This is a guide to how you can learn your music, based on chorister’s experience and expert views.
Learning the Music
Learning the music is the first step, this is important as your brain processes the music differently to the lyrics. Combining the words with music too early may make it difficult to learn the notes later.
CD’s with the music for each section are usually made available. Listen to a track or tracks, with the score several times without any attempt to sing with them; then try singing with the track without the words. Get the notes right first – then once you have the notes right, add the words.
A considerable amount of time at rehearsal can be consumed just by learning the notes, however, by continual listening to the notes, learning them in advance and identifying them with the score, you can prepare yourself to sing your part competently from the very start; rehearsal time can then be better utilised for working on dynamics and presentation.
Learning the Lyrics
Starting from the beginning, memorise the first line. Cover it up and say it out loud. When you are done, check to see if you got it right. If you did, add the next line. If not, try again. Over time, you will be able to keep adding lines until you know the whole song.
Play the song with the music while you sing along. See if you have the words memorised correctly. Try recording it and listening – watch for breaks or pauses where you might need to spend more time.
Write down the lyrics on a notebook. Do this after listening to it a couple of times,and you should be able to memorise it better.
Alternatively, just listen to the song repeatedly. Go over the lyrics in your head as you listen.
Finally, try it without the music.
Whenever you have free time, look over the lyrics. Practice, practice, practice.
Remember that practice does not make perfect. It’s perfect practice that makes perfect. If you practice it again and again with the wrong words, it’s hard to break yourself from that habit you’ve formed.