In the olden days, vocalists had to sing with an operatic roar to be heard. There was no such thing as a loudspeaker or microphone. Listen to the radio and television today and you’ll hear a drastically different, intimate style—more natural singing voices amplified by modern electronics.
So why do your praise team vocalists continue to warble on stage? If they’ve had any vocal training at all, they’ve probably been taught with methods developed 200 years ago before the advent of electricity.
When I was the music director at a church plant, I was continually coaxing my singers to tone it down and sing on the mic. Close to it. Eat it. They were afraid for some reason! Not until a Nashville session singer friend of mine visited our church as a special musical guest did it hit home.
Everyone saw and heard how she carefully controlled her voice. Always in very close proximity to the mic. An even tone. Not a wide range of dynamics.
And here’s why singers are so afraid of the mic: They’re not used to hearing themselves that way! It’s a confidence thing. I remember when I first started leading worship vocally from the mic. I was shocked to hear my voice amplified so powerfully and completely. It took a few months to get used to it.
And the best way for your singers to get used to the mics is for them to rehearse with the mics. Have your praise team vocal rehearsal in your sanctuary, on the stage/platform, with the sound system on, just like they’ll be singing on Sunday. Don’t rehearse your praise team in the choir room. The more they rehearse in the electrified pop environment, the more comfortable they’ll be with pop singing.