I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing
A sing-along has amazing power to bring people together – even if they don’t think they like to sing! If you’ve ever watched Keith Lockhart with the Boston Pops at the Boston Pops July 4th Fireworks Spectacular at Hatch Shell, the sing-along segment lights up the crowd.
Any Bruce Springsteen fan knows that one of the elements of his energetic four-hour concerts that have his fans (like me) coming back again and again is that they can sing every song.
Sing a Song (make it simple to last the whole night long)
Most of us don’t have the luxury of having live music whenever we’d like it. If you do have a pianist or guitarist in your life on a regular basis, lucky you! That’s about all you need for sing-along success.
For those of you who don’t, simply combine your favorite recorded music with the ideas below and you’ll have sing-along success as well.
If you choose to sing along to recorded music: Before gathering everyone, download some great sing-along music into a “Sing-Along Playlist”. If you prefer, you can even download the karaoke versions of songs you like.
The next page provides some great sing-along song suggestions through the decades.
If you prefer everyone to have the printed lyrics, search the Internet for the lyrics to just about any song and make copies.
Note: I always copy the lyrics into a word document first and then increase the font size before printing (especially important if you have baby boomers or above in on the sing-along!)
He who sings scares away his woes. –Cervantes
Set Fire to the Rain
Sing-alongs are most effective if you fire it up a bit with some friendly (maybe even fierce) competition and teamwork.
They were fun then, they are just as fun today — and their bonding power is needed just as much, if not more.
Everything old…new again. Check them out and give them a try at your next gathering!
Twist and Shout
Pick several good singalong songs (see suggestions on the next page). Divide the group in half by right and left sides of the room.
Have Group A sing the first verse; then Group B sings the next verse, and so on, back and forth. They should sing the chorus together. You direct where necessary.
Make it competitive by challenging each group to sing louder than the previous verses. That always ramps up the laughs.
Heroes and Villains
Ask each group come up with a team name (we’ll use Heroes and Villains). Point to the Heroes. The Heroes sing until you point to the Villains; then the Villains take over.
Everyone needs to stay on their toes since they have no idea when you’ll be switching. Ping pong between the Heroes and Villains as fast or as slowly as you like. Point to both groups when they should sing together.
You’re the director, so keep them moving!
PARTY TIP: In any competitive game, I’ve found that naming the teams adds to the team spirit and camaraderie. Over the summer we played a game with our family, guys against the gals. The gals’ team chose the name “The Lovatics” in honor of my niece’s favorite singer, Demi Lovato. She loved it and we — including my mother and aunt in their late seventies — were happy to oblige!
Don’t Go Breaking My Heart
Whichever team sang their parts the loudest or knew the lyrics the best wins a point. You, as Superstar Party Planner, decide on the winning team or line up a panel of judges, ala American Idol, to decide.
This adds a lot of excitement and brings out the competitve spirit of the teams. It is surprising how much people love to win (and hate to lose!)
Choose a song for the entire group to sing together, but identify a word ahead of time that they cannot sing. For example, if they are singing “Oh, Pretty Woman,” omit the word “woman”.
At our house at a Christmas time sing-along, during “Jingle Bells” they could not sing “bells” or “sleigh”; but instead had to ring their bells (handed out to everyone beforehand) at each occurence. It was a riot!
Make it a team competition by dividing the group in half; see which team can sing it perfectly without saying the specific word. Keep going with different songs.
Where You Lead I Will Follow
Play the music director. Your “big” movements mean they sing louder; your “little” movements mean they sing lower. Ham it up.
Another option, ask any one of your guests to be the star music director. Choose a different “music director” for each song.
Stop in the Name of Love
Play a recorded sing-along song. When everyone is singing out loud and really into it, at some point during the song stop the recording and have everyone finish the song a capella as far as they can go.
The team that goes the furthest wins.
PARTY TIP: Keeping score should always be a little more imaginative than simply jotting the score on a piece of paper. When my family played the guys against the gals around Christmas time, Sandi, as scorekeeper, placed (more like slam dunked) in a glass vase a chocolate bell each time the ladies won a point; when the guys won a point, a chocolate Santa went into the vase. Counting the number of Bells and the number of Santas at the end added to the “mystery” and the fun. (The Santas fell just slightly short of the Bells…and they were not happy!)
Left, during a Sing-Along competition during a vacation in the fall, I set up two Margarita glasses, one labeled for each team. Each time one of the teams got a point, a candy corn went into their glass. We counted the pieces together at the end to see who won….though in this case, obvious!
For our family Easter Sing-along and Trivia, we used jelly beans. Such little details go a long way!
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