There are a few different ways to get new songs into your repertoire.
You can hear them yourself on the radio, see it on youtube, the TV or on a CD, and think they might suit your voice, or choose something from my books, or how about raid your parents CD (or indeed record) collection. You can ask friends or family for ideas. Scanning karaoke sites is easy and fun too.
When picking a song, the important thing is, there’s really no point deciding to sing Christina’s new big hit just because you love how the record sounds. If it goes out of your vocal range~ too low and then too high for you~ then it’s not for you just yet. Work towards performing the song, but not on stage till you can easily cut it. What might be great about the song is the way SHE sings is, and the amazing production (how it is arranged and recorded), and although you really like the song, it might not be a good one to try and perform. Best to try songs that you (or I) are sure you can pretty much do now, or with a bit of work. Be realistic, and also allow yourself room to stretch your abilities.
If you can, it’s good to try to keep ahead choosing the next song, so you don’t waste time flicking through the books in your lesson time.
Now, the Internet is a really an powerful and incredible tool for singing lessons. You can search for mp3 files of songs you like, download them, and drop them onto a CD or bring your MP3 player, even your phone or a USB stick, bring it to class to show me the song, and then practice with at home.
If you decide to download illegally, be ready for trouble. First, it's very easy to download viruses or worse into your computer. Also, the performer and composer don't get their proper royalties unless you buy legit. When YOU become a big~time recording artist, I bet you won't want people stealing your music! It’s not expensive to buy older CDs, often cheaper than downloading them and sometimes you can just borrow from friends or family and give them back later. With Ipod being so everywhere now, it's easy to have HEAPS of music to listen to, and it's often cheaper to just get the one song you want from an online music store. Of course the radio and youtube are totally free and a great way to listen to new kinds of music.
Backing tracks are cheap and abundant on the internet- just watch them on youtube- try searching for the name of the song with the words karaoke, instrumental, lyrics or backing track. My fave sites are www.karaoke-version.com in the USA or ameritz.co.uk they have tracks in 5 different keys (so you can change the song to two steps higher or lower and try them out. They cost about $2 a song, so it's easy and cheap to get new songs. They also can help you choose a song by making song suggestions.
Searching for lyrics on the net is an interesting thing. You can find them in five seconds, or find out after five years of singing the lyrics you got from the net, that you have been singing the song incorrectly (in a really not good way). You really must remember how those lyric sites came to be… it’s probably just some person sitting in their lounge room who loves Nat King Cole typing up anything they think the lyrics to L.O.V.E. might be, and then uploading them onto a lyric site. They might also go to another lyric site and copy all those lyrics (whether right or wrong) from someone else’s site and upload them onto theirs and proliferate incorrect lyrics all over the net. If I’m not sure that a site’s version of the lyrics is correct, I try to find five sites and compare them (remembering what I said about proliferation), listen to the CD again, and decide what I think is correct. The best sites are usually the performers' own website.
I always go to google.com.au as the starting point. If you have found a site you like, you can bookmark and have that as your starting point. Avoid the ones that give you popups, porn or gambling. For some singers, the only way to learn their lyrics properly, so it stays in your head, is to listen to the recording of the song, and write or type the words down yourself. That way you will really learn the lyrics as you go, and then you’ll have a written version too (please give me a copy for my books!!). If you decide to search the net, you'll need some searching tips.
Always use quotation marks to tell the search engine EXACTLY what you are looking for.
type the title like this “isn’t it time”
type the artist like this “the babies”
If the song has a common title, like “Love” by “Nat King Cole”, you will get MILLIONS of answers. EVERY page of EVERY site on the World Wide Web that contains the words “lyrics”, “Nat King Cole” and “love” will be in your answer. In that case, try quoting some of the lyrics in the song that you already know, that might appear less often in other songs.
type lyrics “Nat King Cole” “very extraordinary”
One more tip~ people are often terrible spellers, and sometimes nearly everyone has misspelled something~ try another line from the song to search, or spell it with an obvious mistake eg "The Babys". Spell check doesn't save everyone!
Having a big repertoire is good fun, and you'll be ready when the moment comes to get yourself together and get up on stage.