Even if you’re a seasoned singing pro and you’ve been practicing on your own for years, you should have at least one dress rehearsal and several more practice rehearsals before a performance. At the first couple of rehearsals, you can sing while reading from the music. For the last rehearsal and the dress rehearsal, sing the music from memory.
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Under pressure, it’s shocking how quickly the words leave your short-term memory. By rehearsing the song from memory, you get even more opportunities to test your wonderful technique while using your acting skills. At the dress rehearsal, you also want to practice walking onstage before your song so you know how winded you are after climbing up the stairs for your entrance, walking around the stage, or down a long hallway.
You can rehearse alone or with an accompanist, coach, or voice teacher. At your rehearsal, record yourself. Listen to the recording a couple of times to get used to the sound of your voice in the different hall. If you put your recorder in the audience while you sing on the stage, your recording will sound farther away — that’s the sound your audience will hear.
You can also use your video recorder. If you decide to videotape the rehearsal, you need to view the tape several times to get used to watching yourself. You may want to experiment with this at home instead of trying it for the first time at the dress rehearsal.
The night before is too late to change much. Record yourself earlier in the process so you can make adjustments. When you watch the video, check your alignment, gestures, and your entrance.