A great tool for memorization is to “storyboard”–something that film makers do to map out scenes before they are shot. Draw a symbol for each idea or part of an idea in each phrase of what you are singing. These can be realistic–or even silly–anything to help you string the parts of the whole together so that you can remember them in order. Here is an example of my storyboard for Bizet’s “Ouvre ton coeur”–just click on the link below (and yes, it’s fine to laugh at my drawing skills or lack thereof!):
Thanks to student Joanne, who asked for online help in learning IPA, or the International Phonetics Alphabet– a crucial tool in being able to accurately (and therefore confidently!) pronounce text in any language for singing or otherwise. I highly recommend that you check out the following links–know that any time invested in learning this skill will pay off in a big way!
This is a video from Peter Ladefoged’s “A Course in Phonetics”
Here’s the link to the same author’s lessons and exercises for learning IPA:
If you’d like to buy the whole course on CD-Rom, here’s a link for that:
It can be really difficult to choose a song to work on if you’ve never done it before, particularly if you want to find a good “learning song”. Here are some suggestions to help you get started with this process
Choose a great composer, someone who is well respected and has many great compositions.
1. For classical selections, some examples that I recommend:
- Mozart (primarily Italian, some German)
- Anything from the 24 Italian Songs and Arias (published by G. Schirmer and available almost anywhere. It’s only available in Med. High or Med. Low—sopranos and tenors should get the Med. High and mezzos (altos) and baritones should get the Med. Low. It goes without saying that altos and basses would get the Med. Low.
- Schubert (German)
- Roger Quilter (English)
- Ernest Chausson (French) Don’t choose French unless instructed that you are ready by your instructor / voice teacher.
2. For Musical Theater:
I have not yet used this software–but have ordered it and will report back. It seems to be a step up from the “true beginner” software, Music Ace, that I reviewed in a previous post. Stay tuned–but if you already use this software and want to comment–please do so! (There’s a free trial version by the way)
Less expensive and with very good reviews is another product:
Ear Master 5
Sometimes the terms “ear training” and “sight singing” (learning how to read music) are used interchangeably. Both of these software programs deal with both, training the ear to hear musically AND helping you to learn to read rhythms and notation accurately.