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 Protection
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:
- Level 1 – Universal Fit Protective Earplugs: The advantage to these is that you can get them quickly.
- Level 2 – Custom Fit hearing protection: Takes a few weeks, costs around $200, but they’ll fit great and sound amazing, though it’ll definitely take some getting used to.
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-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 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.