I am extremely honored to be a part of Elevation Church and all that God’s doing in the city of Charlotte! It’s a privilege to serve this house in many roles, but I’m most excited and passionate about raising up world class vocalists in our Church. In this post today, I’m gonna get super practical with a few quick tips for all of you who want to be the best vocalist you can be for the glory of God.
From this day forward, think of yourself as an athlete. Yes, You are a vocal athlete. Having this perspective will shift how you approach singing. In the same way a professional athlete trains, exercises and warms up before an event, we should (as vocalists and worship leaders) approach our calling the same way.
Would a runner start a race without stretching, or warming up? Of course not. And yet so many times, vocalists (myself included) will show up to lead a worship experience without performing this crucial step to allow us to use our vocal ability to its fullest potential. You can sing scales, lip rolls, hum, etc. There are tons of vocal warm-ups that can be found online. The bottom line is: find a warm up that works for you and do it every time you use your voice. So many of us are leading early in the morning and that makes it even more important to make sure that we are taking care of our instrument and warming up properly.
Its all about conditioning. A lot of vocalists are leading more than one worship experience in a single weekend. At our Elevation Blakeney and Matthews locations each week, our worship leaders are leading 4 worship experiences. That can be a daunting task to anyone who is not conditioned to sustain vocally for an entire weekend. That is why it is so important to exercise the voice during the week. Breathing exercises, singing more challenging scales, vocal sirens and other range stretching exercises are great to condition the voice for extended periods of use. I would challenge you to exercise or work out your voice 3 times a week for 20-30 minutes. The results will amaze you!
Things That Limit Your Vocal Potential
Often the question is asked, “What things can I use to help my voice?” This is usually referring to things like hot tea, lemon, honey, cough drops, etc. While most of these things are fine and sometimes can be soothing to the voice, I think it’s more important to know the things that will definitely limit your vocal potential.
Dairy Products, such as milk, cheese and ice cream will not affect you long-term, but will cause phlegm in the throat, which is obviously not something you want when trying to lead. Avoid these things at least 3 hours before you sing.
Caffeine will dry out the vocal chords causing the voice to sound scratchy. Again, this won’t effect you long-term but I would encourage you to drink lots of water on the weekends as you lead to keep hydrated properly.
Screaming is the number one voice killer. If you ever find yourself at a sporting event or concert and feeling the urge to join the crowd that is screaming their heads off, resist! Do not scream, ever! Not at your siblings, or at your dog…:) You could potentially cause irreversible damage to your voice by screaming, and we do not want that, so don’t do it!
Sleep is essential to keep the voice in the best position to perform at a high level. Eight hours per night is recommended. I know that this is a tough one, but try it and see if it doesn’t make a huge difference!
Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment with any specific questions you may have. I’ll do a follow up post soon and do my best answer some of them.
Until next time…:)