Lesson 5: Advanced Transition Techniques Anyone Can Do

Lesson 5 Intro – Transition between songs

Greetings all and Happy Holidays!

Hope you get your fill of Turkey or Tofurkey – whatever you desire!  This intro will be removed later, but for now in case you run across this – enjoy our holiday spirit!

Last week I saw a concert of professional musicians – they were excellent musicians!

BUT, there kept missing the mark on one important area.

They were not connected to the audience. Now some of the clues for this are when you hear things like “we love you Portland”. Okay, that’s not “bad” and not a sure sign, but just a clue. Let’s get to the meat of the issue.

Their 3rd song was a great upbeat syncopated number that had everyone starting to move in their seats and a few folks even started standing up to dance (in a mostly ‘sit down’ venue). Then they went to this amazing slow deep song. The one that makes you look inside, remember, and… Then abruptly shifted to another upbeat tune with a reggae feel. WHAT?

The bigger PROBLEM here is that these highly skilled touring recording artist performers do not understand Transition. This is really a make or break it skill anyone can learn but no one talks about or teaches… until NOW.

First, let’s talk about the simple part – choosing the song order. There are a lot of factors here and we’ll dive deeper later, but for now we’ll be quick and say, you want to create a “contour” of “energy” that is easy for the audience to follow and flow with. I know there will be lots of questions on this but this is really the easier part that is covered in a lot of places, so I’m moving on to focus on the next part and we’ll cover this element in a later section.

Next, and what I feel is most important, is understanding how to take the audience from one song to the next.


Does this topic sound exciting? Boring? It’s subtle…

Think about this. WHO DO YOU LOVE?

So with this image present we continue… this is not just for professionals. It’s actually more for every day singers. A lot of professionals eventually learn or figure it out, but most of us are casual to semi-pro singers and it makes such a difference.

Mastering this area can empower a mediocre skilled performer to outshine the superstars. Have you ever seen a band that was “so so” musically, but they had a “lead” who had such a rapport that everyone in the room was having a good time?

That’s part of it.

There’s another BIG part.

The skills learned to master transitions spill over to ever area of life.

You might be singing in a lineup of 10 other singers where you have no control over what happens before your song. You’ll see how to work with this.

You may be wanting to sing a sweet love song to your sweetheart while driving in the car – there are simple things that can empower your song to pull the best out of you and have your audience in the space to best receive the ‘gift’ of your voice and the music.

You might be proposing marriage or negotiating a business deal. The same skills apply.

This is a big intro for a link to a lesson… so, I’ll wrap it up here and continue on the website.

Note 1: this lesson requires feedback! I will answer questions! And I will ask questions of you.

Note 2: Update: you may know that I’ve been working on restructuring the websites for months and running into a lot of obstacles. It’s still a work in progress, so “don’t mind the dust” it’s fully functional, just not quite as pretty and organized as it will be soon.

All the Best to you!



LESSON 5 Starts Here

Based on the introduction and your life experience, tell me your thoughts on Transitions between Songs?

What have you seen that works?

What didn’t work?

How might you use this in your life? (yes, I know we haven’t covered the ‘how’ yet)

I’ll be here adding more all weekend responding and giving your the next pieces of this lesson as we interact….

Next… segment

Today we’re going to talk about one of the biggest challenges for Advanced singers, but it’s also a technique that can help singers at any level… so, I offer it to everyone.

The Problem:
How to transition from the current song/situation, to the one you are about to sing. This might sound simple, but consider these examples. Let’s say that you song is deep, emotional, moving… one of those tear jerker songs that reaches the soul of every listener – IF you sing it well.

  • The song preceding yours is sung by someone else and their song is high energy, stand up, tap your foot, dancing in the isles. You get the picture… now you have to help shift the energy of the audience to a place where they can receive the message of your song.
  • You’re at a gathering and asked to sing a song. You don’t know where everyone will be… maybe folks are scattered around the room talking in small groups… maybe a comedian just left the stage. Maybe it’s in the middle of a series of boring, or enlightening talks.
  • You’re singing to your sweetheart. Maybe you want to pop out the song at a special moment, while walking in the forest or along the waterfront… or while driving in the car.

As you can see the types of transition situations are endless… some might be easy and some are quite challenging (at first glance)… but, some people have the ‘secret’ ability to pull this off time and time again.

That’s what I’m going to teach you.

The question and answers are not trivial and go pretty deep. In fact, I’m creating an entire course just on this topic… but, I’m going to give you the core of it here. You might have paid $97 for this course, or received it as a free bonus for

Please follow this as it might be the biggest insight to singing, and doing almost anything in life that you have run across.

You won’t find it in any singing text book and unlikely you’ll see it mentioned at a master class for advanced singers (though I heard one master singer ‘hint’ at these ideas).

But, a few elite singers use this practice regularly. And, I expect most successful singers are using the technique whether they realize it or not.

Step 1: Find a good model to watch to open the door for understanding…

Assignment 1: write about what you are seeing/understanding about Transition in our blog section below.

Assignment 2: Find a good model to watch. Here are examples.

  • the Dali Llama
  • A good Preacher (not so much the firey, but the ones that set the tone so you’re ready to hear)
  • A top performer with charisma

An example of someone to watch… someone who projects a sense of Calm and Peace and perhaps Love.  Note that we will move to the qualities, but these will help us build the foundation of understanding what we are looking for.

I’ll give you specific video clips in a few days to check out on youtube.  I’m waiting because I want you to have the experience on your own rather than just taking what I hand over.  So, do this on your own.  You might go a different direction and that’s great!  You might blaze a new trail and bring fresh insight to our discussion.

For those curious about the plan…  Here’s an Outline of Lesson 5:

  • Watch people with great transition qualities
  • Discuss one aspect of what these people do –
  • Identify the main components/steps of Transition
  • Becoming masterful at each Step in Transitions
  • Tying it all together. Extending this technique to broader applications, such as entire performances, other areas of life, public speaking, promotions.

And if you’re getting to this lesson late we’ll have a break here so you can do your research before you go to the next sections.

FYI – this lesson will be interactive/live for about a week (through Dec 4). After that, I’ll still respond to comments, but those who are ‘on the ball’ will get the real time experience 🙂

Enjoy your discoveries!


Categories: FREE and Lessons.


  1. D

    Your suggestions that I should research the Transitions of various charismatic individuals are good ones and I will follow such advice. I will definitely pursue the observation of those who are Calm and Peaceful in their presentations before audiences. Thank you for this timely bit of beneficial advice.

  2. Sandra Markcrow

    Hi Everyone. Here is another video which is very close to my heart. I grew up with and Irish heritage and I was very aware of the war between the Repulicans and those aligned to the UK. The images in this video are confronting, so please take warning. Thanks for listening. (6 months into Stephan’s singing course with daily practice) 🙂

    { link removed by Admin – non functional and not clear of relevance }

  3. Sandra Markcrow

    Hi everyone, I have been practicing singing now for 6 months and am loving the course and exercises. I cannot wait for the new year and the new part of the course to come. I have a long way to go yet singing wise but just love the journey and the anticipation of what my voice could become. Here is my latest recording which I have on my facebook page. I have other recordings there too that I have created videos for. Just see my timeline. Thanks Stephen for making these vocal lessons available online. I am wishing you all a merry christmas and that the new year is kind to you all. xx https://www.facebook.com/sandie.markcrow/posts/10207357029220160?notif_t=like

    • Singing Coach

      Nice job Sandra!

      I’d like the mix to bring your voice a bit more forward, especially at the beginning.

      Thanks for sharing with us! Merry Christmas!

  4. Joyce Knake

    I like people to tell me about themselves. And sing songs that I can relate too. We have a friend that beats on his guitar when he plays and does some fancy fingering that sometimes doesn’t even fit into the song. I feel sorry for the guitar and it’s not enjoyable to listen too. I think ending with a softer song, sometimes patriotic, is a better ending.

  5. Sandra Markcrow

    Hi Everyone
    I chose as my subject for this assignment Robbie Williams. I like a few of his songs and he such a great all round entertainer. I watched one of his concerts from a few years back in Germany in order to analyse his performance rather than just watch and listen to it for pure enjoyment and entertainment. It is amazing what you notice when you are looking and listening to see how a concert is put together and noticing the transitions within it.

    A lot of pop artists use costume changes these days to aid in their song transitions. Robbie did this three times in his concert, unlike Madonna, Lady Gaga and Kylie Minogue for example that change clothes a multitude of times in a performance. Sometimes the costume change is for getting into character for a set of songs, it can be a quite powerful transition, as a visual aid for the audience and draw the eye to the entertainer.

    Robbie used stories from his own life as a transition to introduce songs to the audience. He did this many times in his performance and it was powerfully obvious that he held strong emotional connections to some of his songs. The emotions were reflected in his facial expressions and his body language as he sang the songs. Another transition he used was at times, he sat down on the stage as cue that he was going to sing softly and a more melancholic number.

    Other artists often use a current news story as a transition to a song. The song can be dedicated to a person, a group of people or a country involved. It is a way of connecting to the audience on a deeper level, the words of the song can reflect a tragedy or major upheaval in the world that has made us all open our eyes.

    All pop entertainers seem to begin a concert with just the band playing the introduction to a song and then a few minutes in, the artist appears, to roars of applause and begins performing the song. Robbie was no exception to this introduction and his first song was a very upbeat, up tempo number. “Let Me Entertain You”. In the first half hour of the concert, the energy level of Robbie was in high gear as he drew his audience in, whilst dancing, running around the stage, encouraging clapping to songs and hands waving in the air. Audience participation was encouraged right from the start, both by Robbie and his female backing vocalists. His opening transition showed the audience they were in for a thrilling ride.

    Transitions props were used throughout the concert, this is so common now in pop concerts that it is expected rather than just seeing an impressive lighting extravaganza. The props used throughout Robbie’s performance also helped to set the mood of some of his songs by giving a visual and to help the audience relate more to the song being performed.

    After the first half hour of an explosion of up tempo songs, Robbie transited into some slower, soulful numbers. The transition to these songs was achieved by talking to the audience whilst the opening bars of a song were played by the band. Even though the songs he sang were mellow during this set, he still managed to maintain a high state of energy on stage whilst singing them.

    In some songs, he changed the words slightly to appeal to his audience, for example, he used the name of the city he was touring in and also the country name he was in. At times during an instrumental break in a song, he used this time to ask the audience questions and got them to shout back to him the answers. He also picked a few people out of the audience to participate with him on stage, to their delight. He asked if the audience was enjoying the show and received screams of approval. Often he would stop singing a chorus line or two and allow the audience to sing it back to him by pointing the mic in their direction. Sometimes he would in-between songs, just vocalize sounds and ask the audience to copy him. Comedy was used at times too throughout the performance. All these aspects of Robbie’s performance are all about showmanship and getting the audience to participate, it’s not just about the singing. He excelled at encouraging audience participation and all the methods above were used to keep the energy level high and to reflect the transitions in songs he wished to achieve.

    A good lead singer always acknowledges his band members, allows them their spot in the spotlight and allows the audience to show their appreciation of their talents. Robbie did this and allowed his female backing vocal singers to perform a number on their own, whilst he went back stage to change and freshen up a little. The transition here was so smooth, hardly anyone noticed Robbie had left the stage.

    The transitions of songs began upbeat, transited to slower tempo songs, then moderate songs and finally back to up tempo numbers. His final song choice during the encore was perhaps his most popular song and favorite of the audience. (Angels). When he had sung his last song, he laid the mic on the ground to signal the show was over before taking a bow with his band members.
    The result of this well produced concert is that the audience left the concert stadium feeling like they were very well entertained, it was not just about the singing. So many different aspects came into the performance that allowed the songs to transit from one to the other. After analysis of this performance, it made me think of other artist’s concerts I have had the privilege of attending. It dawned on me that the exact same format of transitions from one song to the other is used. It seems in the pop category of music, this production standard is highly favored.

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