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

In this final part of my vocal class from SeedsConf, I focused on the mental preparation that goes into delivering a great vocal performance. Having an air of confidence as you hit the stage can take the song you’re singing to another level and will dramatically enhance your stage presence.

I never want to minimize a singer’s personality or take away the essence of what makes them unique and interesting. However, left to do their own thing most musicians will tend to go to their “comfortable place” and end up being less than compelling from the stage. We WANT to be compelling, encouraging those in our church to follow us into an awesome place of worship. With this in mind I work my singers hard, pointing out where they slip into the place of “just getting the notes out without considering the presentation.” Below are a few things I watch for…

BODY LANGUAGE

No Hips Pats
This is a clear signal that you are marking time until the song is over. It’s a basic, beginner move and it keeps you in a tight formation. Get those arms out and up!

No Forearm Clapping
First of all it just looks weird! I’ve seen vocalists clap their wrists, forearms, even elbows! Elbows, people!!! Stop it! If you have to clap your elbows to get your congregation to clap along then you need to reconsider your overall energy on stage.

If you must clap while holding a microphone, clap lightly. No one will notice the difference. Or use a mic stand. It’s also possible to clap the bottom part of your hands above the wrist - it makes very little noise and looks like an actual clap from a distance.

No Wimpy Praise Hands
If you are a model for worship then be a super model! Get those hands up and be enthusiastic.

No Horse Riding
Again this is a go-to beginner move.

Get Control of Your Vibrato
Nothing signals “lazy singer” like out of control vibrato. Your vibrato should be used only as a garnish to your overall delivery. Try this: practice singing your song without an ounce of vibrato. It’s harder than you think.

Know Your Song
Do you really know what the lyrics are saying? Do you understand why you’re singing that song this weekend? Can you relate to the message of the song? Is this song age appropriate for you? Is this song too big for you? Does it fit your voice well?

You must ask yourself these questions and answer honestly to be an effective communicator. Sometimes the appropriate decision is for you NOT to sing the song.

Be Outward, Smile, Make Eye Contact
In other words, be likable. The first thing I look for in vocal auditions is likability, after the ability to sing on pitch of course. I want our singers to look like they are having the time of their lives on stage. I want our church attenders to hope they run into our musicians during the week because they look like they are a blast to be around. Plus, people who smile and make eye contact when they communicate are taken seriously when they speak/sing.

Again, it’s not enough to just sound good. We must continue to work on our body language and presentation by watching video of ourselves and accepting constructive criticism. The most confident leaders we have on our team are those that work tirelessly on these things and take instruction without hesitation. Develop these habits and you’ll see your confidence on stage take giant leaps forward.

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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