Fast songs can be a challenge when you need to get through a ton of words in a short amount of time. It can seem impossible to get through your song successfully when you first start practicing, but there are a few tips I want to share that can truly help you get better along the way. It is important to be able to get your lyrics out clearly and still be able to hit the right beats at the right time.
Learning how to rap or sing at a fast pace is a skill that many people across hundreds of genres can benefit from if they really take the time to work at it consistently. Not only will you be more comfortable with the song at any tempo once you learn how to perform it fast, but it will also help you pick up other songs faster if you work on these tips over several months or years.
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Though they may seem like silly things that we did when we were younger, tongue twisters can be a useful tool for singers and rappers working on their ability to get through their lyrics faster. It can help with your pronunciation, in particular when getting through a lyrical phrase where you're tempted to start slurring all the words. Some common tongue twisters you can play around with are listed below:
Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers
A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers
Where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
He would chuck, he would, as much as he could, and chuck as much wood
As a woodchuck would if a woodchuck could chuck wood
It is important to practice your songs at a slower speed while maintaining a steady beat. It's easy to practice your songs at a slower tempo without a steady beat from an instrumental or metronome keeping the pulse for you, so make sure you're taking the harder route in order to get the best results. Youtube's playback speed setting option is one way to practice a song easily at a slower yet consistent tempo. You can practice singing your song at half the speed or even a fourth of the speed before challenging yourself to perform the lyrics at normal speed or twice the speed.
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While some genres like classical music and musical theatre might require you to enunciate no matter what, you may be able to make your lyrics flow a bit easier with styles like hip hop and R&B by substituting smaller words for sounds that will make your phrases flow more fluidly. For example, if you're trying to get through lyrics that include the phrase "for the world we know and love" really fast, it would be good to make the words "for the" sound more like "fa da" and people that listen to you will still understand what you're saying.
Part of learning how to rap fast involves really getting in tune with the rhythmic flow of a song, measure for measure. A measure in music is the same thing as a bar. Start by feeling the pulse of each measure, which is usually made up of quarter note pulses or the "1 2 3 4" feel in songs. Get your whole body involved in feeling that "1 2 3 4" in each bar. Next, feel the subdivision, which will break down the eighth notes in each bar. That would be the "one and two and three and four and" in each bar. After that, feel the sixteenth notes in each bar.
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One thing that can hinder your flow when it comes to rapping or singing through phrases is your breath support and control. When you're practicing getting through your lyrics fast, ensure that you are supported with enough breath in between your phrases. Running out of breath too soon can cause you to lose the tempo and energy in your vocal delivery.
It is common for people to breathe in by sucking in the air in their stomach, but the proper way to breathe in involves the expansion of your midsection in order to get a great amount of air that will allow you to rap or sing with less need for breathing at times that will negatively affect your phrasing and rhythmic flow.
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As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 200 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, features, nursery rhymes, and DJ drops, she currently spends her time engulfed in creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Her most recent creative collaborations include work with PBS Sound Field, Tribe of Noise, and the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Check out Yona’s latest music releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share the music if you like it!
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