Tonight, I’ll be heading to my usual Tuesday hang-out. It’s right down the road. There are drinks, friends, a television screen, and a microphone. That’s right, I am a karaoke regular. I have been doing karaoke nearly every week for the better part of the last 3-4 years. For a lot of people, karaoke is something that seems scary or impossible to even try, at least, without some serious social lubrication, but I’m going to give you some tips to have fun without landing on the wrong part of youtube.

Photo by Flickr user Derek Gavey

Karaoke Basics

First thing, you have to find out the system being used. Usually, there are books with songs listed either by song or artist. You write down the information on little slips of paper and hand them to the person running the karaoke. Sometimes, there are numbers associated with each song, but in today’s age of computers, there aren’t always. The one thing you always need is to put down a stage name. Most karaoke places don’t care what you call yourself as long as it’s clean. I sing under my actual name, but I’m less than creative. Lots of people I know liked to sing under a pseudonym. Sometimes, people get really creative. Whatever helps you get up there and do your thing!

Choosing Your Song

You should consider what your goal is for the evening. If it’s to enjoy yourself and have fun, pick your favorite songs, no matter what others might say. If you like to get the room involved, pick party pleasers, and songs people can sing along to. I like to read the room. I always have the mind of a performer, watching for who is interested and what they might like. However, I usually do something early on that’s just for me.

Sing with a friend for a confidence boost! Photo by flickr user Shane K

It really doesn’t matter how well you think you can sing the song most of the time, as long as you enjoy it. I usually tell people to pick something they know, because if you know it pretty well, it will sound good and you will feel confident singing it. Do be prepared that sometimes karaoke versions are different than the original, but be ready to just go with anything. Also, feel free to ignore things you don’t like. I love to sing Shania Twain’s From This Moment On, but it usually has some weird spoken part at the beginning that I always skip. I also like to skip long, drawn-out endings as well. I just put the mic back, and leave the stage. That one works well with extended versions of Don’t Stop Believing or Hotel California.

I do suggest avoiding a few things. Avoid pieces that have long musical interludes. Carry On My Wayward Son for example. I love that song, but not at karaoke. Avoid things that are very fast unless you know it well, the words come and go quicker than you might think. Avoid songs that are in a very high range unless you know you’ve got it. It will hurt your vocal chords as well as everyone’s ears.

An example of a karaoke book with numbers. Photo by flickr user Handolio

Getting Your Geek On

Yes, you can karaoke Dr. Horrible. In fact, we used to karaoke random things all the time at my place in Massachusetts. There, they had a computer set-up and connected to the internet and would play youtube karaoke, which has quite the range of options. I’ve also done some Jonathan Coulton and They Might Be Giants. A friend of mine found some Nightmare Before Christmas pieces. I very commonly become a musical theater geek early in the night, which can be a load of fun with a well done version of Cain’t Say No from Oklahoma or All That Jazz from Chicago. My friends and I are pretty eclectic music geeks, so you never really know what might happen when I’m at the mic.

The Devil is in the Details – or Playing Fiddle for Souls in Georgia

Don’t get hung up on things like what to sing, what you look like, or how you’ll sound. Karaoke is fun because it’s a huge mix. I’m a good singer, but I applaud loudly and give my attention to anyone who has the guts to get up there and have a good time. Also, a little drinking may be good for your confidence, but a lot  makes you impossible to understand and no fun to watch, so find a good balance. One quick pro tip: keep the mic close to your mouth. Most people are too quiet. Even if you think you stick out, it’s a big, loud space, you are probably fine. Let the person running the karaoke deal with it. That’s why they get paid.

This kiddo is giving it her all, how about you try? Photo by flickr user Scott

My tl;dr tips for how-to karaoke: Go with a friend or two., sing something you love without worrying, about anyone else, and let yourself enjoy it! Done right, karaoke is fun, a great release, and a relaxing time. That’s why I’m there every week, and maybe after a few tries, you will be too!

Leave a Reply

This blog is kept spam free by WP-SpamFree.

Online Games Today in Geek History