If you’re reading this and you’re a participant of one of my various work place choirs, you’ll probably be able to have a good guess at what I’m about to say! Ha. I strongly believe that putting yourself in uncomfortable situations can make you learn things quicker. This applies to everything by the way, not just singing.
Obviously everybody learns differently and there are a number of ways to learn efficiently.
An approach that I have seen huge success with is the ‘no lyrics are allowed’ system. Okay, jokes aside, this is what I use regularly with the NETSCC Staff Choir. We learn the song without having any lyrics to look at. It’s hard to begin with and some look panicked, but this does mean that more attention is being spent on actually learning the lyrics rather than just reading them off a piece of paper. After a few weeks of repeated going over the song, it’s suddenly locked in. This then means that more focus can be spent on the delivery of the song as the lyrics have been learnt. The more this process is repeated with different songs, the quicker the lyrics can be learnt and therefore the songs sound more finished, much sooner.
The other way I like to learn the lyrics of a song is by creating visual pictures in my head relating to each line of the song. The key to this is making sure that the visuals are a little odd. You may find visually recreating the actual story of the song helpful but for me, drawing random images in my head which are related to each individual line seems to stick more.
If I personally have to learn a new song for a gig, I will listen to it once and then sing along making every single mistake possible (it sounds awful!)… after that, I’ll attempt the song, alone, time and time again until it’s correct.
If you have a moment, try some of these methods and see which you feel is most effective.