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Karaoke: How To Prepare For And Enjoy This Activity

Updated on October 17, 2015
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A large number of individuals will sing or at least watch someone else sing karaoke at some point. While the popularity of karaoke ebbs and flows depending on other factors, it remains a popular pastime for many. Even if you don't want to or cannot make it to the bar regularly for karaoke, a karaoke contest may be an ideal way to maximize your enjoyment of listening to people sing karaoke.

In past years I sang karaoke at least once a month. Not surprisingly, after spending numerous evenings singing and listening to karaoke, I learned a thing or two about how to best approach this activity. Knowing a few hints--such as looking at a song's lyrics at home before singing the song at karaoke--helped increase my enjoyment of this pastime greatly.

The first is to realize that you are not expected to sound like a famous singer when you perform. Most audiences listening to karaoke are forgiving and encouraging, and this atmosphere makes it easier to attempt new and challenging song choices.

The website www.findkaraoketonight.com is one place to go in order to search for karaoke near you. You can also call local bars and seek information that way. While there is always the possibility there is no karaoke in your town, even small towns of less than 10,000 citizens often offer karaoke occasionally.

You should also recognize that you may not be as well-acquainted with the lyrics of your favorite songs as you initially believe. Consequently, you may wish to look up online the lyrics for the songs you hope to sing before attempting to perform this song at karaoke. At karaoke these songs will appear on a screen, yet, depending on your personality, you may want to prepare ahead of time. Often you can find the song you want to sing on youtube with lyrics for you to sing along with. If this option is not available, you can look for the song lyrics on websites such as www.azsonglyrics.com and www.songlyrics.com.

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Karaoke is often best enjoyed with a friend or many friends. Having company will ensure you have someone to discuss what you are thinking of performing with. People-watching at karaoke can be mightily entertaining; one of my favorite things to do is watch the older singers—anyone who appears older than forty typically gets my attention—as they sing songs which are obviously very important to them. Going with a friend or friends will also give you the option of singing a duet with one of them. Duets, even those that don’t unfold perfectly, can be lots of fun. A duet my friend Ryan and I like to sing together is “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” though the duet “Summer Nights” is much more popular.

What you decide to sing is largely up to you. Not all songs will be available—and this is especially true with current hit songs and less mainstream bands and musicians—though many of the older, popular songs from artists such as The Beatles and Patsy Cline are options. Certain performers like to choose a song they believe the audience will sing along to—such as “Friends In Low Places” by Garth Brooks or "Y.M.C.A" by the Village People—whereas others prefer to sing a song they love even if not every glass in the bar in raised in appreciation while they sing. Selecting a song is in some ways comparable to deciding what novel to read during your next vacation: You can opt for the “tried and true” popular options, or veer off that beaten path and do your own thing. I generally straddled the divide between singing more popular songs such as Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” to singing less known songs by the bluegrass band Nickel Creek and the Canadian band the Barenaked Ladies.

A movie about karaoke

For anyone who has stage fright, “liquid courage,” otherwise known as alcohol, is always available. A small helping of alcohol may embolden you to sing a song you know well, whereas too much alcohol may convince you and your friends that you must all sing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” together at top volume. Such moments help make the karaoke experience delightfully unpredictable and entertaining for singers and observers alike.

Singing karaoke is one way to embrace the fact that none of us are perfect and, consequently, we should take a few well-chosen risks once in a while. While performing karaoke is not as risky as many other activities—sky diving comes to mind as a more dangerous example—it can be a way to attempt something you are not convinced you can do perfectly. Several of my favorite karaoke stories are the times when I attempted a song which I was not prepared for; one of the most humorous incidents involved the night I attempted to sing Milli Vanilli’s “Girl You Know It’s True” only to discover that there is rapping during part of the song. To say that my rapping skills are sub-par is an understatement, yet this little hiccup in my performance made it all the more memorable.

For anyone who is too young to visit a bar, or who is unwilling to sing in front of strangers, there are karaoke programs you can buy for use on your TV. Hosting a karaoke-singing party at home is one way to create lasting, possibly humorous, memories with your friends.


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Because other HubPages writers have done so, I feel no need to list some of the most commonly performed karaoke songs. Since you generally have thousands of songs to choose from when at a bar with karaoke, moreover, I don’t automatically recommend singing the most frequently performed songs. Instead, your karaoke experience may be vastly improved if you select the songs you want to sing regardless if they are popular with the masses. No matter what you decide to sing—or even if you decide to watch the singers and not sing—remember that karaoke can be an excellent opportunity to spend time with your friends and cheer on the brave souls at the microphone.

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