Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Danger of Oversinging

Hello my faithful readers!

"Where have you been?" you may ask. Well, let's just say that life has gotten very busy around here. I thought I was busy before I started my business! Little did I know...

Anyway, today I want to talk a little on the lines of the danger of over-singing. The praise team singers at my church have been hearing about this from me for a couple of weeks because we've all gotten to hear ourselves from the live feed in the church's recording studio after a Sunday morning or a Wednesday night.

The result has been hilarity, people groaning, and hiding their faces in their hands (oh, wait, that was me!). The reason: no one that I know of enjoys hearing their singing in raw form. Especially when the monitors and acoustics and house sound give the illusion that we sound so good. Let me tell you something: electronics in this day and age cover a multitude of sins!

So while we hate to hear what we really sound like to the online world, the praise team singers have all taken away some valuable feedback about their individual voices.

Rule #1: Know your words! Sure, you may be able to hide it from the rest of the congregation, but the individual mix doesn't lie. If you don't know your words, it is glaringly obvious in the studio.

Rule #2: Try to avoid over-singing. Since most of us singers have a false perception of what we sound like when singing with a group, we tend to over-compensate by singing louder and LOUDER. It may be a lack of being able to hear ourselves in the on-stage monitors or trying to keep our volume matched to the singers around us, but over-singing only tires out the voice, drains our stamina quicker, and unfortunately doesn't sound very good in the live feed.

The best way to not over-sing is to practice those songs you will be performing in a place where you can perfectly hear your voice. Memorize the way your body feels when performing at the appropriate volume. You should feel relaxed and carry a nice, resonant tone. Continue practicing this way as often as you can by yourself before it is time to perform on stage with others. If you practice often enough, your muscles will develop muscle memory. Then, when you finally get on stage, utilize this memory to sing the exact same way you've been practicing, even if you can't hear yourself. If you feel yourself straining in any way, know that you are probably over-singing and allow yourself to return to that relaxed state and normal volume. Remember that you are not competing with other singers as much as you are trying to blend with them, so if someone else's volume is constantly dwarfing yours, ask if you can both try to sing on the same volume level (the nice way of asking them to bring it down!).

Over-singing without knowing you're doing so can diminish your vocal stamina over time, especially if you're not singing with vocal secret weapon #3: the diaphragm. Also, it can keep you from sounding as good as you know you're capable of singing from all that hard practice!

Keep on singing, friends!

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