How to Learn Singing “Climbing Uphill (When You Come Home to Me)” from The Last Five Years

How to Learn Singing “Climbing Uphill (When You Come Home to Me)” from “The Last Five Years”

Learning a new song can be an exciting and rewarding experience, especially when it comes to tackling a challenging piece like “Climbing Uphill (When You Come Home to Me)” from the musical “The Last Five Years.” In this article, we will guide you through the process of mastering this song, highlighting the unique vocal technique used, and providing practical advice along with relevant resources from Singing Carrots to support your learning journey.

Understanding the Song

“Climbing Uphill” is a solo performance by the character Cathy Hiatt in “The Last Five Years.” It showcases a witty and fast-paced internal monologue, full of clever lyrics and intricate phrasing. To master this song, it is essential to not only focus on the technical aspects but also understand the emotions and storytelling behind it.

The song requires a strong sense of characterization and vocal control to effectively convey Cathy’s frustration, determination, and vulnerability. Whether you are preparing for an audition or simply aiming to improve as a singer, mastering this song will undoubtedly enhance your skills and versatility.

Vocal Technique: Belt

One of the unique vocal techniques used in “Climbing Uphill” is belting. Belting is a powerful singing technique that involves accessing the chest voice and producing strong, resonant sounds in the higher parts of your vocal range. It creates a bold and dynamic sound that is impactful in musical theater performances.

In the song, Cathy showcases her belting prowess, especially in the soaring chorus sections. To execute this technique effectively, it is crucial to have great breath support, maintain proper posture, and avoid tensing or straining the vocal cords. Singing Carrots offers various resources (such as the article on contemporary vocal techniques) that can help you understand and practice belting safely and effectively.

Learning the Song: Step by Step

  1. Start by listening to the original cast recording or a professional performance of “Climbing Uphill.” Familiarize yourself with the melody, rhythm, and overall structure of the song.
  2. Once you are comfortable with the song, study the sheet music or lyrics. Pay attention to the phrasing, dynamics, and any specific vocal instructions provided.
  3. Use Singing Carrots’ pitch accuracy test to assess your pitch accuracy. This will help you identify any areas that need improvement and enable you to sing the song with precision.
  4. Practice the song section by section. Break it down into manageable parts, focusing on the intricate rhythms and vocal nuances. Sing along with the original recording or instrumental accompaniment to develop your timing and phrasing.
  5. Utilize Singing Carrots’ Vocal Pitch Monitor to visualize your sung notes on a virtual piano. This tool will aid in improving your pitch accuracy and identifying any areas where you might be flat or sharp.
  6. Work on your breath support and control by incorporating breathing exercises mentioned in Singing Carrots’ breathing basics article. This will help you sustain long phrases and deliver the song with power.
  7. Experiment with different interpretations and vocal nuances to bring your own personal touch to the song. Consider watching performances of other talented singers tackling similar repertoire to gain inspiration and ideas.

Other Popular Songs Utilizing Belting

Belting is a versatile technique that has been widely used in musical theater. Apart from “Climbing Uphill,” here are a few other popular songs that incorporate belting:

  • “Defying Gravity” from the musical “Wicked”
  • “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” from the musical “Dreamgirls”
  • “I’m Here” from the musical “The Color Purple”
  • “Don’t Rain on My Parade” from the musical “Funny Girl”