Singing Help for Worship Leaders
The role of Worship Leader is a great privilege that comes with many blessings and many sacrifices. We are worship leaders at very large church with several campuses and partner churches all over the world. In February 2015 we celebrated 25 years at Lake Pointe Church, so I would love to share some things in this column that I hope will be helpful to you. I’m sure you have many things that would be helpful to us as well and we would love to hear from you! You can take a FREE LESSON and see some of what I would like to help you with.
As a worship leader, I understand the special tasks involved in the process of creating and delivering the best worship experience possible for the people gathered for that purpose, and how difficult it is to employ good vocal techniques rehearsal and service after rehearsal and service and on and on. It is year round, event after event, and very taxing on the voice, let alone the body and emotions. There are so many elements that the leaders are thinking about (band, transitions, keys, singers, worshiping without excluding the people you are leading, and above all, the participation of the people in the room), and I’m sure you can name many others. With all of these things on our minds, our own vocal production sometimes goes by the wayside. It is so hard not to push the voice during services because we are trying to help create energy in the room. Everyone in the band plays louder and sings harder once the service starts and adrenaline kicks in. We almost can’t help it! We then experience vocal fatigue, muscle tension, sagging pitches, and sometimes just don’t make our best vocal sounds. The extra push and tension in our throats tend to squeeze out our natural sound and limit the freedom of expression and emotion that would allow us to connect on a deeper level.
Many times we have to sing when we are sick or not in our best voice. We have begun making sure we have 3 or 4 singers on stage that can lead a song or take over if the leader is experiencing vocal issues. This is for the longevity of each singer as well as providing insurance that vocal issues won’t be a distraction to the worship experience. For example, this weekend I led “Healing is in your Hands.” During the preceding song at the 11:00 service, I got that terribly helpless drainage choking thing going on. I got off the mic, bowed my head and coughed and choked, hoping the producer would keep me off the camera. I would have left the stage had I not been leading the next song. When the intro started, though I was no longer coughing, I still had that dry spot that threatened, so I only had to motion to my awesome daughter to start the song. She jumped in like the pro that she is. By the second verse I was able to take over, and everything was seamless. Had I been the only singer onstage we would have had to stop because I couldn’t sing at all for about three minutes. I’m pretty sure that no one but the band noticed, so I am thankful to God for that.
Because we sing week after week, we are athletes with our voices. Most athletes have an off-season, but we are always on, in more ways than one. There are many facets to being a worship leader that don’t involve singing, so sometimes we don’t take the time to take good care of our voices. Since we sing endlessly, taking time to train and warm up our voices is really not an option if we want to have long careers. One of my goals for you is vocal longevity. You should sound better with every passing year. Your voice doesn’t reach maturity before your mid-thirties and should only improve for the rest of your life. I will be teaching you good vocal care, how to take care of your body (because it is your instrument), stretches for singers and players to help you stay flexible and pain free despite the overuse and repetitive use of certain muscles, and hopefully have some good input about leading worship. I am passionate about helping you be able to minister to your people with total freedom from vocal issues. If you have already developed vocal problems, I can help restore your voice if you will put in the practice time. I care about you and want to help you overcome any vocal struggles you may be having.
How then can we overcome these issues? Only by training our voices during the week so that when are are in the other element, muscle memory kicks in and we are good to go. I teach lots of live lessons in my studio, and at TheProSinger.com you will find many lessons that will get you started; and then if you want to go deeper, you are most whole-heartedly invited to join the TheProSinger.com and take full advantage of all of the lessons and helpful information that will help you overcome vocal issues and build a great and healthful vocal technique that will last you a lifetime!