Worship Band Builder Podcast

Easy Tips to Sing Well - Episode 23

July 28, 2020 Eric Michael Roberts Episode 23
Worship Band Builder Podcast
Easy Tips to Sing Well - Episode 23
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Worship Band Builder Podcast
Easy Tips to Sing Well - Episode 23
Jul 28, 2020 Episode 23
Eric Michael Roberts

We are talking about simple ways to sing better…. 

Number 1 - Pick the right key for you - watch the octave jumps 

Number 2 - protect Your Voice 

Number 3 - Monitor well - be able to hear yourself 

Number 4 - Protect your reputation…. protect your ministry 

sing where you are comfortable 

Sing songs that match your ability 

Know your boundaries as a vocalist 

Support the show (https://worshiptheking.com/partner/)

Show Notes Transcript

We are talking about simple ways to sing better…. 

Number 1 - Pick the right key for you - watch the octave jumps 

Number 2 - protect Your Voice 

Number 3 - Monitor well - be able to hear yourself 

Number 4 - Protect your reputation…. protect your ministry 

sing where you are comfortable 

Sing songs that match your ability 

Know your boundaries as a vocalist 

Support the show (https://worshiptheking.com/partner/)

Speaker 1:

[inaudible]

Speaker 2:

Hi and welcome to this episode of the worship band Boulder podcast, where we are working with you to lay the foundation for skillful worship. I'm Eric Roberts and I'm joined by my giggly and quite funny cohost Emily Roberts. Hi everybody . She is, I mean, really the outtakes would be our work . I don't, I don't even know what to say. She's mrs . Giggle pants over here.

Speaker 1:

I don't think that I can be Holy to blame for this. I feel like this is partly due to your input.

Speaker 2:

Okay. In one episode or one , one take, I said, don't leave France . And since then, the whole thing has just been that's all it takes. It's all it's been it's over. Okay. So there is one important thing and you might get serious. It is not funny. Wait a minute, if you say don't leave France point your finger. It is funny. It is all funny. It's still funny. It is always going to be funny.

Speaker 1:

I agree. Okay . Okay. So it is funny, but it is not relevant. So let's move forward.

Speaker 2:

Yes. We're moving forward to this episode, which is called easy tips to sing well, and I mean easy, like E Z tips, the number to sing. Well, that's how I wrote it. And I think that's the episode, easy tips to sing. Well, and I brought in vocal coach, Emily Roberts.

Speaker 1:

Well, I'm not sure what you want me to talk about, but I'm here.

Speaker 2:

Well, she doesn't know. And that's what I'm going to talk about. There are about four tips here. So by the end, we'll have about eight of them. That's what's going to happen, but we're going to keep this episode kind of , you know , short, we're not going to do this like 45 minute thing. Okay. First of all, I'm going to talk to you guys vocalist. I mean, it's the one thing that, honestly, for me, when you listen to yourself back on the live stream, it's like, that is the, the most fearful thing for me to ever do when I was young and I was in the studio and I first was getting into like singing in the studio. They would like solo the vocal track. And I would just want to die. Let that moment.

Speaker 1:

Yes. Well hearing yourself, you don't sound like what you think you sound like.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's totally weird. So if a , if a , if a studio engineer soul was your vocal, or if you have to sing or listen back to yourself in the car or listen to yourself on the Facebook feed. I mean, that's when it becomes real like, Oh my goodness, because being a vocalist now I trained as a vocalist. Emily's trained along many years of the vocalist. I've also trained as a vocalist and it's, it's always hard. It's never easy. So that's kind of the thing from last episode, it's hard. It's not easy to sing. Well, it's not easy. You don't just get up there. Some people , uh , very few people in my whole life I've met, who just didn't have any training and they opened up their mouth and you're like, Whoa,

Speaker 1:

Yes, there are those rare few that just can consistently produce a gorgeous tone. And you could just listen to them all day and night. But for most of us, because you are your instrument , um, it's a very unstable balance. Just tipping your chin a little bit or , um , not getting enough breast support, any little tiny thing can change the sound that is coming out of your,

Speaker 2:

So we're going to talk about one, two, three, four issues. They're all created to make it fast, like to get better, fast to protect part of it's protecting your reputation, which is kind of weird, but I'll explain that protecting don't don't come out and listen and be like, Oh, that was terrible. So quick things you can do, easy things you can do that will make it to where you don't have those moments where you're like, that was terrible. Why did I do that? Number one, pick the right key to sing your song in.

Speaker 1:

Oh my goodness. And I can't tell you how many people overlook this. Even people who are excellent singers will choose a key that does not suit them and it's simply not flattering .

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And so there are two, two issues and pick the right key and it's, it's the same to pick the right key and don't jump the octave. Okay. So two things, the octave thing is a little more in depth conversation, but just if you, you got to sing in a key that the entire song, okay, this is the real key to this. The entire song is comfortable because the verse sounds good. The chorus sounds good. And maybe you don't practice all the way through. And maybe you think that the bridge is going to be fine, but the bridge might be the plight place that goes really high. And then you get to the bridge and you're like, Oh my goodness, that's too high. So I think you look at the whole song as a whole, seeing each individual part, making sure that each part sits in your voice, in the comfortable part for you. That is the key.

Speaker 1:

This is harder than it sounds because there are many popular worship songs right now that are requiring an octave jump. And I think that that is intended to intensify the emotion of the song. But most of us do not have a range that accommodates that. Um, so you can choose to just sing the whole song in one octave and not take the octave jump.

Speaker 2:

Right? So if you're a baritone for me, that is my choice. Every time I find that a middle range key , that sounds pretty good. And I did this with Lord . I need you Matt Maher last week, two weeks ago, I just picked now it was a, it wasn't as I'd say that the effect wasn't as great as if I could have octave jumped, but I just picked the middle ground key . And so the verses were a little and then the chorus was a little, you know, it was just a little normal and it sort of flowed normally together and it was the same key and I was fine with it.

Speaker 1:

But you have to ask yourself , uh, what, what's more important. Is it more beneficial to the song overall for you to sound terrible for an entire verse because it's too low, just so that you can make that octave jump or is the impact of jumping an octave worth it? Um , that that's something you have to decide for yourself. If you're Carrie Underwood, you can do that and, and you know, more power to you, but if you're not, then , um, an entire verse of you singing in the gravel of your range is hard to listen to.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Th these songs guys, listen, they were written and performed by phenomenal vocalist. And not even that specific vocalist that have those ranges and not every one of you out there and every church and every, every ministry has that range. And you're not gonna sound good. There's going to be a time in that song that you sound terrible. And so I, I either take out the octave jump and making an average key for me. And I pick the right key that I feel comfortable in, which is my number one tip to sound good. Or I just ask somebody else to sing the verse and then I'll come in and we kind of back and forth. So that's a little bit, but you have to , uh , pick the right key for your voice through each part of the song. And then you have to go, like, I sound really good on each one of these parts. And then sometimes it's going to be a different key, or it's not going to be the Carrie Underwood version, or it's not going to be the new Bethel version where they've got these vocalists who are very rangy, but even not even on the record. That's the other thing I want you guys to understand when you hear some, some of these vocalists who are world class on they're on the record and they're doing the octave jump in the studio. Okay. When they're singing some of these, sometimes they're using like different mikes on that low part, there may be singing those little parts of different day. They're , you know, they're doing all these different tricks to make it sound like that. If you ever watch them live, sometimes it's not so great. Sometimes it sounds so low in their voice. They had to start so low because they know that jump is going to be so far near the top of their range, that they just don't have that range. It's not a great range. Okay. Not a great voice in all ranges. All right . So we'll , we'll pick up on that later, but don't feel bad about just making it in an average range, dropping the octave or having like the Alto, seeing the beginning and then using the middle and just back and forth. Because the last thing I ever want to do is be on stage straining. Yes . Or be on stage singing so low that it sounds dumb. You have to use your musical brain and know that's not gonna work for me. So I'm gonna make it work or I'm gonna find a way around it. Yes . I see it all the time. I see you guys out there all the time, either on YouTube or on live things, or I go to churches and I see people doing this, they're , they're picking the wrong key and they're making themselves sound bad. Okay. So number two, Ricola, rest, water warming up at night, protect your vocal instrument. That's the key.

Speaker 1:

Yes. These things really, they seem like stuff that is maybe not necessary. I can just skip that. It's no big deal. If I don't drink enough water, it's no big deal. If I stayed out a little late, you know , um, but I have coached voice for a long time. And I can tell you that when my students come to me and they haven't had enough water the day before, I will see them lose as much as four notes off the top of their range, compared to when they are having enough water to drink. Um, you know, and rest goes along with that, keeping your body in good shape, all of these things. Because again, you are your instrument. Um, you wouldn't abuse an expensive guitar. Don't abuse, your voice and your bond .

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So drink a lot of water. I like to warm up at night the night before, like really good, like really strong. And if I, if I warm up at night, cause you're going to get up early, you go to , you go to worship practice like 7:00 AM right now. It's like, that's insane. So if you warmed up at like nine o'clock at night, went to bed weirdly enough, the morning, your voice is still, it's not all warm, but it's a lot easier to warm up. If you haven't warmed up in two or three days, and you've got to go at 7:00 AM to saying your voice is just hurts . So warm up a lot every day,

Speaker 1:

Every day I, I started this recently. I always knew that warming up every day should be a part of a vocalist practice. I wasn't great at keeping that, but recently I've been doing that. And I can tell you, I am really amazed at how far my voice is extending high range and low range. I've I've added, I'm going to say, wow, like, like four or five notes on each end, just from, just from warming up every single day, it really does make a difference.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. And I've, I'm the opposite. I've been running a lot of sound working on these tutorial videos and not leading worship a lot. And then they like, can you lead worship Sunday? And I'm like, yeah. And I just like, Oh, my throat feels bad. My voice feels bad. So definitely do that. If your voice is dry, I use Ricola. Um, and we'll put a link in the description, but I, a certain kind of drops for drop. Yeah .

Speaker 1:

They're not expensive.

Speaker 2:

Use them. You get them at Walmart. They're this kind right here, the Ricola. And I forget what they are now, but what we'll , we'll say it's the honey, it's the honey, honey herbs , little orange one.

Speaker 1:

In my opinion, this is the only flavor that tastes good. So I'll just, I mean, that's preference of course, but

Speaker 2:

It's the only one that works vocally for me. I mean halls sometimes, but I generally have to have these on my music stand and I'll pop on in right before I start. I know it sounds weird, but my throat gets dry and uh , probably cause not enough water. Uh , but you can use that and it keeps your throat from getting all destroyed. Also, if you're at a 7:00 AM rehearsal, just warm up on your way and use some of our warmup rehearsal stuff, use some of our warmup , uh , audio or go on Spotify. I found some really cool ones on Spotify. You can just type in, warm up vocals, warm up on the drive in user Ricola and drink a lot of water. I was talking to a worship leader a couple months ago and he said he drinks like six bottles of water on Sunday morning, like all morning. And he said, that's the only way he really stays. Like, he's just drinking water.

Speaker 1:

Is he doing multiple services while ? Yeah .

Speaker 2:

So he's just drinking water all morning. So I think, I didn't think that I thought water would only help. Like if you, if you were already hydrated. Yeah. But he's like, it just keeps me going the whole morning to keep, just keep drinking water. So don't drink a bunch of coffee, even though that's what I do. Don't drink a bunch of coffee all morning while you're leading

Speaker 1:

Coffee, actually dehydrates your voice .

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So it makes it worse. All right off from being protected. Let's talk about monitor. Well , so you have to hear yourself and this is just another one of those. When I'm singing, somebody says, Hey, lead worship, or come sing. I am thinking a lot of weird selfish thoughts about, okay, am I going to be able to hear myself is a sound going to be right? Did I'm thinking just, I'm gonna let you into my brain for a moment. Okay. I'm thinking, and judge me, if you want to, I'm thinking is my mic Mike, or am I going to be on who's running sound for me? Are they going to have my mic ? Right ? Whose monitors am I going to have a monitor? Am I going to have you able to hear myself? Um, what key are the songs in? If they didn't like, if they're picking them for me, like I need to pick my own key. I'm thinking a lot of things that seem selfish and they seem petty. If you just set them one at a time. But for me, I am looking to have an experience that I can be professional. I'm a professional vocalist, my professional worship leader. I don't want to go up there and sing in the wrong key with a microphone that doesn't make me sound right. And somebody mixing that, I can't hear myself. So I'm straining. And then I get off stage and I'm like, that was terrible. What did I do?

Speaker 1:

Well, it would be like asking a marathon runner to , uh , do their race in a pair of flip flops, you know ?

Speaker 2:

Well , did they hand you flip flops and say, well, here you go. You're going to run for our team here . That's not selfish.

Speaker 1:

That is just , um, that's you need the right equipment to be successful.

Speaker 2:

Right? So I'm thinking about all those things. And sometimes I'm like, you know what, it's fine. If they have monitors, I'll just get through it. But it stresses me out, you know? Cause I'm , I'm, I'm looking for a , um, an optimal scenario where I'm able to lead worship and sing and do those things where it actually works. So hearing yourself well is probably one of those things. That's most important. If you're on stage and you can't hear yourself and musicians toy with , you know, make fun of each other, like, Oh, you just want to be louder than everybody else. And you don't get tar players will turn their amps up all the time just to be louder. And it's not that if you can't hear yourself on stage, then you usually you're going to blow out your voice first service. You're going to , you're going over saying , you're going to sing off pitch. Your voice is going to get hoarse . I know after one service that I couldn't hear myself, cause my voice will feel bad. Like I know that I've, I'm yelling almost and it's not good. So monitoring is important. Being able to control your , your monitors. We've talked about that in another podcast , how to set up monitors, what to do. If you're using an enter, you have to be using a room mic . There's some, there's some nuances to these things.

Speaker 1:

Well, and this may be a piece of it that you are not in control of. If you are a vocalist and you know nothing about the sound board or what kind of mic you are standing in front of, et cetera , it becomes very important for you to communicate with your sound person. Um, you know, you, you want to know their name. You want to be friends with them and you want to talk to them until you get what you need. Um, you , you have to be a little bit persistent. If you're not getting enough monitor, then you need to say it and tell somebody hears you and fixes it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And like, for example, if you hear you're singing into this microphone and it sounds muffly. Okay. Just for example, it sounds all muffled in the room. It's okay for you to go, Hey, I sound real muffly. Can you fix that? Uh , this isn't right for me, this isn't work. That's not what I'm supposed to sound like. Cause they I've seen people just like , uh, they'll just turn up one, turn up the treble. But , and you're like, Oh yeah, that, that feels better. That feels like that's, that's what I should sound like. And you're not all muffly and weird. Some people aren't keyed in on that and they might just be like, well, it sounds okay to me. And you have to be a little, little bit of that and say, Hey, this something's got to change, you know? Yes . Just don't be afraid to say something.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. You have to be your own representative in this case.

Speaker 2:

Right. And you know, sometimes, and don't worry, some people say, Oh, she's a diva. Or you know, people might would say that probably about me in terms of guitar stuff. Just because I'm particular because I know what I want. I know what I should sound like. I know what it should be happening. And you know, sometimes they might look at you and think, well that guy's kind of picky and kind of weird. But at the end of the day, at the end of service, they're going to go. That's not a good like, Oh, I want to yeah. Come back. Or yeah, we like it when you're doing this because you're taking the extra time to get to know the gear, to make that little switch like, Hey, can we , um, can we change this so that I sound better? Can we change this so that I can hear myself because I can't harmonize with, you know , Suzy , if I can't hear Susie ,

Speaker 1:

It should go without saying, but , um, even though you may have to be persistent to get what you need, continue to be kind, use kind words. The sound guy or girl can make you or break you . You need them. They are an integral part of your team. And um, you know, they , they are just as crucial as everybody else that is up on the stage and you need to , um, just speak to them continually with kindness.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And it's, this is a journey as well. It's not like all going to happen all at once. You're probably leading worship at a church every week. So if this week goes by and it was like, that was terrible. I couldn't hear myself. I sounded muffly. Make those notes. Talk to the sound guy. Don't just show up the next week, all disgruntled and upset. Like I, if I'm muffly this week, I'm going to be mad . You know, I didn't talk about this yet on our podcast , but it takes work. I mean, midweek work all the way, all the time. Constant work, tweaking little things all throughout the week, calling your sound guy on Tuesday and be like, Hey, on Sunday I noticed, I sounded a little muffly. Can we get together and work on my microphone? Like on Wednesday after church, can we get together and work on it and then take that it doesn't have to happen at rehearsal. It has to happen as a continuing thing all the way around. So this final point is about protecting your reputation. And it's not just all about you, but Hey, if you want to, if you're trying to build skill and there's nothing wrong with that, trying to be build skill and you're trying to protect and create art and protect your reputation. So sing , this is sort of, this is what I talked about in the very beginning. So I'll wrap this episode up with this, protect your reputation. You don't want to get off stage, have them be like, wow, that person sang off key while they were so loud. And they were just that busted my eardrums when she was singing so loud, it was so awful. You know, nobody wants that. It doesn't matter where your sound guy is. You're the one on stage. You're the one that they're looking at. And you're the one that they're going to say, wow, that was so terrible. It was so loud . Or that was so off key. She was singing. So off key , uh, all of these things affect you as you go forward. All right . So this brings me to my final point, which I said, I mentioned earlier, I'm going to wrap it up and kind of make you understand, protect your reputation. And I don't know if that's the right terminology, but basically when you're singing on stage, you're the face, you know , you're the one up there. So if it's too loud, if it's off pitch, if it's a wrong key, if it's all muffly, if it's so loud and shrill and hurting everybody's ears, they're looking at you and they're thinking, wow, that person is bad. The bad singer, or that sounded terrible and that's going to happen. It's going to be on you. So singing the right key, you know, basically be able to hear yourself, do everything that we said in this episode. So at the end of the day, you're able to produce a skillful worship vocal and really serve the congregation. It's nobody wants to hear monthly out of tune . Struggling.

Speaker 1:

He is, is really the bigger overarching issue here is that again, as a worship leader, we've talked about this before, but the biggest thing that you have to do is minimize distractions and that , I mean, that's everybody on the team. So even if you're a backup vocalist , um, we need to minimize the distractions that stop a person from connecting with God during that worship time. Okay. So this isn't about being a diva. This is about making a, a conducive environment for worship. Um, those, those things are a great distraction. And um, yeah, I mean, at the same time, if we're talking about protecting your reputation, if you, if you want to continue leading worship, then um, the services have to go, well, it's kinda like that. But for me, just personally, the, when I first started singing, it was about timidity. It was about , um, not wanting to put anybody out or bother them or whatever. So I can't hear myself, but I'll just deal with it. Um, that kind of self sacrificing you , you think that you're doing people a favor, but if you sing off key the entire service, because you can't hear yourself, then you haven't done anybody, any favors.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And then I guess in it's it's hurting the worship service and then this reputation thing, it's like, they're going to be like, well, Emily's, we're going to get somebody else next week. Cause that was terrible. So it's like, not really just your reputation, but it is your ministry. So maybe it should be protect your ministry, protect you. Yeah .

Speaker 1:

There you go. Protect your ministry. That's that sounds so much better to me because it's really about us. The worship service is, is directed at God, ideally. And it's not about promoting you as a singer, but um, why it is important for you to be able to give your best performance because you're giving it to God and it is a service to your congregation.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And no , nobody in that light, nobody's going to be worshiping. And , and just, I say, nobody, that's a sweeping statement. Most people are going to be like, what is happening this vocal ? Like when things are going wrong, when songs are way out of key, when people are singing way off, key people notice, I mean, it's an art form singing and you know, they know what sounds good. In other words, if they go into the world, if they go into a concert or if they go into an opera house, I mean, it's , it's high level on key singing usually. And that's, that's , that's what you're singing. You're singing with those people. So if you're way off pitch, they'll be like, well maybe we shouldn't have , uh , Emily back. Cause she just, every time she gets up there, it's like, she can't find the key. And that's why it's important that you protect that part of your ministry, that part of your reputation, that part of, of, Hey, when we ask him to let us sing, it's has always really good. It's it's we love it. And we're able to worship, that's the point, that's the point about this? I'm also, this is about being comfortable and knowing your boundaries. So be comfortable on stage and know your boundaries. Know every, if you know, it's going to be too high for you, don't do it. If you, if you know that song is really easy for you to sing and you're really comfortable, you're going to be a better worship leader. You're going to be a better singer, just being comfortable, protecting that space around you. And I think just knowing yourself, knowing your boundaries and knowing what it's like to be like, I nail that song every time I sing it. I know that song I'm comfortable with that. There have been a lot of times recently where they'll give me like the song list and I do it and I'm just not comfortable with that song. So I do it anyway. And then I just never felt super comfortable at the end. And that's sort of goes against sort of my own personal rules of like controlling those things for me as a, as a performer and a vocalist.

Speaker 1:

I had a vocal coach when I was younger, that was an opera singer and she was a Metso soprano. And I asked her, but can you sing those really high leg, dog whistled nodes ? Can you get way up there? And she said, yes, I can. But why would I, that's not where I sound my best. And that really, to me, that statement , um, changed the way I looked at singing. You really want to give yourself the opportunity , um , the advantages that need to sound your best. Why would you sing in an uncomfortable range when you're uncomfortable? Your audience's uncomfortable.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And nobody wants that. Nobody wants that is a great story to end this one on right now .

Speaker 1:

If you say sell I'm in total .

Speaker 2:

Well, since I am the producer and writer of this episode, I totally say so. So if you want more tips, you can always go to worship band, builder.com, check out the vocal foundations that's taught by Emily and myself. I think I, I don't remember if I, what I did on there. Oh, I did. I did. I touched them a rangefinder. We have a rangefinder module in there that helps you find your range and do things like that. We're here for you. Also leave your comments, make sure you like the video, share the video, subscribe to the channel. Cause that really helps. And let us know what you think about everything. We just said everything we just said, let us know what you think in the comments. Write it out and we'll see you next time. [inaudible] .