Useful Tips

K How to choose a song for a talent contest


What is needed in order to make a pleasant impression on the jury members of the vocal nomination? Of course it's good to sing. Therefore, when choosing a song, the performers, or rather their leaders, often take into account one thing - the only criterion:

1. The singer sings this song well.

Of course, this is the most important thing, and it is precisely how well the composition is performed that primarily affects the impression, and, therefore, the performance evaluation.

However, it often happens that many participants perform their compositions well, and there are few winners. Hence, this criterion alone is not enough. So, what other criteria should be considered when choosing a song for competitive listening?

2. Artist likes song

Our esteemed members of the jury are very experienced people, and always understand when the composition is imposed by the leader, and when it is performed sincerely and with pleasure. Before the performance, the song is rehearsed hundreds, maybe thousands of times, and if you sing something that you don't like for so long, the accumulated irritation will certainly affect the performance.

3. Song fits artist

Sometimes it happens that the composition is decent and performed at a high level, but it seems that the song is contrary to the performer himself, that they sing about things that they don’t understand. This happens when, for example, young children sing obviously adult songs. And vice versa, adult participants will never stop performing songs from cartoons. This, of course, can achieve a comic effect, but it is far from always appropriate. In addition to age, other criteria should be taken into account - appearance, temperament, life situation. If everything develops and the song fits in all respects, then it is performed with understanding, or, as the children say, “with meaning”, and this is already half the success.

4. A song in a foreign language sounds only in a good foreign language

Most of the jury members of our competition-festival work abroad and, accordingly, speak foreign languages, so it’s quite difficult for them to hear a bad pronunciation. It can really spoil the impression of a good vocal performance, so if you are determined to sing a song in a foreign language, it might be worthwhile to work out not only with a vocal teacher, but also with a foreign language teacher. If not, you can find many wonderful songs in your native language.

5. You have a high-quality soundtrack / arrangement

Needless to say, the poor quality of the phonogram can adversely affect both the performance and perception of the song. Also, do not choose phonograms with backing vocals, if there is no particular need for this.

6. There is nothing superfluous in the song

It is, first of all, about unreasonably long arrivals and losses. When preparing a work, you need to remember the purpose of the competition, not the concert performance. Of course, the performer may need intros to tune in, and losses to relax a bit during the performance. Nevertheless, if they last longer than five seconds, and at this time nothing happens on the stage, you should save the precious time of our jury members and other participants. With the help of affordable and simple programs in our time, you can easily trim everything that is superfluous (of course, if you have an enchanting dance planned for losing, you do not need to trim anything). Especially should pay attention to the owners of long introductions. Participants in vocal competitions are well acquainted with how acoustic rehearsals usually take place - each participant is given only one or two minutes. There are usually two compositions. And that means that not so much time is devoted to one composition in order to “spend” it on losing. It is easy to imagine the disappointment of a participant who silently stood on the stage for 20 seconds of his introduction, and as soon as he sang the first two words, his rehearsal ended ...

In conclusion, I want to say that all of the above is not a guide to action, instruction and even advice, as it is written by a person whose attitude to music is very mediated (which is why little has been written about music here). However, when you work in the organizing committee of the festival, you involuntarily notice that some comments of the jury are repeated year after year, festival after festival, city after city ... And most importantly, these comments often do not reach the participants, because at round tables, where time is limited, everyone only vocals are of interest. Nevertheless, there is a hope that these observations will help someone, and once at our festival nothing will distract the jury from the beautiful vocals of our favorite participants.


  • Competition should be seen as motivation, and not as the main goal.
  • It may not be without mistakes, but, in any case, continue to sing, and the judges will notice your professional attitude to the case - or not at all.
  • If you are singing under a CD record, then make sure that you know exactly what volume the recording should play - do not do it too quietly, but do not do it too loudly.
  • Sing cleanly.
  • If everything went wrong from the very beginning, then you need to overcome yourself and continue to sing - the worst thing you can do is ask to start all over again, as this will give the impression that you are doing everything for the public, not for yourself.
  • A talent show should be just an excuse for fun and excitement for being on stage.
  • Although an auxiliary leaflet is good, but do not make it spoil your idea and do not concentrate all your attention on it only. It is very easy to hide behind the notes, but the result will be such that the audience will be disappointed and the judges will not be impressed!
  • Have fun, not just compete.

What do you need

You will need an accompanist in the form of a CD or pianist / guitarist, etc. A clear idea of ​​what type of vocal talent you want to demonstrate. A good understanding of what is expected in the competition where you are going (amateur, semi-professional, professional competition?) (Only music? Or a variety of genres, including comedy and juggling?)


Probably the most important thing when choosing a song is the right level of vocals.

The song needs to be done beautifully. The level of vocals should be appropriate for your age and level of competition. If you choose a very simple song, you will not be able to show your level of vocal skills. If you choose a very complex one, it will most likely expose your lack of possession of certain techniques.

Of course, if you are 7 years old and you are going to a school competition, then most likely, you just need to get into the notes, not go astray and do not forget the words. Choose a simple song, with your range.

But the older you are, and the more prestigious the competition expects you, the more famous song you have chosen, the greater the requirements for vocals.

Unfortunately, many teachers of children's pop vocal studios are limited to exclusively linear singing. Teenagers sing in notes, keep well on stage. And that’s it. This is often enough to successfully perform at local concerts. And the children are very surprised why the jury members do not turn to them.

At a prestigious competition, adolescents must demonstrate mastery of modern vocal techniques, a confident range, as well as modern vocal techniques, or, as they are also called “vocal chips”. If the words “melisma”, “subton”, “slide”, “screaming”, “baling”, “growl”, etc. You are not familiar, if this is the first time you hear about this, we highly recommend reading about it on the Internet, and watching the explanations on Youtube. Good chip ownership distinguishes the beginner from the professional.

Of course, not every song will have “chips.” That is why your ownership of a particular technique should be considered when choosing a song. If you have amazingly mastered one of the tricks, then you should choose a song in which this trick will be appropriate.

Of course, you should not load the whole song with chips. Everything should be organic. Cherry on a cake is often perceived more attractively than a cake entirely consisting of cherries.

It is also worth noting that the jury does not always listen to the song to the end. Try to get attention from the first note. At the same time, leave the opportunity for development throughout the song.

Vocals are not just “singing in notes”!


The genre depends on both your character and the specific competition.

First, see which genre is closer to you in spirit, in which genre you look organically, naturally. You should not choose a song in a genre that is not close to you.

Carefully read the Regulation on the competition. Sometimes it contains requirements for the genre. If possible, see the records of previous years. What do participants usually sing? Which songs get the highest scores? If you sing rap, but like pop in this contest, then do not re-educate the jury - just choose another contest.

We choose a genre by its nature and taking into account the customs of a particular competition!


Try to choose a song that matches your character and age. Especially if the song is in Russian. If the song is in a foreign language, then the risk of making the wrong choice is slightly less. Nevertheless, many members of the jury of vocal competitions speak foreign languages ​​or at least know the meaning of many foreign songs.

If you are 14 years old, then you should not already take a naive children's song. At the same time, it will look inorganic if you take the song of an adult uncle who has seen life to the contest. Everything should be natural.

Be careful about songs containing dubious moralities: mention of alcohol, smoking, sex, drugs, etc. If you are singing a foreign song, carefully read the translation. Do not touch on dubious political topics.

Probably not worth reminding that the lyrics should match your gender.

Of course, if only in this song you can reveal the ingenious possession of vocal chips, then you can try to take a chance. What is outweighed by the jury - the admiration for the ingenious vocals or the embarrassment of the mismatch of the song to the performer - is not known. But remember that often even with an ingenious performance but a mismatch of the song to the performer, the rating decreases, as the jury understands that, apparently, the choice of songs that you cope with is not very large, since you did not find yourself something by age.

We monitor the correspondence of the lyrics to the sex and age of the artist!


The answer to this question seriously depends on your capabilities and the specific competition. Here's what you need to pay attention to.

Famous songs are most often best heard. The jury sings a song "to yourself" with you. This is a plus.

The jury member has heard this song more than once. Perhaps even in the framework of this particular competition, several participants have already sung it. Many are already tired of it. This is a minus.

The jury knows how the song should sound - they have a deep-rooted pattern in their head. Deviations from this template can give both a big plus and a huge minus. Some advanced vocalists try to make completely new versions of the performance of famous songs in order to surprise the jury with their ingenuity. But unfortunately, often not even the most conservative jury incorrectly evaluates such a step. We are all slaves to our habits. Unusual interpretations are sometimes perceived as hostile.

The jury members heard and remember how a professional artist sang this song. With a high probability, you will sing “no better” than an adult professional. Someone will be able to make a discount on age. But overall this is a minus.

On the other hand, a new song may simply “stop by” the first time. Even hits often become hits only after the 3rd ... 10th audition. This is a risk.

But if the new song is of high quality, on the contrary, it becomes a pleasant surprise for the jury. This is a plus.

If you have a professional vocal teacher and you have filled a new song with interesting chips, then this looks advantageous. And most importantly, the jury does not know how an experienced star would sing it - your performance in any case is so far the best of all available. This is a plus.

In general, the strategy for choosing new or famous songs should be as follows:

    If there is an opportunity to present a new hit song, and you (together with your teacher) are ready to make an amazing vocal arrangement - do not hesitate to make a new song. If you have a unique talent, but do not have your own song, take a song that was written for the same teenagers and try to sing it better than the original. There are more chances to “re-sing” a peer than chances to re-sing a star master. You can find modern songs for teenagers and download free backing tracks for them on our website Do not choose “worn-out” songs that everyone sings. If you take a famous song, then take something more or less new, modern. With care, choose famous songs that are sung much better than your option. If you have chosen a song sung earlier by professional artists, try to take all the pieces from the original and add your own, in accordance with your unique vocal abilities. But do not overdo it with alterations - this is a risk.

A high-quality new song with a high-quality vocal arrangement is better than worn out!


As a rule, the tender documentation indicates which songs are allowed to be listened to. In many competitions there are no restrictions. Often there are even separate nominations for songs in Russian or in a foreign language.

If the competition has a separate nomination for foreign songs, participation in the nominations is not limited, and you want to try your hand, then welcome.

If you are faced with a choice, then you should be guided by the following considerations.

When singing a song in a foreign language, attention will be more focused on your vocals. But if one of the jury members does not know the foreign language very well and the song is not very well known, then the unloading of the “channel for perceiving the meaning” in your performance of a foreign song may lead to the fact that the song will seem boring.

Performing a song in Russian on the one hand allows you to include additional channels for the involvement of the jury in your atmosphere. Like it or not, the whole song is perceived. And a good text (especially new one) can add positive emotions to jury members and increase your rating. The correct presentation of the text, the experience of the meaning of the text can also add advantages.

On the other hand, a poorly chosen song theme or inconsistency with the character, as well as a banal or unprofessional text, are significantly more noticeable when the song is performed in the mother tongue of the jury.

Usually well-known songs in English are taken by vocalists who own vocal "tricks" used in Western music. This situation was caused by the feeling that in the Russian musical culture there are no songs with interesting vocal finds and non-banal lyrics. However, recently more and more Russian-language songs have appeared with no less opportunities to demonstrate modern vocals, and the situation is beginning to change.

In our opinion, if you can simultaneously demonstrate both excellent vocals and excellent mastery of artistry in a song in Russian, then this option would be preferable.

And certainly you should not perform a song in a foreign language if you are not sure about the pronunciation quality. The primitivization of a foreign language is always annoying.

A good song in Russian in good performance is good! Take a foreign song only if you have not found a good Russian-language song or until you feel confident in conveying the meaning!


In a vocal competition, your vocals are evaluated first. Therefore, try to avoid choosing songs with long instrumental intros, long losses and instrumental inserts, a long instrumental ending.

If your song is just that, it is advisable to ruthlessly cut out everything unnecessary from the backing track in the studio. There should be enough pauses for you to catch your breath, and no more. Remember that the jury wants to hear your voice, not the beauty of the orchestra. They are tired and want to go home, and they still have to listen to dozens of performers. The presence of long pauses in vocals causes them irritation, which means it reduces your chance of success.

If the instrumental insertion cannot be avoided, then think about whether you can entice the jury in this place with something. For example, beautiful vocalization. In extreme cases (if allowed by the format of the competition) incendiary dance. It is important to keep the jury's attention throughout the song. And it’s better if it is your vocals.

No long tool parts!


Most often, contest organizers prefer not too long songs. The gold standard is 3 minutes. Даже если в конкурсной документации требования к длительности не указаны, старайтесь придерживаться выбора именно таких песен.

В слишком короткой песне Вы, скорее всего, не успеете раскрыть все грани своего таланта.

Слишком длинная песня будет вызывать желание Вас остановить. Ведь во время конкурса жюри вынуждено слушать десятки выступающих. Злоупотребление временем может сыграть злую шутку в восприятии Вас членами жюри. Brevity is the sister of talent (sorry for the long article).

Remember also that in many competitions the jury has the right to stop the performer. If you take a long song, then there is a difficulty with the distribution of "chips" (see below). If you give out all the chips at the beginning of the song, then you will not be able to add further development, and in the end you will have nothing to surprise the jury. If you leave some chips at the end, then you risk not showing them at all if the jury stops your performance earlier.

Of course, if your backpack with songs is not large yet, and there is no suitable song for “timing” (duration), you should consult with the organizers in advance if it is possible to perform a song of a different length.

Preference for short songs - no more than 3 minutes!


Choose the tempo and tone in accordance with your character and your vocal abilities.

Guessing the pace is difficult. You don’t know what songs the other members will have. A good tempo song, as well as a sincere procrastination, can look gorgeous separately, and at the same time do not sound at all if before that there were 20 rock'n'rolls or 20 lingers.

However, there are some tips.

Do not choose songs too mournful. This is not for contests. By the 20th performance, the jury members were already tired. Yours may just fall asleep.

Choosing a tempo song, make sure that you pronounce all the words (you have no problems with diction) and have time to take a breath.

Also note that if the pace of the melody is too fast, it is difficult to show a voice - it turns out almost recitative. There are songs that look great at concerts and on the radio, but are completely unsuitable for competitions. Do not forget that you need to sing.

Recently, for contests, songs with a rather fast rhythm of arrangement and at the same time with an average pace of melody are increasingly selected. This allows you to maintain the dynamics of the competition and at the same time it is beneficial to demonstrate the singing vocals.

By tonality, everything is simpler. Just make sure she is yours. You are neither low nor high. You do not mutter and do not give a cock. The dynamics of the song may also depend on the correct tonality. Try different tones with your teacher and see how your voice sounds prettier and more dynamic. Find or write down the appropriate backing track. “Not Yours” tonality can ruin the whole performance.

Carefully choose the tempo and tonality!


At all vocal contests the song is performed by the vocalist “live”.

At all pop contests, performance under the phonogram “minus” is offered.

Execution for live instruments is already a rarity. If you are considering singing with a guitar, piano, accordion or with your own orchestra, then remember that the organizers of the contest are not always ready to provide the possibility of such a performance. Even if they don’t mind, it’s far from the fact that the instrument microphones will be balanced. Not all contests provide the ability to configure before listening. And even after your preliminary tuning, the sound engineer can accidentally knock everything down. Trying to rebuild the microphones before the performance during listening will cause a hitch that will annoy the jury. Walking around the hall will begin, and you will not receive the necessary attention. Therefore, it is better not to take risks! Perform the instrument only when you are sure that everything is pre-configured and there will be no failures.

At some competitions performance under a phonogram having "back vocals" is forbidden. That is, in the phonogram as a rule there should be no vocals. Even if this is not written in the Regulation on the competition, be sure to check with the organizers so as not to get into a mess.

However, if there is no such prohibition, then you can significantly improve the impression of your performance by putting back vocals in the right places, adding power to the song. This should only be done with professional studios. Do not overdo it!

And, of course, the quality of the “minus one” should correspond to the level of the competition. You should not go to serious contests with “tricks” (backing tracks obtained from the original track by “crushing” the frequencies at which the voice sounds). Also, do not use backing tracks with redone keys if the changes are made by auto-tuning by more than 1 tone. In such cases, the instruments sound unnatural. Even if you don’t hear this, the jury members, professional musicians will hear “false” and “dirty”, which will definitely lower your points.

We use only professional backing tracks!