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. Sandra Markcrow

    I think when you are performing any song, it helps to research the meaning of the song as much as possible. Find out what the song writer mean’t by the words and what emotions are predominant in the mood of the song. Listen to as many different artists versions of the song. This helps to prepare the singer for singing the song and helps the singer to set the mood of the song before performing it. This is the transition I think is important when you are about to perform a song. Set the mood in the beginning, talk a little to audience about the song before performing it. If you are in a line up with other singers and the person before you sings an upbeat song and your song is perhaps a sad, emotional heartfelt song, a few words before you perform it will set the mood for the audience and they will not be stunned by the transition between the two very different song moods. If you are performing a lot of songs in a row (concert), careful consideration needs to go into song order. I think the opening song needs to grab the audiences attention, so perhaps a song that is upbeat but does not stretch your vocal range too much, a kind of warm up song for your voice and the audience. As the performance continues, slowly build the transition between songs with more vocal challenges that show the audience your vocal range and expertise in delivering a song. The final song choice should be a popular song, an audience favorite, so they will remember after the concert has finished, how much they enjoyed themselves. Once again, talking to the audience throughout the performance helps set the mood and mindset of each song. Singers need to be rounded entertainers, build a relationship with the audience that goes beyond just singing the songs. Remember to smile and encourage the audience to sing along, especially during the chorus of popular known songs.

    • Singing Coach

      Hi Sandra,

      Lot’s of great input here!

      I’d like to highly and expand on 2 points you raised.

      1 – Researching the song and listening to A LOT of other interpretations of the song can be highly valuable. When in music school, often there might only be 2 or 3 records ever done of a more obscure classical song for example, so it’s not always easy. But, it’s worth the research time and you’ll discover a lot from listening to others.

      In our internet connected world today much more is readily available online, but remember that there are physical LIBRARIES one can visit. Especially for finding older recordings… the inter library loan system is phenomenal and you can get more music than you can imagine – usually for free, or at most for paying the shipping costs.

      2 – Listening to the audience. We’ll get into this more in a later lesson (so many left to return too)… but you touched on it here so it might be worth dropping in.

      You plan your set – great! Sometimes you can’t vary and have to stick with it… but if you or a small group have more flexibility, it can be helpful to keep a close eye on the audience and read their response. Sometimes the opening song might server several roles, such as testing the responsiveness of the audience, and in a sense “training” the audience.

      One of the most noticeable examples of “training the audience” is when one member of your group starts clapping their hands in a high visible way to get the audience physically engaged.

      Most any and every song are an opportunity to observe the audience and notice how they are responding and to connect with them, much like you listen and talk with a good friend.

      Some songs enable a wide latitude of tempo, emotion, and spirit flavors of playful to serious. And, many songs lend themselves to moving around in presenting between different interpretations.

      Looks like i got on another writing roll and drifting a bit off the primary topic. Hopefully good notes or ideas for someone.

      Thanks again Sandra for your great input here.


      • Sandra Markcrow

        Thanks Stephen. The reading of the audiences reaction is a great lesson to learn. If later on down the track of this singing course, I get to a stage where I am able to perform, I think initially I will be very nervous and perhaps will not want to make much eye contact with the audience. But I can see if you do actually look at your audience’s reactions for feedback, it will go a long way to easing the nerves. I currently am working on a few songs after each practice session of your lessons and recording them. Each song, I am researching online and listening to as many interpretations of the song by different artists. I find I learn a lot from this. I used to manage a high school band in the 80’s and wrote all the sheet music for them by hand. I had to cater for many different instruments but it was a labor of love. Seeing them develop, perform and love what they were doing,( young teenage boys), it only compounded my love for music.

        Is there another vocal exercise included in lesson 5, if so, how do I access it? I am ready to go back and recap all the lessons. Am looking forward to it because I know revision is a really good learning opportunity. Thanks again Stephen.

        • Singing Coach

          Hi Sandra,

          In hindsight, the note about observing the audience is a bit premature (actually a pretty advanced topic with a lot of diverging views). I may go back and edit that part out…

          There is no vocal download for Lesson 5 – Lesson 5 is not complete and will likely be moved to a separate training track (which will be available to anyone currently here) after the next website restructure is complete.

          I appreciate your enthusiastic participation!

          FYI – for those who may be sitting on the sidelines of these discussions, please dive in! We continued testing and moving the location of comments for “new” folks (not you) to find better ways to encourage conversation. Thus far there are over 20,000 comments on this program – the problem goes like this… when there are no comments, folks typically don’t comment. when there’s a good flow of comments, folks tend to start commenting a lot! Suddenly an avalanche of comments come through that no one can keep up with or follow – then many folks get discouraged by being lost in the flood and not receiving timely feedback… so, we’re trying to find the best balance and are open to ideas to improve this process. The lessons are great on their own, but peer collaboration helps empower everyone to go further.


  2. John Churilla

    HEY does anyone remember back in the 70,s if your past 50 you may recall Alis Cooper

    {deleted by Admin}

    while performing….now that what i call a transition …..LOL : )

    • Singing Coach

      I believe this was a “transition” to a Jail Cell after being arrested.

      Not at all the type of transition we’re exploring here.

  3. John Churilla

    from my short experience in music 3 half years ago i did not know what G chord was on guitar . and could not sing a note , but what i have really learned in the last year is good constant practice daily at least an hr. working on some thing you don’t do well singing and or playing your musical instrument every day . is how you find your personal hidden talents , what ever they maybe . Stephens lessons and tips help you find them to build them or find your weakness . I find practice is the mother of all skill at any craft you do . its not fun sounding horrible , but its the best way to find out how to fix it LOL there are NO short cuts to success regardless what most people musical talent is something your born with . I think its something you have to create . I like practice most days music has joy to me wish i would have started when i was young …i guess that’s why i like to practice time is not on my side ..thanks Stephen for the lessons you offer for a reasonable fee

  4. Paula Rose

    I love the idea of transitions because we use them in everyday life when we talk to people, when putting kids to bed and even getting from one place to the next. Transitions are about making things run smoothly by adding a little bit of fluff in between. Transitions make you think and when you pull them off successfully you feel successful. I’ve never sang before but I believe that ‘transition time’is a great time to connect with the audience.

    • John Churilla

      transitions smooth or rough thats real life at its best ..when it comes to music and what is good to listen to …that a hard one for beauty is in the eye of beholder music as we all know it today , is hard ….the corporations and media tells people what they like now ..most people can think for themselves and the comparisons go from Rap music to opera and thousands of kinds of music in between … Transitions depends who listening the kind of audience you have to entertain would be a big factor how you cross that bridge …most musicians or those who want be one copy another successful musicians singing …I think that why most people worried to sing in public they fear they don’t sound like the real artist who wrote or sings the song there trying to sing … people are taught to think its some thing that your born with . so we spend years telling our self we can sing and guess what …we can not sing .. because we never tried and we told you can sing when you do.. and then you tell yourself over and over again ..you cant sing and guess what , you cant sing LOL as for transitions only way to know that is to learn how to use your voice god gave you … then i think you become your own singer and musician , not some body else …I trying to learn how to be who God made me to be as a singer ..then transition will come

  5. Shivani

    Hey Stephen!
    You are the man of your words. Right now I’m not able to keep up with the lessons because I’m in 12th grade so don’t get enough time. But I practice the lessons which you sent in the first 3 lessons and even that much of practice is making my voice abilities better. I was real bad at high notes but a lot better now. When I started my course here I thought this would b one more of those sites which promises too much and as time will pass I’ll stop receiving these lessons too. But that didn’t happen and all thanks to you man! M really looking forward to continue my lessons again as soon as m finished wid my high school.
    Thanks again!

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