How To Karaoke: A Guide for the Shy First-Timer

Tonight I went out for karaoke with a group of libertarian friends. As a bunch tied together by common interests and beliefs and work in the area of political philosophy and economics, you wouldn’t think of us as the outgoing creative performer types. But we pulled it off.

Karaoke, like anything, can be learned. And there are a few ways to warm up to it despite the potential for failure and embarrassment:

0. Pick a crowd pleaser. I’m putting this one as Tip #0 because it’s both obvious and unoriginal but still so important and worth mentioning. Karaoke (when good) is not just about you. Your song choice should have people singing along, so don’t go singing an obscure folk or alt-rock song no one knows.

1. Know your vocal range. It can be easy to think yourself capable of handling songs by the likes of Hall and Oates and Whitney Houston, but that would be a mistake. Remember that you need to be able to sing loudly at a comfortable range that isn’t going to be squeaky and squawky the whole way through. It may be that there are only a few songs out there that fit the bill for you. Get to know which songs will work in advance by trying to sing along in private.

2. Do some vocal warmup. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you while you are singing. Sing along when other people sing. This will warm you up for when your time comes.

3. Move around. There is nothing more awkward or boring than just standing on a stage while a group of your friends sit at chairs and look at you. Dance around a bit. Walk around as you sing. Close the distance between yourself and your hearers.

4. Solicit crowd participation. Don’t just wait for people to join in. Push the matter. Ask them to sing out certain lines, ask them to clap/snap along, or put someone on the spot to join you in a duet. Have fun with them, and have fun with it.

5. Wear sunglasses (or some kind of disguise). Upping your swag factor and hiding your eyes/identity can have a major effect on your boldness in singing, dancing, and performing. It’s my alternative to drinking.

Photo by Kane Reinholdtsen on Unsplash

James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

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