does. I have always found this of great help before making a final recording on my own system. The more emotively the listener is tuned into your rendition, the greater is their appreciation of you.

  • My suggestion about how to better memorise lyrics is to get into the habit of creating a visual story that “YOU understand” in YOUR mind as to what the song is REALLY about. A bit like writing a brief virtual play or drama in the mind. The better you understand the flow of the story from start to finish, grasp its theme and the purpose of the message behind the writing of the song, the easier it becomes to follow and thus more pleasurable and acceptable to you, so as to more readily commit the lyrics to memory

  • My translation for the frenchies with one more final step: Do this before bedtime to let your brain finish the work during the night…

    Comment Apprendre les paroles de ses chansons en 6 étapes

    Étape 1: 
    Préparatifs : La piste audio, un stylo et une feuille de papier, votre voix. Voilà tout.

    Étape 2: 
    Faites jouer la chanson du début à la fin et marquez sur le papier les couplets, refrains, etc…
    Laissez de l’espace sur la page pour écrire les mots pour ces parties.

    Étape 3: 
    Faites jouer la chanson,
    Ecrivez les mots pour les couplets et refrains etc, en mettant sur pause à chaque fois pour avoir le temps d’écrire.
    Tout en faisant cela, vous devez chanter la ligne comme vous l’écrivez.
    Ne vous préocupez pas du tempo.
    Il est important de l’écrire et de ne pas taper.

    Étape 4: 
    Lorsque vous atteignez la fin de la chanson jouer le morceau à partir du début, en regardant les paroles et en les chantant au rythme tout en soulignant les mots en même temps que vous les chantez.
    Faites cela deux ou trois fois et vous devriez maintenant avoir mémorisé.

    Étape 5: 
    Masquez les paroles et lancez la chanson !

    Etape 6:
    Choisissez votre moment, le meilleur étant avant de dormir pour laisser votre cerveau finir le travail pendant la nuit.