5 tips to help worship leaders become better singers

 1.  In your practice:

PLAY with your voice. Every sound that you possibly CAN make (no matter how ‘awful’ you THINK it sounds) can be used and incorporated as a colour into your singing palette when good technique is applied.
Remember that the purpose of Worship is to connect with God and use the supernatural qualities music added to powerful lyrics to COMMUNICATE and reach people’s soul’s what a privilege!!! Seek to use your full voice to achieve this- don’t be satisfied living in only a corner of your voice.

2.   In the band:

Don’t neglect the backing vocalists! -If you are a worship leader, I know you have the whole band to think about and a lot going on, but though it’s tempting (especially when juggling the whole arrangement) try not to ignore the backing vocals- they tend to get the least comment, feedback and direction and they can really make or break the worship!

The human voice is immensely powerful in communicating the message. Make time to experiment with harmonies and using backing vocals as another instrument to add dynamic and colour. Also try varying from time to time; sometimes use just one BV, sometimes use two or even three for different effects. When organizing the rota try to figure out which voices blend best together and who is great at singing alone etc. If you are booking two BVs then pick one who has a higher range and one with a lower range etc..

3.  For your nerves:

If you suffer with nerves don’t worry that’s normal!! We seem to think that just because it’s worship that we should be immune to nerves: not true. Hold on to this thought: that singing is COMMUNICATING in a much more powerful deep and spiritual way then speaking ever could. If you are in the worship band in your church then that’s because you can sing (no matter what ‘level’ you place yourself at with that gift- that’s irrelevant). If you can sing, then that means that you have a wonderful gift to pour powerful messages into people’s souls (nerves or not) and deliver the message in the song. Part of what makes us so good at communicating a spiritual message through music is that creative people tend to feel the emotions and be passionate about the message strongly ourselves. This makes us ‘sensitive’ to emotions and sometimes therefore naturally more prone to nerves! Nerves can work in your favour as they make you more humble and reliant on God on stage. Sometimes it helps to keep all these things in perspective.

4.  In your singing:

Use adlibs powerfully but intentionally. People need to be lead in the MELODY otherwise they can get lost. (Aside from singing in the spirit obviously!) Try to stick to the melody in the first half of the song. As the song develops you can make a few expressive developments but don’t veer off the main melody more then a note or two here or there. Only fill the gaps intentionally for the purpose of expressing the meaning of the song the and not just because you can or think you should! (again may seem obvious but sometimes we need to reinstate the obvious!). Just apply your own objective taste! Don’t be afraid to be you though! Sometimes we can be so worried about fitting in to a box that we don’t leave room for God to make us into the type of leader that he wants- we are each different from each other after all.

There is plenty of guidance and practice on adlibbing on the Musicademy Advanced Vocals Workout CD

5. In your musicianship and general leading skills:

Practice!! When we practice something then we get better at it. Simple! If your leading worship that week or not, links between songs, transposing them to your key, practice singing and playing them, practice connecting your spirit –actually worshipping God in your heart with the lyrics of the song your singing! (kind of an important one!), practice learning how to get from the last note of one song to the first note of the next song in your head without needing an instrument to help you (whether or not the song is in the same key or not), practice leading the band in your mind and listen to the arrangements of other recordings of bands in order to expand your understanding of how all the instruments work together and what each instrument can do.

Thanks to Jennifer Moore for these ideas.


Other posts you may find helpful:

Why you really, really need singing lessons

Good microphone technique can make all the difference

Making the most of your voice

Vocal warm-up exercises explained

How to become a confident singer

50 tips – lead vocals