Preparing for a Solo

Tom DBass Tom tells us about his preparations to sing a solo section in our upcoming concert…
You may already know that singing in a group has calming benefits for your brain and can even boost your immune system. But do those benefits apply to singing a solo piece? I’m not so certain!
Singing a solo can be a very daunting experience, especially if you’re not a professional singer. Why would you put yourself through that?!
Well for this season’s concert, our theatrical extravaganza One Night Only, I decided to do just that. The part in question is only a few lines in a song, but to me it’s a pretty big deal.
When I was then offered the part I managed a smile – but inside my brain was screaming at me OH GOD, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?! Needless to say I wasn’t feeling any of the ‘calming benefits’!
Performing doesn’t come naturally to all of us; however they do say the greatest things happen outside your comfort zone. Over the past few weeks I’ve tried to adopt a few tips for how to approach a solo with confidence, and make it seem like you’ve got it nailed.
So here are the tips I’m following while preparing for next month’s solo:

  1. Choose the song wisely

Rehearsals This season’s concert One Night Only is a showcase of songs from musical theatre and opera. The song I auditioned for is from one of my favourite shows, so when it appeared in the repertoire I was already looking forward to singing it with the choir.
If you already have an interest in the song, your enthusiasm should come across in your audition. It also helps if the song is in a suitable key for your voice.
So if you’re able to choose a song, use that choice to your benefit.

  1. Prepare for the audition

Of course, you need to prepare for the audition. But already knowing the song doesn’t always help, because you might be singing a different arrangement.
Also, preparation doesn’t just mean knowing the piece you’re expected to sing. Some classic tips for getting ready for an audition are to get a good night’s sleep the night before, and warm up properly.
But for me the most useful tip I found was to simply relax and try to enjoy it!

  1. Take many showers

RehearsalI’ve tried various locations, and the shower seems to be the best place to practice. Not only is steam great for the voice, but bathroom acoustics are awesome. Plus, you have the best audience.
Practice your solo piece in the shower. Do it once a day until concert day, or your housemates beg you to stop (whichever is sooner).

  1. Get the body language and posture right

I’m still learning this. A good starting point for posture is keeping the shoulders back and jaw relaxed. But since my song is from a musical, it’s sung by a character. So I have to think about their feelings, and what’s happening in the plot.
I think this is the most difficult part. It’s not easy to pretend to be someone else, especially on stage. Actors make it look easy. But the best performances come from being sure of yourself, and a big part of that is expressed in your body language.

  1. Concert-ready

RehearsalOn the day of the concert, it’s important to relax. All the preparation is now done. I know I’ll be OK for most of the day, but then become a bag of nerves about half an hour before the concert starts!
And then there’s the all-important warm-up. If you’ve not got a warm-up routine sorted, try these tips from Celine…
One tip to settle any last-minute butterflies is to step outside of yourself for a second, and watch how you’re feeling. This disconnect can help put those nerves into perspective. Then relax into the performance and go for it!
Singing solo in the Pinkies
Rehearsal One of the things I love about the Pink Singers is that solo auditions are open to all choir members. It’s not about having the best technique – if you’re passionate and you want to sing your heart out in front of hundreds of fans (we have the best fans), you can do it.
Soloists get extra rehearsal time, with support and coaching from our artistic team to help your performance.
So if you want to know more, why not try it for yourself – come join us in our next season starting from September! Oh, and if you want to know the song is – well you will just have to wait and see, grab your tickets here now!

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