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Role-specific

Lead and backing vocals

Katy Kennedy

You can download the PDF of this resource here.

Lead vocalist

 

Your role as lead vocalist is to lead the church congregation in the melody of each of the songs being played.

 

It is important that you can be heard so that anyone who doesn't know the song is able to hear and pick up the tune.  We want everyone to be able to participate in the sung worship and your lead is particularly important for this

 

  • Know the tune

Although you may not be able to learn all the lyrics of a song, it is important to be completely sure of the melody and as many of the lyrics as you can. If the song is new, listen to a recording of the song before you meet up to practice with your band to become familiar with it. You cannot hope to teach the church a song you don't know well yourself.

 

  • Know the words

Learning lyrics from memory can be really helpful - it will enable you to have a full understanding of what the song is about, and where it is going. Knowing the lyrics will stop you staring at the words during the sung worship time, and enable you to feel more relaxed, and give a confident lead. Worrying about words can hinder your own worship, try to learn as much as you can. It will give you freedom to let go and just enjoy singing your praises.

 

Backing vocals

 

Your role as a backing vocalist is to enhance the sung worship by adding texture and harmony to the music, to enhance the lyrics at appropriate places.

 

  • Add harmony

Singing in harmony can create a beautiful sound and emphasise what you are singing.

If you are not confident in harmonising then begin by learning the melody of the song and the flow of the tune. Try adding some different notes, such as a third below the melody, during the chorus. Listen hard and if it clashes then try moving up or down a tone/semitone. If you can rehearse separately from the rest of the band then take the opportunity to- it is much easier to try things out and hear each other when it is just you and a pianist. You don't need to sing harmony throughout, you can use it to enhance parts of the song.

 

  • Singing into the microphone

One of the most important things to remember as a backing vocalist is that your role is not to sing into the microphone throughout the song. Yes of course you can sing all through but try and stand back from the microphone when you are not providing specific texture to the song. Harmony is most effective when it is not heard all the way through a song.