This powerful on-stage voice lesson could save an entire performance!
Performing live in your band has a few challenges.
As the front man/women, or backup singer, you have a very important job to do. I have both performed as a singer, and mixed bands as a sound engineer.
On this page I will give you some insight into some of the more technical aspects of singing live on stage.
First of all, the easiest way to sound great on stage, is to sing with proper vocal technique.
Since there are many other articles already relating to this topic, I would like to spend most of this article talking about another very important issue...
The issue I'm talking about is being able to hear yourself when you sing!
Sounds weird right? I mean, surely hearing yourself in a performance isn't a problem!
It's actually amazing how the backing music can sometimes make your voice seemingly disappear!
I was so scared the first time when I started to sing - it sounded like nothing was coming out! I was freaking out the whole performance, and I learned later, I sounded terrible!
So....I've developed this important voice lesson to make sure you never encounter this problem.
There are two ways to hear yourself on stage
The most common way is through the fold back speakers. These are the speakers that sit at the front of the stage, facing upwards, towards you.
If you can't hear yourself, you can signal the sound engineer to give you more level in the fold back speakers. When he's looking at you (which he should be!) point upwards with your finger. This is the most common signal to turn up the fold back speakers. (Please, remember this voice lesson if it's the only thing you take out of this article! It could save a performance)
It's also a good idea to ask the sound engineer before the performance how he would like you to signal for more volume.
Important onstage voice lesson, always speak up!
If the engineer is paying no attention, actually speak to him through the microphone. Do this after the song is completed.
This will not make you sound un-professional. Everyone knows that there are technical issues in a performance.
It's much better to quickly resolve a fold back situation, than to try and sing without hearing yourself. A few seconds of adjusting will solve this problem, and then you can concentrate on performing.
Sometimes, when an inexperienced singer is on stage, they are too nervous to ask for more level in their fold back. This might be due to not wanting to bother the sound engineer.
If this is you, stop doing this! The audience, and the engineer are there to hear you! No one will mind if you ask for more fold back, least of all the sound engineer.
The second way to hear yourself onstage is through in-ear monitoring. With this method, you place small headphones in your ears, and receive a stereo feed of your voice. This system works really well, in fact, it's exactly what most professional performers use!
If your serious about sounding good on stage, in-ear monitors will benefit your performance enormously. You can hear exactly how your voice is picked up at the mixing desk. You can even get the engineer to put a little reverb on your voice to make it sound ultra professional in your headphones!
Most musicians are leaning towards in-ear monitors these days. The only complaint is, they seem to isolate you from the audience at times. Little price to pay for delivering a stunning performance!
One Or The Other
So... Either work on mastering your fold back levels (this basically means, learning how to communicate with the sound engineer)
Buy in-ear monitors!
Don't underestimate how much hearing yourself properly will effect your performance. This important voice lesson would have helped me greatly in my first performance!