With so much variation in price, size, features, and functions, its easy to get confused with what sort of microphone to use. Never fear. Today we look at buying a microphone, microphone mistakes and holding a microphone. So you will be ready to rock on stage at any given moment. Read on and take another step to increase your knowledge and capabilities as a performer!
Do you want to not only sound professional but look the part too? Working with microphones
The moment you begin singing with accompaniment or in a music hall, you’ll find that you need some sort of voice projection. Your voice will have to compete with other instruments and the coughing or whispers of the audience, as well as fill that enormous space! You may feel quite small when you step onto a stage and realize that the huge task of holding everyone’s attention is on your shoulders.
Never fear! In this lesson we’ll discuss how to use a microphone, how to develop an effective stage presence, as well as give you some tips on dealing with stage fright.
Buying a Mic
If you’re starting a band with your buddies, the first thing you DON’T want to do is pick up a cheap microphone at Radio Shack. A cheap microphone will make you sound bad, even if your singing is flawless. It is much better to pick up a good quality dynamic microphone (even if you’re out a hundred bucks!) than try to perfect your singing with imperfect amplification. The industry standard is a Shure SM58.
On the other hand, condenser mikes and wireless mikes are more expensive than they’re worth. Condenser mikes are commonly found in recording studios and require a separate power source. Wireless mikes can be hard to connect to existing sound systems and may have problems with radio frequency interference.
When using a microphone, you may be tempted to make it look cool by switching the mike from hand to hand, grabbing the mike stand and tipping it, or putting your hand over the “ball” of the mike. DON’T do any of the above! ALWAYS hold your microphone in the middle of the shaft, as that is where most microphones are made to balance. If you put your hand over the ball, it will affect the sound quality.
Switching the mike from hand to hand and fiddling with the mike stand can make you look like an amateur and affect your sound.
Another mistake that people often make is blowing into a microphone to see if it is on. This can send damaging moisture into the microphone. It is preferable to tap it or say something. Don’t allow it to dangle or swing it by the cable, either. When not in use, hold the microphone upright, as allowing it to droop may cause it to point inadvertently towards a speaker, causing unpleasant feedback.
When you sing, don’t sing to the microphone. Sing to the audience! The microphone is there to amplify your voice, but beyond that it is not the most interesting prop. Project your voice beyond the mike.
Holding a Microphone
Holding a microphone can be tricky. Always keep the microphone in line with your body. If you turn your head, you don’t want to turn away from the mike. Instead, keep the microphone between your mouth and your line of sight at all times.
How do you know at what distance from your mouth to hold the microphone?
Usually, it should be held between 3 and 8 inches away from your mouth, and approximately 3 to 4 inches under your chin. You may find that sounds from acoustic instruments or other singers tend to bleed into your microphone; holding the mike a bit closer and singing directly into it will decrease this problem. Sound engineers often prefer that singers hold the microphone at a stable distance from them, as this creates less variation in volume levels.
However, varying the distance at which you hold the microphone can create distinct effects. If you want a warm, intimate tone, hold the microphone close to your mouth.
This will allow the microphone to pick up your low tones. If you are belting out a song with full intensity, hold the microphone back a bit from your mouth. Too much volume fed through the mike can cause feedback and distortion. Some singers will even use the microphone to finish strong on long notes, holding it away from them during the first powerful sounds and bringing it closer as their intensity runs out at the end of the note.
Finally, watch out for consonant sounds like P, B, F, K, S, and T. These consonants send a blast of air into the mike, creating a popping, percussive sound. Point the microphone towards your chin (others suggest singing just to the side of the mike or just over the top) to send the air blasts away from the microphone’s path and avoid “popping Ps.”
Do you think you can work a stage like a Pop Star would? In the next lesson, we introduce you to fool proof ways to get movement into a performance and make it look effortless. Also we let you in on some of the secrets to dealing with the dreaded phenomenon that is Stage Fright!.
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