Lip Sync Battle

Help participants channel their inner Milli Vanilli while learning stage presence

A Lip Sync Battle is a fun and silly “performance” that gets participants to know each other and conquer their stage fright.  Vocal performers lip sync on stage in front of their peers while instrumentalist “air” play (guitar, bass, drums, keys, etc). This helps eliminate the need for knowing how to play while allowing inexperienced performance start to think about stage presence and getting comfortable in front of a crowd. 

In Addition… 

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How to… 

  • Divide participants into teams (teams of 4-5 participants is ideal) 
  • Team decide on a popular song that they would like to perform
  • Give teams about 10 minutes to practice the song and designate different roles, like: 
    • Vocalist
    • Rapper/s
    • Drummer
    • Guitar/bass
    • Keys 
    • Choreography/Dancers
    • Etc. 
  • Each team “performs” for one another while the song is played over a PA System… (no participants actually play instruments or sing)
  • Crown a winner by letting judges/staff decide, audience “applause ‘O meter”, or schedule during pickup and let parents decide
  • Variations: 
    • Have individuals compete instead of teams 
    • Have theme Lip Sync Battles (ie. Rap, Pop, Country, 80’s music, etc…) 
    • Shoot a Lip Sync Battle music video 
    • Bring in costumes – have participants dress the part or have some props/costumes for participants to use 
    • Flash mob a different department/room – take a portable PA system to the teen center, games room, lobby or admin offices and put on an impromptu show
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The Art of a Sound Check

Go beyond “check one, two!” Tips that help participants feel comfortable and sound their best

Many young musicians have never performed on stage in front of others and the experience can be overwhelming. Give you participants opportunities to discuss and practice seven tips to have an effective soundcheck. Topics include helping your participants understand the importance of being friendly, on time, prepared, aware, assertive, realistic, and respectful.  

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How to… 

Before a performance, schedule a soundcheck rehearsal to discuss and practice the seven tips below. Use your personal performance experience to discuss why these proper etiquette during a soundcheck is important and how it will ultimately benefit their performance and sound. After the discussion, run practice soundchecks to help participants understand what makes an effective soundcheck. Help reduce stress and make the process fun until everyone is comfortable with their sound.  

Seven Tips for an Effective Soundcheck: 

  • Be friendly: No egos. Everyone is learning, trying their best, and wants you to sound your best.
  • Be on time: Whether you’re part of a band or solo act, there may be others waiting for you to check. 
  • Be prepared: Do you have all your gear? Are you in tune? Are you mentally prepared?  
  • Be aware: Watch the front of house sound engineer for any instructions or questions.
  • Be assertive: Can hear yourself and others? Having other issues? Speak up (in a nice way). 
  • Be realistic: Don’t be shy! Perform like it’s the show – this helps engineer get accurate level settings. 
  • Be respectful: Don’t distract others while they are sound checking by talking or playing an instrument.

Specific soundcheck tips for the band: 

  • Singers: 
    • Want to sound your best? Sing an actual song (don’t just repeat, “check 1, 2…”)
    • Sing close to the mic (the sound engineer will turn your volume up or down when needed) 
    • Please DON’T tap the mic! 
    • Pointing the mic at monitors or speakers will cause feedback 
  • Instrumentalists: 
    • Set your stage level volume on your amp/instrument so that you can hear yourself
    • Please don’t adjust knobs or levels when you’re done checking (unless asked)
    • Sound engineers will make you louder/softer for the audience as needed
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Emcee 101

Ryan Seacrest OUT and youth participants IN! Groom participants to be Emcees for events

Objective: Gain self-confidence by hosting a performance

  • Participants step up to the mic to host small, low-risk, “in-house” performances
  • Participants introduce performers during open mic nights, Karaoke, galas, or special events
  • Participants will be comfortable behind the mic and speaking in front of their peers

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Disco Karaoke

Give participants the real experience by turning on the stage lights and cranking up the music

Objective: Create a fun/inviting vibe for participants to sing their hearts out!

  • Encourage teen participants to take risks (ie. singing in front of others)
  • Encourage participants not to take music making so seriously and have fun!
  • Create a fun “club like” atmosphere where members can sing and dance

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Performance Games to Help Conquer Stage Fright

Create a safe and fun environment for participants to gain confidence performing in front of others 

Performance Games help build your participants’ performance skills and confidence on stage in a less intimidating way than a full-fledged performance. These events are perfect for participants not quite ready for an open mic night or other public events. Host regular opportunities that are fun, relevant, and interactive to help build confidence and a sense of community.  

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How to… 

  • Use popular culture TV/YouTube shows or late night talk show skits and ask your participants to develop fun team building games and activities that anyone can participate in (regardless of skill). 
  • Performance Games can also be used as an incentive or a break from the normal routine or workshops. (i.e. Guitar participants could participate in Air Guitar instead of their weekly lesson, all voice participants could enter in the Karaoke Competition at the end of their session as a type of recital)
  • Set rules and expectations for participation (ie. no “booing”) and create a support a culture of support/respect among participants 
  • Keep the activities “in-house” and small scale.  Whether in your music program space or in a teen center, help limit the exposure of participants to help them build performance skills and confidence 
  • When participants are ready, encourage them to raise the stakes of their performances (ie. perform at an open mic night or showcase event, etc) 

Set up a weekly or monthly rotation of fun activities/events such as: 

  • Car-Pool Karaoke Competition: Using the popular TV show (or any variation of karaoke) singers have a safe way to perform in front of their peers. Set up 4-5 chairs in the same way a car would be set up and have participants sing along to their favorite artist.  
  • Lip Sync Competition: Each participant picks his or her favorite song to lip sync. Focus is on believability as the performer. 
  • Air Guitar or Air Band Competition: Performance is mostly classic guitarist moves such as jumping, spinning, head banging, etc. Audience votes for winner (by applause) and they win a prize. 
  • “Rock Band” Competition: Sign up “bands” of 4 members each and have them compete in a battle of the bands type event using the popular video game, “Rock Band.” 
  • Beatbox Battle: Separated into age divisions (10-14 & 15-18), each participant gets 3 minutes to show off his or her beatbox skills. 
  • “Guitar Hero” Competition: Using the popular video game, “Guitar Hero,” host a competition in each level of ability. The winners of each level then compete head to head. Overall winner is based on percentage of accurate notes played. 
  • Singing Bee Competition: Based off of the TV shows, “Don’t Forget the Lyrics!” and “The Singing Bee.” A list of popular songs are chosen and presented for each contestant. At a certain point, the music stops and the participant must complete the lyrics. The judging is based on knowledge of lyrics, not on vocal talent. 
  • Battle of the Bands: Form groups who perform and ”battle” each other for the top prize. 
  • Lobby Performances: Regularly scheduled (e.g. once per month) time when a small ensemble performs in the lobby welcoming members and guests to the building. 
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First Take Studio Series

Artist development workshop in the style of a “tiny desk” type performance – only one take.

Objective: Develop confidence and critical listening skills

  • “Invitation-only” music production project for mature participants
  • Participants develop confidence in their artistry
  • Develop critical listening skills through feedback and constructive criticism
  • Teach participants how to learn from their “mistakes” and progress as an artist

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