How to Prepare for a Singing Competition

As with most competitive events, preparing for a singing competition is always nerve-racking. Luckily, there are a few simple steps you can take, beforehand, to optimise your performance. Music journalist and staff writer for Open Mic UK, Munjeeta Sohal, explains everything you need to do to prepare for a singing competition:

How to prepare in the run-up to the singing competition:

Know yourself and your voice

When preparing for a singing competition, choose songs that you know well, that suit you and avoid songs that are out of your vocal range.

To stand out from the crowd in the singing competition and impress the judges (or the crowd), you need to be original, so be yourself (enhancing the attributes that you feel make you unique) and avoid mimicking other acts.

If you are singing a cover in the competition, be creative and make it your own.

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Engage with the lyrics

Pick a song that you can relate to and learn the meaning of the songs you are singing in order to add some emotional depth to your performance.

Singing with true feeling and emotion is what makes you look authentic in both your singing and your movement on stage. It is authenticity which helps you to connect with your audience and is likely to impress the singing competition judges.

Practise singing & performing

Know the songs you are singing inside out and practice your performance prior to the event to reduce nerves and stage fright.

Getting out there and performing is the best way to practise; there will be open mic nights near you, that welcome new acts.

Plan your outfit well in advance of the singing competition

Decide, in advance, what you are going to wear and how you are going to look: make sure you look the part as this adds to your authenticity. The way you look and dress should fit perfectly with the song you are singing in the contest. Before you choose your competition outfit, study other artists similar to you and how they dress.

Open Mic UK scores contestants on image, performance and originality, as well as singing.

How to prepare the day before the singing competition:

Take some time out

The day before the singing competition, keep your training and practise to a minimum; if you must have a couple of final rehearsals, focus solely on technique.

Caution: Shameless plug ahead! Continue reading below.

Aim to be so well prepared, beforehand, that you can spend the day doing something relaxing and enjoyable.

Be organised in all things

Get everything ready so you feel confident and, dare I say, enjoy the day itself! Have your route planned, food and drinks prepared, your outfit laid out and any paperwork — lyrics, sheet music, documentation — packed.

Get some rest before the singing competition

Get plenty of rest and a good night’s sleep: singing is a workout after all.

How to prepare on the morning of the singing competition:

Wake with plenty of time

In preparation of the singing competition, on the morning before, get up at a decent time to avoid any unnecessary rushing and allow plenty of time to arrive, especially if you are unfamiliar with the area or venue. It is worth checking if there is space or opportunity for a warm up on arrival. If not, ensure your main warm up is done ahead of time.

Eat a light meal before the singing contest

Make sure you eat a light meal before performing but leave a gap of at least an hour beforehand to avoid any digestion issues that could affect your singing.

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How to prepare upon arrival to the singing competition venue:

Warm up your voice

Practise vocal exercises around half an hour before singing to to avoid rushing and get the best out of your voice during the singing performance.

Stay ‘cool’ and enjoy the event!

Be cool, calm and professional. Do your best to stay relaxed and focused on your objective. See “How to Eliminate Stage Fright

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Have you ever performed in a singing competition? What advice would you give to others preparing for a singing competition? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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