I’ve been singing in church, in bands, and in choirs for as long as I can remember. My thoughts on singing are probably just common sense to most of you, but maybe there are a few people out there that this will really help, at least that’s my hope.
Here’s some of what I’ve learned through the years:
- Drop the vibrato, unless you’re singing solo. Vibrato does not mix in a group setting because everyone’s vibrato has differing pitches and frequencies and it can sound awful if more than one person is using it.
- If you have the opportunity, read through the lyrics before you have to sing them.
- Enunciation is important; especially in worship music and especially if you sing in a band, in a choir, or are a soloist. People need to hear the words that you are singing.
- Hold the vowels, not the consonants. Especially avoid holding on any word with a “hiss” sound such as is usually the case with “S”, “Z”, and “Sh”.
- Soften your “R”’s. This is a harsh sounding consonant. Pay attention to words like “worship” as you sing them. You need to downplay those “R”s unless they are the first letter of the word.
- Also soften your “M” and “N” sounds as these tend to be nasally.
- Also soften your “P”’s otherwise they’ll pop, especially if you sing into a microphone. To a lesser degree, this also happens to “B”.
- To increase your vocal range to reach higher notes, lower your jaw, let it hinge from way back by your ears, like a grand piano. Also, for certain vowels, you can elongate your lips versus making a round shape. Think “long and tall” with your lips to reach the high notes. Also, consciously push your tongue forward in your mouth; don’t let it choke off the back of your throat in a relaxed position.
- If you are singing with a group, such as band, discuss those words before hand that have dual pronunciations such as “a”, “amen”, “the”, etc. and agree on the particulars before singing.
- Don’t try to imitate someone else. God made you unique and uniqueness counts when it comes to singing. People like Tom Petty and Bob Dylan would have never made it on American Idol, but they made it because of their uniqueness. Your tone, your character and your pitch are more important than your range or any stylizations you can muster.
- As a guitarist and singer, I find that I can “feel” the pitch of my voice in my head, throat and chest as I also strum guitar chords. This is hard to describe but if you play an instrument such as the guitar then you know what I mean.
- Take deep “belly” breathes and be smart in how you use this breath. Think of yourself as the bagpipes as you sing.
- If you are a band or choir singer; confidence is very important, as is being relaxed when you sing. I don’t know if this helps or hurts (it helps me); remember that you are singing to God, He is your audience, not necessarily the people in the pews. Remember that you are there to glorify God and that you are using the gifts that he has given to you for said purpose.
I would like to acknowledge my musical counterpart who plays the keyboards with me and has taught me much of what I know when it comes to singing. Thanks Ruth!
“The LORD will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” – Zep 3:17
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version, Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of International Bible Society