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Karaoke Tips
Rose Tips on Singing
Singing Do's and Don'ts
Performing
Etiquette
Hosting

Singing
DO:
  • Warm up before singing.
  • Drink lots of water every day.
  • Smile when singing to raise the cheekbones.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Exercise regularly and stay in shape.
  • Breathe properly for singing.
  • Mind your posture and practice proper stance.
  • Allow yourself creative expression and freedom.
  • Practice regularly and productively.
DON'T:
  • Abuse your voice by talking too often, too loudly, incorrectly or screaming.
  • Drink or eat dairy products prior to singing.
  • Allow your vocal cords to become dehydrated or dry.
  • Clear your throat a lot or cough continually.
  • Sing if it hurts.
  • Sing higher or lower than you are comfortable singing.
  • Whisper.
  • Sing over a cold or vocal ailment (strep throat, laryngitis, etc.)
  • Be afraid to sing loudly and proudly.
  • Sing without properly warming up.
This is an excerpt from Rose's Tips on Singing.

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Performing
What you do when you're singing your song is probably more important than how well you sing. We've all seen people who sang well, but just stood looking at the monitor. We've also seen people who don't sing well, perhaps even put the words in the wrong place, that were fun to watch. Those who sing and perform well, can captivate even those who claim to not like karaoke!

Sitting down while you're performing is okay - if you're playing a guitar or piano, or singing Kumbaya around a campfire! It's boring for the audience. If that isn't enough, sitting compresses the gut and chest so you can't hit your full range. Unless there's a reason why you must sit, stand up.

While you're up, do something besides just stand there. After all, Elvis didn't just stand still when he sang his songs, and neither does Pink! Um, using that logic, I guess it's okay to stand still if you're impersonating Roy Orbison, but bring the glasses!

Don't read the words! Sing the song! There's times when I wonder if a singer has even heard the song he or she selected. There's times I know they have heard the song, and are just reading the words. The best advice is to learn the words to the songs you select regularly so you don't even have to look at the monitor.

Controlling the mic is another area many singers can improve their performances. It may look cool to hold a mic with your hand cupped around the top, but you're changing how well the mic will work and increasing the likelihood of feedback. In addition, you should move the mic closer to your mouth during soft parts of a song, and further from your mouth during the parts when the voice increases in volume. If you listen closely to the music you like, you hear the change of emotion in the voice of your favorite artist between the "soft" and "hard" parts of the song, and not a decline or rise in how loud the words are in comparison to the music.

What it comes down to is just have some fun, and cut loose a bit. You'll get a better audience response, and everyone will have more fun!

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Etiquette
We don't want to pretend to be the Miss Manners of karaoke shows, so we'll stop short of telling you how you ought to behave. Still, we couldn't let the opportunity pass to tell you some of the things we see that you should give some thought to, whether you're in the audience, or you're singing.

The audience is important to the purpose of karaoke. The bigger the audience, the better it is for the establishment. However, that doesn't mean that the host can please everyone in the audience. Most hosts are conscientious, and will turn the volume up or down if asked. There are those people, however, who wouldn't mind it if it were background music. Karaoke is live music. Only recorded music can be played at a lower volume than the voice. That doesn't mean, though, that the host should play the music at the volume you prefer. If you honestly cannot stand karaoke, I can only suggest that you not go where it is. If you go, then I suggest you enjoy it as best as you can!

Hosts have some control over the singers' voices, but there are just those people who like to sing who just don't sing, or do a particular song, very well. Unless the establishment has a restriction on who is allowed to sing, it's the karaoke host's job to let everybody participate. We like it when the audience applauds the singers. We don't really care if you're applauding because you're glad the song is over, though!

Singers can be far more of a pain than any audience ever thought of being. Most hosts provide books, slips, and pens or pencils. They do this so you can look up the song, and you can write it down. Most hosts don't have a problem with helping someone remember the name or artist of a song, but you're asking for a lot to have the host remember to put you into the rotation if you simply tell them you want to do a song. On busy nights, they are organizing rotations, cueing up songs, and adjusting music and mics. Not writing down your song is the absolute number one way to get passed over in the rotation.

More disturbing than the people who don't want to look up and write down their own songs, are the people who have to be told five times between turns when their next turn will be. If you've seen singers doing two songs since your last one, it's okay to ask the host if she or he has a slip from you. If so, it will be your turn immediately after your name is called; now go sit down.

Perhaps more annoying than either of those, is when someone grabs a mic during someone else's song to join in. If you want to sing with someone, ask before they start their song. We will simply turn the mic off, and ask you to not do that again, unless the singer gives us a definite sign of approval.

While those actions are bothersome, people who mistreat the equipment can be both costly and dangerous. It's likely that the mic cost somebody upwards of $100. Cords have limited reaches, and the solder connections can break rather easily. If you notice that the host looks upset if you drop or pull the cord on hers or his mic, it's probably that your negligence could cost her or him a day's wages. And don't ever try to pull a Roger Daltrey! If the mic comes off the cord mid swing, it's a dangerous projectile! At our shows, you won't touch the mics after doing it once!

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Hosting
Hosting tips?! Okay, we won't tell you how to run shows "properly," but we've seen some hosts ruin their shows, even lose gigs, over their attitudes and behavior! None of us want to look at ourselves as a problem. However, if people aren't having fun at your gigs, or you can't seem to hold one, it's probably you.

Hosts are entertainers. If you don't regard the job as that, why would the establishment hire you, or the audience want to stick around? You, not the audience, needs to adapt. If you like rock and roll, but the audience likes country, you need to pretend, at least, that you're a country person, and entertain them. It should be reflected in the songs you select for yourself. It also will diminish your shows if you treat a country club crowd to biker humor, or vice versa!

Most people go to karaoke shows so they can sing. If there's a long rotation, you may want to limit your singing to requests. If there's a short rotation, you either need to carry the show, or keep the small audience entertained. Remember that those who show up deserve the best you have. They should not suffer because you're upset with all of the people who aren't showing up!

Finally, the best way to ruin your gig is to lose sight of the fact that the audience are customers and not a big group of new friends. There's a significant difference between being friendly and being friends. The audience should see you as a nice person who has a lot of fun. That will result in a lot of invites, but we suggest caution in accepting them. The best way to have your private business known at work is to tell people about your problems. The absolute worst thing a host can do is to 'pick up' dates from the audience. If you've never seen a host being heckled by their "notches," you have indeed missed a spectacle! Another consequence is that the person you picked up becomes jealous toward other customers knowing how he or she "landed" you. Neither will enhance your image with the audience or the establishment. It's okay if you're just looking to get laid, but it will ultimately cost you customers and gigs.

Karaoke is supposed to be fun for the customers, and is supposed to "add value" for the establishment. If those things aren't happening, it's most likely about you, and not them.

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