Falling in Love or Falling in a Band?
Getting the right one for you...and we don't mean lover
Sometimes you go into a band in the same way you fall in love…blindly, expecting the best, full of euphoric hope and fantastical expectations for the journey ahead. And just like the blindness of love you soon come into the reality that there are people who have been there and done it successfully and have a thing or two to share. Let’s call these relationship and band tips, pearls of wisdom. The pearls of wisdom shared today are, dealing with equipment, volume levels, the practice of good vocal technique, patience flexibility and having a goal orientated game plan! So read on and discover how a few pearls of wisdom can make a true bands course run smooth!
Singing with a Band
Once you start singing with a band, you’ll find that you need to know a lot more than just how to sing. You need to know how to communicate with your band members, how to adjust your vocals to the accompaniment, and how to rehearse effectively. Additionally, if you’re the backup singer, you’ll need to know how to harmonize.
Tips for a Successful Rehearsal
Set things up so that everyone can see each other. When you are learning a new song together, eye contact is helpful in getting your cue right and sorting out chord changes.
Mark down changes. If you make changes in the sheet music, make sure that everyone marks them down so that your band members aren’t surprised when you take that long note or speed up the pace.
Set up your P.A. equipment properly so that you don’t have to fight to hear yourself above the accompaniment. Your voice should not have to compete with electronically-amplified instruments. When you do your initial sound check before rehearsal, make sure that your band members set their instrument volume levels beneath the level of your quietest vocal. If you can, have a sound engineer check the sound levels. Otherwise, you should place the P.A. speakers behind the band or use a monitor for a clearer picture of the overall sound.
Volume levels should be adjusted for each song to create interest and impact. Although it may be tempting to rock out at the same high volume throughout your song set, lowering the volume at appropriate points in a song or for certain songs will draw your audience in. Remember the importance of dynamics!
Use ear protection. Today’s equipment can reach record levels, so whether you are in the practice room or at the gig, protect your ears. Music equipment stores stock a variety of forms of ear protection.
Don’t strain your voice by over singing. If you are learning a demanding song that requires reaching difficult notes or performing at high intensity, sing it at a lower sound level than required, or hum the melody line for a few run-throughs, until the band gets it together. Only then should you sing the song ONCE at full volume and intensity—and then move onto the next song.
Remember that unlike the instruments played by your band members, your voice can wear out.
Practice good vocal technique … don’t get stressed out, relax those nerves, and don’t force the sound out! It may be tempting to throw good technique to the wind when you are with a band, as you’ll be conscious of the performance aspect of your singing. You may want to grab the mic stand, dance and jump, tense your face into a grimace, or wave your hands.
Resist the temptation. If you are a beginning singer and performing with a band for the first time, much higher demands will be placed on your voice. If your technique is not at its best, you may find that your vocal quality will be hard to sustain over the long period required by a performance. Although your singing may not be as visually interesting as those singers on MTV, it is much more important at this stage to stand upright with good posture, keep your hands loose at your sides (using fewer hand gestures for impact), and keep your face relaxed and expressive. Most of all, don’t stress! Remember the negative impact of nerves and tension.
If your voice hurts or feels uncomfortable during or after rehearsing, stop. There’s no excuse for straining or overusing your voice. The band can keep on practicing without you.
Be patient. When you are rehearsing, you often must sing the same song or part over and over and over again. Hitting it right each time, or making the minute modifications you need, can be trying. Practice isn’t going to be glamorous … but you probably know that already after all your vocal training!
Be flexible. Singing in a band requires coordination of schedules, personalities, styles, tastes, and a whole lot more. The more flexible you are, the more likely it is that your band will grow, develop, and stay together.
Set goals as a band. Bands often split up because they have not established common goals from the onset. Talk about goals from the beginning. Discuss what each of you wants to get out of your participation in the band. As a result, you will avoid shifting direction or allowing one personality to determine the course of the band.
In the next newsletter you’ll learn about Harmony. When you can understand harmony and harmonise you add to a song, possibly the most beautiful element known to man! There really is nothing better than perfect 2,3,4 or even 5 part harmony that lifts your soul and is literally music to the listeners ears. So keep an eye out and prepare to add a whole new dimension to your vocal performing abilities.
Another Singorama Success Story!
Singing in a band can be so much fun. If you have dreams of making it big then you can start with a Band and grow with them and see your goals of stardom realised. In Singorama 2.0 we delve more deeply into handling the different pressures that come with a band, people, time limits, patience and flexibility issues and personal and personality clashes! This is most definitely the product for you if you want to learn thow to manage your self and other musicians well and create great harmony both on and off stage. Check out this invaluable wisom with Singorama 2.0