5 tips – Lead Vocals

5 tips – Lead Vocals

We’re nearly at the end of our 50 tips series (which I think has now grown into about 150 tips). This time we look at the art of lead vocals.

  1. It’s about leadership.
    You don’t have to be a great vocalist to be a great worship leader but you do have to be good at providing something that people can easily and comfortably follow. I’ve worked with non musician worship leaders who can’t sing but can direct a song. Sometimes its easy to get caught up or pressurized into striving for a 1st class musical performance at the expense of helping people bring an offering of worship.
  2. Use vocal cuing if you’re not a strong singer.
    People can pick up the songs direction just by the odd cuing word or even in the expression of your body language so cue at least two bars in advance and people will follow.
  3. Do everything to provide a clear lead.
    Even if you can’t sing think about how your team can provide a clear melody. The lead singer doesn’t have to be the worship leader. If there are no strong singers can an instrument be cuing the tune so people can follow?
  4. You don’t need to be a great singer but you do need to be in tune and time.
    Whoever takes the lead vocal needs to work on tuning and timing. Flat vocals are bad but sharp vocals are much worse. Don’t be afraid to invest in your craft and take lessons. Properly warming up and breathing exercises to help you relax will do wonders for your tuning too. We produce a DVD worship vocals course and a couple of warm up and work-out CDs that you can use to stretch your voice every time you sing.
  5. Don’t go ‘off piste’. 
    If you can sing well try to resist the temptation to add the odd riff, harmony or change up the melody. Most people in congregations just need a clear lead to follow so do everything to build that.


Other vocals related posts you may find helpful:

Vocal warm-up exercises explained

How to become a confident singer

Choosing keys for women worship leaders and small congregations


Previous posts from the Tips series:

Worship keys

Acoustic guitar

Worship bass

Worship drums

Communication skills for worship teams

Playing together as a team

Stage placement