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Mic DOs and DONT’s

Mic DOs and DONT's

The way you hold your mic can actually affect your breathing and your throat, adding or detracting from your ability to communicate –says Judy Rodman

At the beginning of my newest student’s first vocal lesson, I had her sing for me.

I asked her to replicate as closely as possible how she performs on stage… and her norm was singing with a microphone in her hand.

Working on that for a few minutes created immediate and significant vocal improvement It didn’t take but a few seconds to put together her vocal limitations with the way she was holding that mic.

Working on that for a few minutes created immediate and significant vocal improvement, and one happy singer!

Increase Your Vocal Ability

If set at proper levels, a mic can enhance your sound with volume, reverb and EQ – but how you work with it makes all the difference in whether it increases or inhibits your vocal ability.

If you’re going to perform with a mic, it’s important to rehearse correctly with one, or with a similarly weighted object.

If you’re going to perform with a mic, it’s important to rehearse correctly with oneWhile you can use a mic in different ways… as a headset or on a stand… this article will focus on how you use a corded or cordless microphone you hold in your hand.

It may shock you to learn that the way you hold a mic can help or hinder your breathing, open or close your throat and add or detract from your ability to communicate!

If you want a mic to make it easier instead of harder for you to sing…

  1. Don’t hold a mic like an ice cream cone. This can limit frequency response, making your voice sound thin.
  2. Don’t hold the butt end of the mic up right in front… if you do this, do it to the side.
  3. Best… Hold a mic at a 45 degree angle… butt end towards the floor.

The slant at which you hold a mic can make a big difference in how wide your ribs are and where your chin is, affecting breath and throat tightness.

More Tips

Don’t always hold a mic in your hand limply. This can sabotage your breath control. If you are singing easy you can get by with it, but for power do the following:

Do grasp a mic steady with all your fingers around it. Hold it with energy — making it part of your feeling of power.

Do squeeze a mic in such a way that it expands your ribs and sinuses for extra breath power and control. You can do this with one or both hands around the mic. But …

Don’t squeeze hard all the time…just when you need extra power or control. Keeping a hard grip on the mic without releasing will cause tension to build in your arm, shoulder, neck and … voice!

Don’t cock your wrist severely when you hold a mic. This will cause your arm to squeeze in close to you sides, inhibiting breath.

Don’t follow the mic with your head forward of your chest. This will cause a tight throat and tight ribcage! If you want to lean forward, do so from the waist.

Don’t pull the mic so far away from your mouth that it ceases to pick your voice up well. Learn to control your volume by a compression power sensed at the pelvic floor.

SLIGHTLY create a little pull sensation between the mic and your mouth – a little to the side – on power notes. This can give you more vocal control.

My Reactions to This Week’s Peer Review Vids

DANiiVORY – “Lesson Learned” by Alicia Keys (Cover)

I can’t believe I’m saying this but I like your performance of this song better than Alicia’s! Love the slower tempo, the gorgeous piano playing, your clear articulation. The only thing I’d tweak is your technique for the higher notes, which are a bit thin and tight. Drop – don’t raise – your shoulders, back off pressure, relax your jaw and allow a more vertical opening of your throat. Power from your piano bench, not your ribcage. Otherwise… fantastic job!

Alex Sumner
Alex Sumner – “Be Alright” by Justin Beiber (Cover)

Alex, you are bringing this song up from a passionate place. I like the intimate tone you’re using – like you’re singing into someone’s ear. You are a little behind the groove with some phrases. Most importantly, get your ribcage open for better breath control. Try singing with your back against a wall, head and heel touching it. Use a mic or similar object in your hand. I think you’ll love the way this feels.

Andy Sendouw
Andy Sendouw – “Lemonade” (Cover)

I really like your tone of voice here, Andy. Your face, eyes, jaw are loose and active – do keep that up! Some thoughts: First, do memorize your songs or at least know them to the point you don’t have to look at the lyrics much. Secondly, you need to even out your sense of rhythm. Try performing with a metronome, click track or simple drum loop to get use to being in the groove. Cool sound you have!

Judy RodmanJudy Rodman is an award-winning vocal coach, session singer, recording artist, songwriter, producer. Creator of “Power, Path and Performance” vocal training, named “Best Vocal Coach” by NashvilleMusicPros.com, she trains singers and speakers nationally and internationally. Judy authored PPP vocal training courses, “Singing In The Studio”, “Vocal Production Workshop”.

Contact: www.judyrodman.com


  • Anonymous

    Any tips for those of us who play an instrument and have to leave a mic on the stand?

  • keith

    and headsets too please….