How To Choose A Song: The powerful strategy that has nothing to do with voice type
How to Choose the Best Song for You
There is so much yummy music out there – so many delicious melodies to be learned – to be written – to be sung… but how do you choose the best song for you? Watch the full instructional video above or read the lesson below…
(This is not a teaching about voice type, range, genre, or the German Fach system… those topics will be in subsequent videos.)
First we are going to soften the word “best” and dip our toes into the idea that we are evolving, fluid, and feeling works of art that live in discovery…. Feeling each moment as new and unique. – “the best song for you” may take on many different colors, textures, and shapes depending on where you are in your artist journey.
We all have teachers and coaches to guide us, we need them, and I firmly believe in the co-creative process between a student and the teacher to build a strong vocal technique.
It is very important to me to build in you your dependency on your own intuition… cultivating the muscle of deep listening – that voice or instinct in you that knows a clear yes and a clear no, or a wants to dig deeper, or remains curious until the answer is clear.
It is from this place that I want you to choose your next song…
Let’s assume that you already know your voice type, understand your vocal range, and have a solid enough technique to navigate throughout your range with consistency … not that there won’t always be things to work on, but that you have tools or someone to help you work through specific challenges.
With that in mind… let’s move forward….
Two Types of Repertoire
I have two types of repertoire… one performing and one for me – sometimes they crossover, but I find having both is necessary.
We are all faced with choosing songs based on some type of outside requirement. It is important to know your crowd, agent, director, record label, the trends, to meet the audition requests, but still there is a lot of wiggle room within that scenario.
It is my feeling that when we give ourselves room to have songs just for us, these songs will deepen our process and inform the choices of the rep we share with our public.
Our art should not be entirely extrinsically motivated with us grasping on to threads of ourselves in each song, but rather a balance between the two, ensuring our inner artist is fed and nurtured, as well as having a marketable product to sell.
I am sure by this point you know what I am going to ask you to do….
1. Hop on youtube, sit with your song books, relax at the piano or guitar and explore the lyrics and melodies with your emotions as your guide. Pull yourself through the arcs of the musical phrases, let your ear feast on the churning accompaniment, the ruckus chords, be brought to your knees by lazar like effect of the music on your heart.
– When the tears fall, you have arrived.
– When the goosebumps arise, you are home.
– When the belly laugh comes out of no (know) where, write down the title.
Cultivate your deep-listening. Let your soul have a vote – have a voice. Meet yourself where you are in that moment with no judgment or expectation and give yourself the gift of that song. It is choosing you for a reason.
You have your list… next, with each song….
2. Speak it – separate the words from the music and make the words your own. Live with them for bit.. Allow yourself to fall in love with the micro-melody and rhythms of each vowel and consonant.
3. Awwww and Oooooo it – Put the melody on your body with vowels and movement. Be truly open to the motion that evolves from this process…. extended arms, low knee bends, spinal curves, shoulder rolls, exaggerated steps or sways… it is your private dance to explore how this sound, this note, in this moment, resonates in you…. infusing every cell of your body with music.
4. How does it feel?
– How is the melody sitting in your voice – overall, is it comfortable… not easy, but comfortable?
– Is there a bigger emotional landscape that wants to be explored through this piece?
– Are you willing to surrender to what it has to teach you?
– Which song are you drawn to?
– Which one do you desire?
Listen for the answer. Now choose which one is “best” for you at this time. It may be the “scary” one, the song in a different language, from a different genre… or even a different gender.
Celebrate your deep listening and this practice in following your instincts. Welcome this song as a friend and begin your journey together to parts unknown.
Wait? Still not sure… take your choices to your vocal coach or teacher and ask for their guidance. He or she will had a valued perspective. Try it on your final choice and see how it goes… no matter what, you will learn more about yourself and your instrument… what a glorious gift that is!
I always love to hear from you… in the comment section below, let me know how this process goes… what song did you choose?
Until next week, always Rejoice In Your Voice™!