Home / Music & Arts / How to sing the national anthem — tips from the pros

How to sing the national anthem — tips from the pros

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 16: Idina Menzel performs at Radio City Music Hall on June 16, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/WireImage) Noam Galai/WireImage NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 16: Idina Menzel performs at Radio City Music Hall on June 16, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/WireImage) Enlarge EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - FEBRUARY 02: Fireworks light up MetLife Stadium at the end of the halftime show of Super Bowl XLVIII between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos on February 2, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Seahawks won 43-8. The view is seen from a Customs and Border Protection helicopter operated by the U.S. Office of Air and Marine, which provided air support for law enforcement on the ground around the stadium. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images) John Moore/Getty Images EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – FEBRUARY 02: Fireworks light up MetLife Stadium at the end of the halftime show of Super Bowl XLVIII between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos on February 2, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Seahawks won 43-8. The view is seen from a Customs and Border Protection helicopter operated by the U.S. Office of Air and Marine, which provided air support for law enforcement on the ground around the stadium. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images) Enlarge

Idina Menzel will summon her best and brightest vocal fireworks when she sings the national anthem at Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday.

It’s the national anthem, but for singers, it’s a national nightmare.

Idina Menzel certainly has the talent to sing “The Star Spangled Banner” in front of 60,000 people at Super Bowl XLIX Sunday in Arizona — but our nation’s theme song presents so many challenges that talent alone isn’t enough.

“It’s the range. It’s an octave and a half, which is wide for the average person,” says Robert Sussima, a voice teacher at Pace. “It’s a song for the people, but not in terms of what it asks a singer to do.”

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Factor in the intense pressure of America’s most-watched sporting event and it’s an o-say-can-you-shriek waiting to happen.

The key to acing Francis Scott Key’s masterwork is simple but oh so difficult: Start out on the right note.

“God forbid you begin too high,” says famous voice theater Joan Lader, who’s worked with Madonna, Hugh Jackman and many singers. “By the time you get to ‘the rockets red glare’ you’ll be in big trouble.”

Opera star Renee Fleming, who scored a touchdown with her rendition of the anthem at Super Bowl XLVIII last year, concurs that the first note matters most.

“But the trickiest thing is not to be thrown off by the acoustic setting,” says Fleming. “I don’t just mean the roar of the crowd, the fireworks and helicopters. There’s a long delay on the live sound coming back to you, and trying to stay focused while singing against a six-second echo can be unnerving.”

Opera ace Renee Fleming sang a brilliant Kevin Mazur/WireImage Opera ace Renee Fleming sang a brilliant “Star-Spangled Banner” at Super Bowl XLVIII.

Phillip Boykin, a member of the Broadway cast of “On the Town,” where an instrumental version of the national anthem precedes every performance, experienced such feedback when he sang the anthem for the Cleveland Browns.

“You can’t listen to yourself or it’ll throw you off,” says Boykin. “You’ll hear the echo and you’ll think you’re singing the wrong words.”

In the end, if you want to get to “home of the brave,” travel the same route you’d take to Carnegie Hall: practice, practice, practice.

“I deal with those pressures the way most performers do,” says Fleming. “Intense preparation.”

jdziemianowicz@nydailynews.com

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