3 Essentials for Delivering a Great Vocal Performance (part 1)

I’ve had quite a few requests to post my notes from my SeedsConf vocal workshop, so here you go! I have 3 major points so I’ll post them one at a time so that they won’t be so lengthy.

The catch phrase for our vocalists throughout the conference was “controlled abandon”. I wanted them to be in complete control of their sound and their emotions, but at the same time to teeter on the edge of that control. I wanted them to have the time of their lives while giving the performance of their lives. My favorite singers of all time seem to have, at least in my opinion, an air of “I’m about to lose control, but you know I’ve got it all under control” about them. That’s because they know where they’re going before they ever get there. They understand their abilities and limitations, as well as what makes them tick emotionally. I believe that the following 3 principles will allow any singer to achieve that balance of controlled abandon.

PREPARATION

These are a few general rules that will help you stay in peak vocal shape, rules that all of our singers follow weekly.

Drink water.

Actually, drink lots of water. Room temperature water is best, as cold water will cause the muscles in your throat to contract. We want those vocal chords warm and limber, so the warmer the water, the better. Stay away from caffeinated drinks as much as possible, especially on game day. Caffeine acts as a drying agent and will rob your vocal chords of much needed moisture. Several of us choose hot water and honey as a pre-performance drink. The hot water opens up the throat and the honey cuts any built up crud. Your throat needs moisture, especially on cold, dry days so keep that thing hydrated! There are two surefire fixes for a tired voice: water and...

Sleep.

Musicians are not usually the type to get up at 6am and turn out the lights at 10pm. We are night creatures. Parties, late movies, coffeehouses, concerts - those of us who have the personality to be at home on the stage are usually the socially outgoing type. One of the toughest things to get through the heads of my younger singers is that they need to adjust their social calendar, especially on the weekend. Sleep and water are the two best remedies for, and prevention of, a tired voice.

Stretching.

Doing vocal calisthenics throughout the week will set you up for a more proficient vocal. Set aside time every day to work on your breathing and vocal agility. It’s too late on Sunday morning to begin thinking about vocal preparation. Here’s a link to a book our singers have been using for a couple of years now. I’ve found it to be the best warm-up and maintenance tool around: http://singwithconfidencebook.com.

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Andy Chrisman
Worship Pastor
Andy came to Church on the Move in 2005, having been in the music industry for over 25 years. He's dedicated to raising up the next generation of worship leaders, and even though he spent many years with the group 4him, he says he's "having more fun now than I ever did on the road."
@AndyChrisman