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Top 5 Qualities Of A Vocalist

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Have you ever been unsure about the expectations and role of a worship vocalist? This video is a great place to start! Kim talks about five top qualities for vocalists to have on worship teams.

What's In This Session?
  • #1. Be prepared (Musically and Physically) (0.11)

  • #2. Be able to sing on pitch (1.10)

  • #3. Learn your harmony parts (2.07)

  • #4. Know and memorize your parts (3.13)

  • #5. Tonal awareness (3.49)

The Full Transcript
"I do a lot of training with vocalists, and today I'd like to share with you about five different qualities that we would love vocalists to have on worship teams. So the first one is about preparation. I'm usually talking to our frontline singers, or side micers, whatever your terminology is, but the people who stand along the front of the stage, and seeing whether you have one, or seven, or ten of them, along there, what are five things that you would like to set as a goal for all of them. And this might be you that I'm speaking to. The first one would be preparation, is that we're going to encourage them to be prepared; and this is musically and spiritually prepared sometimes. When I first started singing, I actually didn’t know what was to be expected of me, so one of the best things is to ask your worship leader or your worship pastor: what is it that you are expecting of me, and maybe that would be a great place to stop for you guys. But I would come in with these following three points under the sub point here of preparation, saying that the first thing is: I think we should be able to sing on pitch. So anything we can do to improve our pitch training is going to be helpful. There’s probably nothing more distracting in a worship service hearing an instrument, or a vocalist singing off pitch. Now the encouraging thing is that: pitch training is something that can be developed. So in some of our vocal tutorials that we’ve done, we are talking about doing scales repetitively. This is the easiest way to help with pitch training is singing the same notes over and over again. It’s like muscle memory for our voices. When we're saying, oh, and this is repetitive, and it's nauseating at times, and so boring, just encourage yourself in the Lord and say: this is helping my pitch training. So first thing is we want to be prepared as vocalists and we want to help our pitch. The third thing I'd like to talk about is working on harmony. So what we do here is some solfège training, or being able to sing the triads. In some of our exercises, one of them it's like you so we're going one, three, five, three, one. These are the basic chord structures that harmonies are built from. So when you're singing these exercises. The another one is: I love to sing. When you're training your voice to sing in these intervals, you're going to find that harmonies will become more and more easy for us to sing. If you're only singing unison in your church, that's totally fine. Sometimes that's the easiest thing until you get into a flow of teaching your front line how to sing harmoniously together, but again, harmonies can be learned, and singing these exercises will really help with that. Singing thirds apart, sometimes if it's apart, it's gonna be really great. So prepare work on our pitch work on harmonies training. The last two things are memorization. So being able to memorize two things: the lyrics and the harmony lines. So as a vocalist, really want to encourage you if you can memorize the lyrics ahead of time. It’s going to be really helpful, so that you're not thinking about the lyrics, and the direction of the song, and the congregation, and how your tone is, all these different things. If you could just worship and not be worrying about what the lyrics are on the screen, or not on the sheet of paper, it's really helpful, and I think that's a really great thing. So the last one I want to speak about is time, and we call tunnel awareness. One little exercise we like to do to demonstrate the point is find a pen, or just use your fingers, like this an imaginary pencil, and I want you to just sing this note E alright, and pretend you're singing it under the pencil. Now sing it over the pencil. So I'm gonna go under, over, under, over. You can try it with me, and look in the mirror, and see if your schools are changing here. So when you're singing under the pencil, your throat should be sort of coming out like this, and the resonance or the tone is dull, and we're looking for singing over the pencil resonance, which opens up and sounds a lot more bright. So working on tone, being able to blend then, and sound like one voice in unison. So as singers, being able to develop our tone so that we can listen to one another and blend with one another. Sometimes worship leaders have a high vibrato, try and blend. Sometimes there's no vibrato, try to blend. So these are our top five qualities of a vocalist. Hope you enjoyed this."