Include your mic when practicing performance–says Juliet Russell
When we watch a singer at the top of their game, we’re seeing someone who has practiced their performance.
They have gone way beyond practicing their vocals and worked on everything from movement, in-between song banter, and their relationship with the mic.
Singers in the early stages of their career will want to think about this too.
Mic Technique – The Basics
A microphone is there for one reason only: so that you can be heard. Get comfortable with holding a mic – and practicing with it.
Here are the basics: hold the mic close to your mouth, in a position that doesn’t obscure your face or is too low e.g. pointing at your chin.
Adjust the mic stand to suit you. Ensure that your head and neck are in a comfortable position and that you are not reaching up to the mic or looking down as this will impact on your vocal production and your ability to make eye contact with your audience.
On Or Off The Stand?
As a general rule: if you want to make an impact through focused stillness (e.g. when singing a ballad or at the beginning of your set), use the stand.
Taking the mic off your stand will enable you to move more freely. In fact, it’s a visual cue that you will be moving, so make sure you do.
If you’re no longer using the stand, move it out of your way, especially if it’s centre stage. No singer wants a stand stealing their limelight!
If you decide to take the mic off, ensure that the lead isn’t tightly coiled around the stand. If you forget, take a minute between songs.
Don’t take the mic off while actually singing—sounds obvious, but I have seen singers hit themselves in the face in the middle of a note – and it’s not cool!
If playing an instrument and singing, use a stand unless you have practised playing, moving and singing at the same time, in which case you have probably already invested in a head worn mic.
Head worn mics are used by singers with a lot of dancing and active movement in their set e.g. Usher and Jennifer Lopez.
A wireless (or radio mic) has no lead and is great for live PAs and festivals as you can move around freely.
Don’t Shy Away from Mic Practise
Book a rehearsal room and get used to how your voice sounds amplified.
It can be very different from hearing yourself acoustically and you don’t want stage to be the only time you experience this.
Often singers pull back from the mic too readily as they have seen other singers with powerful voices do this.
What you are aiming for is a consistently amplified sound that reflects what your voice is doing dynamically.
My Reactions to This Week’s Peer Review Vid
Ida Wallberg – Too Close for Comfort (Cover)
Hi Ida – thanks so much for posting this. I really like your tone. It’s very natural and expressive. You convey the song in a heartfelt way and it’s very believable. You could open your mouth a little more and relax the jaw. Your pitching is generally good and you also use a lot of dynamic range. Sometimes you could crescendo a bit more subtly. Work on projecting a bit more gradually and on breath support so the volume doesn’t come too suddenly. Over all it’s a good vocal performance – well done.
If you’re signed up to VoiceCouncil’s Peer-Review, you’ll be receiving unique coaching feedback from Juliet for the next 8 weeks. You can sign up now.
Juliet Russell has coached Grammy award winners and X-Factor finalists and is a vocal coach on BBC1’s The Voice. Passionate about developing aspiring artists, she co-founded Sense of Sound She has collaborated with artists and companies including Damon Albarn, Imogen Heap, Paloma Faith, Ringo Starr, BBC, Channel 4, Universal Royal Opera House, Greenpeace and Glastonbury, and has written music for film, television and radio. Juliet holds a Masters degree in Music and is in huge demand as coach, vocal arranger and musical director. Juliet is passionate about developing aspiring artists and supporting individuals and communities to explore their voices and creativity.
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