7 Tips That Will Improve Your Karaoke Experience

These valuable lessons will help you on your way to Karaoke God. Or at least lead you to the Promised Land

If you get the jitters when approaching the microphone due to stage fright, or if you feel like you’re not at your best vocally, it’s okay. You’re not alone. Hopefully, this little practical guide will empower you on your journey to karaoke success. If you follow these steps regularly, you’re gonna do just fine.

1. Preparedness

Even if you’re totally amateur, it’s good to know if you’re at your best vocally. Being hoarse, uneasy, nervous, tired or way too drunk will easily turn your experience into a living hell. So, before you hit the stage, sing a few bars of your favorite song or do a few scales for practice if you have to. Always remember that being prepared for a test is the halfway point to passing it.

2. Write down your best songs.

It’s always good to keep a mini book with you. That means, the name of the song and artist. That way you won’t be holding up the KJ when they ask you for what song you’re singing next. And if you’re in the rotation and you’re suddenly called upon to sing, that guide will be your pathway to victory. If you can’t get your hands on a pen and pad, type it in your notes on your smartphone.


Recall those huge books of karaoke songs? Most venues have gone paperless, distancing from them because they are tough to update and expensive to make. So compile your favorite songs before arrival.

3. Familiarize yourself with the venue.

Every karaoke haunt is different, so you should always anticipate the rules to change. Some have karaoke books of their catalog, others don’t. Some places rely heavily on YouTube or karaoke programs like Karafun to stream their content, and others like to skip newbies while relying on their regulars to keep the crowd engaged. Yeah, some of these behaviors suck, but that’s how the cookie crumbles. Study up on the establishment, even if you have to investigate their social media. It’s always to know who you’re playing to, so learn how to adapt to the environment.

4. Try to think versatility.

Ask any KJ or bar manager and they will tell you that the crowds constantly change, so if you want to impress them (and yourself), try diversifying your playlist. Keep a good balance of popular tunes to pump up the crowd, a strong list of several musical styles, and at least one or two warm-up numbers, in case you’re singing to an empty room.

5. Don’t get on the KJ’s nerves.

So everyone knows that one person who constantly asks the KJ these questions: “Am I next?,” How many before me?,” “Can I change my song?,” “Can you start over again!” Let me you in on a secret. KJ’s get these and other requests constantly, and it’s quite nerve-wracking for them. A happy KJ usually means the evening is going to run smoothly, so try not to get on their bad side.

6. Buy something.

Most bars in the US don’t put a cover charge on karaoke nights, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t in the business of handing out freebies. Many KJs and bar managers are observant of the activity of their patrons and are keeping score on who isn’t patronizing them. So if you want to be in good graces with them, don’t arrive empty handed of cash. Trust me, it’s not a good look. And it will only ruin your reputation when your name comes up in casual conversation. Buy a few drinks or some bar grub, at least. And if you’re avoiding alcohol, ask if they have a non-alcoholic menu, canned drinks or bottled water. There’s also the Good Samaritan idea of tipping your KJ. They’ll love you for that.

7. Leave the ego at the door.

Okay, so lots of professional singers come out to karaoke events to try to show off and intimidate others from singing. You can’t help that from happening. But you can help how you digest these situations by not letting those moments get the best of you. Focus on you, and try to have a good time. That’s what it’s all about. And don’t be mad at yourself if you fuck up, or if everyone walks out on your performance, or if no one claps at the end of your song. It’s karaoke, not a paid gig.


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