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How Do You Sight Sing Pop Music

How do you sight sing pop music - that's a huge question but don't worry, I've got some great tips below that will help you on your sight singing journey.

Over the years I've taught soooooo many pop singers to sight sing, whether it's 1-2-1 lessons or whether it's on a popular music degree course. I've had singers come to me with no knowledge at all of sight singing and also singers turn up who are pretty good but know how important this amazing skill is so they want to improve and I've taken them all through my sight singing process, getting them all to where they want to be.

So what are my tips on 'how do you sight sing pop music'?

Read below for my professional advice on what you should be doing as a singer to learn to sight sing pop music.

Tip #1 - Find yourself a great sight singing course that teaches you to sight sing pop music.

Find yourself a good sight singing course that teaches you how to sight sing this style of music (not Classical Music). Sing By Sight is a fantastic online sight singing course, teaching you to sight sing the pop music you love!

While some courses may be great, they're not going to teach you the style of music you want to sight sing. Pop music is generally very syncopated so you need to learn to sight sing syncopated rhythms. Also pop music uses lots of specific scales eg the Pentatonic Scale, so you need to know what this is, be able to recognise it on a piece of music, and most importantly be able to sing it. Classical courses just won't give these type of scale structures the emphases they need for a pop singer.

Tip #2 - Be realistic with your expectations

Realise it’s going to take some time before you’re fluent at sight singing. It won’t take long to get some basics under your belt, but if you want to take your sight singing further you will need to devote a decent amount of time to it.

Try to commit to at least 20 minutes, 3 times a week - the more you put in to your work the more you'll get out of it. Don't expect results overnight, be prepared to put some work into acquiring this really valuable skill.

Tip #3 - Do some prep work before you start learning

Prepare yourself with some work on the basics of sight singing, check out my Fundamentals material on my YouTube channel for help with this. Click here to start working on some really useful vocal fundamentals.

Try to get to grips with feeling rhythms, finding the tonic note, singing around a chord and being able to hold on to Tension notes. The prep work I give you on my YouTube channel is so useful for singers, it gets your head in the right place, gives you lots of information you'll need to be strong with when you're sight singing, and most importantly, it makes these elements of music fun and engaging.

Tip #4 - Listen to your playlist

Listen to your playlists and try to recognise rhythmic patterns and melodic shapes that you’re hearing in your own music. Relating the music you’re listening to with actual written music is so useful, it helps you:

  1. Sing with feel when you're sight singing, something lots of singers struggle with.

  2. Recognise rhythmic patterns and melodic shapes that repeat in music and improves your listening (aural) skills.

  3. Understand the general structure of a pop song so you are more aware of what you're can be looking at when you're sight singing a piece of music.

Tip #5 - The Final Big Tip - Recognise rhythmic patterns and melodic shapes

I've saved the best till last and my biggest tip to you when you're thinking about learning to sight sing pop music is to recognise that pop music is made up of rhythmic patterns and melodic shapes. This is helpful for 2 reasons:

  1. You will find the same rhythmic patterns and melodic shapes appear again and again in pop music and the more you read them the quicker you become at singing them.

  2. There's a lot of repetition in pop music eg in the chorus, and once you realise this you can skim through a vocal part pretty quickly, noticing any repetition in the verse, or the chorus coming back several times, again speeding up your sight singing.

The moment you start to learn to sight sing, look for these patterns and shapes on the piece of music, notice everything that's happening on the page and learn to recognise anything that is familiar.

Check out my separate Blog on how to speed up your sight singing where I talk about patterns and shapes in music.

So 'How Do You Sight Sing Pop Music'?

The tips I give you above have all come from my 30+ years in the music business singing and teaching at the highest levels. Follow these tips and they really will really help you when you start to learn to sight sing pop music.

Click here to check out my fantastic sight singing course, Sing By Sight, written specifically for Contemporary Commercial Music singers. Whether you style is Pop, R&B, Soul, Jazz, Folk, Country or Rock, Sing By Sight will help you sight sing the music you love!

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