I'm not a professional singer but I love singing. I find it very difficult to focus on my own vocal line when I hear other vocal lines. For example,
When I was in the college choir, I sang bass, and sometimes I get distracted by other vocal parts, especially when I stand at the boundary of bass singers. What I mean by getting distracted is that my mind tries to follow others' lines and I become unable to follow my own line. When that is about to happen, I'd keep silent for a short while, re-focus, listen to other bass singers, and then continue. This rarely happens when I stand in between other bass singers.
When I listen to the "karaoke" version of pop songs1, I may have difficulties imagining the main vocal. After I get familiar with the vocal harmony (or whatever the supporting vocal line is), I may not be able to hum the main vocal while I listen to the "karaoke" version again. If the vocal harmony is strong and over the whole chorus, I may get distracted for the whole duration (such that my mind is fully engaged with the vocal harmony), and not be able to recover; but if I turn down the volume, I can usually quickly recover. (In contrast, I do not have problems humming the vocal harmony when listening to the full version.)
How can I improve? Should I try to ignore the other vocal lines that I hear and focus on my own, or allow more than one vocal lines to simultaneous co-exist in my mind? Any practice you would suggest?
1ones which omit the main vocal but retains the supporting vocals
Thank everyone for your great input! It's difficult to pick an answer :-)
If you have any other ideas, don't hesitate to post them!