There’s a reputation out there that singing the National Anthem is an impossible task and only for the most brilliant and talented singers.
I’m here to politely dispute that assumption!
The Star Spangled Banner is a patriotic song with a melody borrowed from a popular British song written by John Stafford Smith in the 1760’s. Being that the original song was a pop song, that kind of gives you a clue that this isn’t really such a difficult tune to master.
Perhaps what’s different today is that most pop songs don’t span much more that a couple notes up or down. As a result, many people singing to the radio are used to sticking to one register (usually the speaking register) without much vocal challenge. If they encounter higher notes they wind up feeling like they need to scream to make it happen.
But it wasn’t that long ago that popular singers were using more of their voices and switching registers to do it. During the early days of rock and roll, songs often had melodies that spanned wider distances on the scale requiring register changes.
Here’s a song from the 50’s that shows great range:
Back in those days, singers routinely popped into their head or falsetto tones at the top of the staff.
Here’s a video with a compilation of female singers from the last 20 years or so using their head voices:
There are lots more examples – but here’s the point:
Singing the National Anthem is as simple as understanding
1) where to sing a belt tone
2) where to sing a head tone
Once you’ve mapped out your strategy, practice making those transitions (getting help from a coach is always an amazingly good idea) and soon you’ll be singing this patriotic pop song with finesse.
Now – singing it live in front of an adoring crowd – that’s a topic for another blog posting. :0