I recently taught the second in a series of 6 classes for worship leaders and their teams at World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro TN. This very large and active church has eight weekend services requiring many committed singers and instrumentalists. Our goals in this series of classes is to help each singer bring out their personal strengths while at the same time having the ability to bond into that one-voice sound that is so important to any group.
This class was called One Voice, and this was our process:
- We talked through the concept of giving up individuality, in favor of becoming many-singers-with-one-sound.
- With this One Voice concept in mind we then did a series of general warm-ups. In this time we started standing backed up against a wall to remind of upright, aligned posture.
- We took the first big step toward giving up individuality: We moved into a circle (limit circles to no more than 8-10) and all held hands as we continued to warm up. We came from different backgrounds and ranged in age from 25 to 66 but quickly began to have a single sound just by being “in touch” and listening. We had given up our unique sounds and yielded to a common sound. It’s exciting to experience, or even just hear this process.
- The next step was to maintain that unified blend with a more difficult hearing environment so we stayed in the circle, but turned facing away from each other. We again joined hands and continued to warm up, this time having to listen much harder.
- I played a CD with four different worship leaders and teams singing in four different styles including traditional, contemporary, Gospel and pop. Still in a circle, holding hands and facing each other we listened to a track, then matched and blended with that leader’s style and voice quality. This was also done facing away from each other, still in the circle to require focused listening and matching.
- After we had done that with each leader/style I quickly moved randomly from track to track requiring the singers to listen, adjust and yield to that singer and each other. They quickly started to own their new skills of listening and flexibility.
The next step is for the individual singers to practice these flexibility and blending skills on their own, then bring those skills to the next class, rehearsal or service. And, while this class was in a church setting, the same principles work for choirs, choruses, bands, duos, trios, quartets etc.
Remember: Practice Makes Permanent, and Muscles Have Memory. Practice and memorize the right skills and you’ll own them.
Need more great ideas and some “tools” to help you and your singers be their best? Share this free blog with your teams and be sure to visit our newest Online tool on FaceBook. Just search on VOCAL COACH WITH CHRIS AND CAROLE BEATTY then click the “Like” icon at the top of the page. That page also has open discussions that we’d love to have you join.