New music…Yay! Now you have to learn it. Rehearsals only occur once every week. What can you do, by yourself, to make progress?
1- Look at the words. Get familiar with them, reading them as a poem and then reading them in rhythm. Are there sections that repeat? Do they repeat exactly or do some words change with each section? Do you understand all the words, or all the references that are made in the song?
2- Tell a story. To sing a song with any kind of conviction, you need to know what you are singing about. If there’s no story obvious in the song, make one up that works for you and sing THAT story, convincingly.
3- Find a recording. There is a wealth of recorded material on the Internet and on cd’s. Find one you like and listen. Focus on the total sound while looking at your music. Then focus on your part while looking at the music.
4- Audiate. Once you’ve learned your part, sing it in your head. If you’re not sure of your part yet, recite the words in your head.
5- Mark your music. Write down what is discussed about the songs in rehearsal, so that you can refer to it when you practice alone. Circle the parts you have trouble with in rehearsal so you can go through them slowly in your own practice.
Sing with a smile as a part of your practice. You’ll feel better (smiling always makes you feel better), generally sound better, and you’ll look better when you finally get on stage and perform all this new music.