Want to unleash your inner rock star? No longer an Asian phenomenon, karaoke events are springing up all over the United States. Some places cater specifically to families, while others offer special nights for those with young children. They are a great way to gather the family in a night of wholesome, musical fun. Here are some tips for finding and enjoying a karaoke event near you.

Find a Location. Family karaoke is being offered in cities across the nation, including Dallas, Denver, Philadelphia, Portland, Seattle, and California. A search for “all ages karaoke” or “family karaoke” will bring up some location options in your area. Some are even held inside Asian restaurants on certain night. Just make sure the neighborhood is safe and family-friendly. A non-smoking club is preferable, since even second hand smoke can negatively affect young children. It can also get loud in some venues, so bring earplugs for children who are sensitive to noise. Other things to look for are large screens for easy viewing and good sound systems. A karaoke event might charge by the song, the hour, or an admission fee.

Public or Private? Some family karaoke clubs offer private rooms that are perfect for shyer singers. It might help to first watch other singers go first before taking the stage. A shyer child (or adult!) might prefer singing with a group instead of standing in the spotlight alone. Encourage children to not be perfectionists and to just have fun with it! It may help to think of the experience as a “sing-along” rather than a performance, since the karaoke club audience often does sing along. Younger children could also be back up dancers instead of singers!

Picking a Song. Choose something you’re at least slightly familiar with. The lyrics will be provided on large video screens, but it’s hard to follow a tune you’ve never heard. Most clubs have long lists of available songs to choose from, in almost any genre you can imagine, as well as foreign songs. Children who are learning a foreign language can use the opportunity to practice and show off their language skills! Children who don’t yet know how to read can pick songs they know by heart. Signing Up. Once your family has chosen a song you’ll need to “sign up” for a spot. When signing up, you’ll probably have a chance to give a fun name to your singing group, so be sure to decide on a name ahead of time with your family. “The Songbirds,” perhaps?

Hey Mister DJ. Some locations offer a karaoke DJ who announces each singing group and the name of their song. The DJ may also sing in between performing groups, to fill in during slow times and to keep things lively and moving. It’s a good idea to keep a few small bills on hand for tipping the DJ. Remember that they are helpful emcees, and not intimidating Simon Cowell types!

Make a Memento. For a performance to remember, ask one family member to stay in the audience and photograph the moment for a keepsake. Flip cams or cell phone cameras are usually allowed. Some clubs even offer recordings of your 15 minutes of fame, so ask ahead of time if you’re interested. On the other hand, you may prefer to have no physical proof of your performance.

Next time your family wants to spend some quality time together but can't decide on an event, consider going out for a rockin' night of karaoke. We have to warn you, it's addicting!