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Sometimes Singing For Heaven Can Be Hell

Sometimes Singing For Heaven Can Be Hell
You can overcome common singing hurdles in worship environments. –says Darrell Smith

Lets face it: sometimes singing in church can be a pain.

Fortunately, you can break through the common technical challenges musicians face at church. Some of them you can handle yourself – some of them will require buy-in from the technical team.

Challenge: The Band is Too Loud!

Yes, the band is obnoxiously loud… and you’ve got to stand right in front of that screaming guitar amp, or drummer that plays with arena rock intensity! Never fear, you’ve got this. Here are 3 practical ways to handle the situation:

1. Invest in Quality Musician’s Hearing ProtectionMusician’s ear plugs will most likely affect how you perceive your voice in your head

Musician’s ear plugs will most likely affect how you perceive your voice in your head, which takes a bit of getting used to. The trick with earplugs is to get them in before the rehearsal/gig starts and leave them in for the duration, no matter what.

There are two different approaches to Musician’s Ear-plugs:

2. Rearrange the Furniture

Kindly ask the worship leader to help the guitarists direct the sound of their amplifiers away from the singers.  Some guitarists turn their amps around, some point them away from vocalists, some move them back stage. Guitar speakers are like flashlights – they are incredibly directional and focused.

3. Level Up to In-Ear Monitors

In-Ear Headphones

There are a few tricks you can use to make the most out of In-Ear Monitors

In-ears can be a brilliant or a horrible experience.  Before you make the switch, be sure you’ve got a couple things in your bag of tricks:

  • Get universal fit in-ear monitors with your own personal stash of foam/silicon inserts that fit your ears.  If they belong to the church, write down the make and model and order your own inserts.
  • Make sure there’s a competent sound engineer around who will help you get it dialed in by listening to your mix at every gig. You’ll know they’re competent if they can make the house mix sound good, and if they actually plug in and listen to your mix.
  • Take some time to learn how the mixer works. Sometimes its a hardware box (Aviom), sometimes it’s an iPad app. Once your engineer has dialed it in for you, make sure you know how to adjust your level, and the level of the other singers. That’ll get you started.
  • It takes a little ambiance to get in the mood. Kindly request access to vocal reverb and ambient mics so you can dial in the right amount of reverb and hear the congregation in the ambient mics.

Now you are a step closer to an audio set-up that allows you to sing well and contribute your best to worship.

Next week Darrell gets into more detail on how musicians can hear themselves better in church environments.
Next article: Singing for Heaven Can Be Hell: Not Hearing Yourself

Darrell Smith Bio

Darrell Smith is the Owner and Principle Designer at Kungpow Production. Kungpow is on a mission to remove the technical barriers to achieving your creative vision. If you’d like his help getting your worship team’s stage volume under control, you can find him at Kungpow Production.

Darrell’s gear list for recording vocals