Are You Neglecting Your Voice?
You’ve hand-selected the perfect worship set, rehearsed with your team, and you’re ready to lead worship this Sunday.
But are you really?
Many worship leaders don’t take the time to prepare, arguably, the most important instrument they use in worship: their voice.
I’m not talking about practicing the songs at home, when, yes you are singing, but not focusing on your voice specifically. I’m speaking of working out and warming up your voice — concentrating on it like you do your instrument.
Your Voice Is Just Like Any Muscle
Not many people would step out their front door and run 10 miles.
Yet, in effect, many worship leaders do just that.
It’s tempting to get up on Sunday without having prepared your voice throughout the week.
Your voice is the same as any muscle. If you don’t keep it in shape it and warm it up before an intense activity, it could give out on you.
In any case, it won’t be as strong as it could have been.
Prepping your voice the right way gives you freedom in worship perhaps like you’ve never experienced.
Just to be clear, I’m no vocal coach and have very little formal training when it comes to vocals. For in-depth training I recommend Vocal Artistry by Tim Carson.
I’ll just share what works for me as far as working out and warming up my voice for worship leading.
Use Your Car Time
Ok I’ll let you in on a secret that almost no one knows about me: I work out my voice in the car on my way to and from work.
This is how. I have warm-up CD by Tim Carson — specifically the “Men’s Freedom” disc. (No, I’m not receiving anything from this plug — this CD is truly legit.)
I perform the exercises on the CD for 15 to 20 minutes while driving to work. Then, I do the same on the way home. I do that four or five times, the week leading up to any Sunday I’m leading worship.
So that’s, at a minimum, two hours of vocal workout during the week. That doesn’t include our typical Thursday night rehearsal, during which I get another one-to-two-hour workout.
So when I get on stage on Sunday, I’ve worked out my voice a little bit each day, equaling up to four hours total.
I can tell you that I’m sure there are all sorts of people who have probably seen me doing my workouts in the car, wondering what I’m doing. You can’t do these workouts without looking a little foolish (stick your tongue out and sing up a scale…make your mouth like an inverted megaphone, etc.)
But that’s ok. I’d much rather look like a fool in my car than on the stage that Sunday.
The point is, find a time when you can warm up your voice each day. And find a tool that works for you.
The Results Are Remarkable
I wasn’t born with a fantastic voice.
In fact, it probably wasn’t until I was past 30 when I discovered what my voice could do. I didn’t understand the “voice-is-muscle” concept.
Which was dumb.
I once ran a marathon. You know what I did? I trained for three months ahead of time, running up to 22 miles in my training sessions.
Yet I didn’t take time to warm up my voice before leading worship. I’m sure all those around me could tell. I struggled to hit notes that, after warming up all week, are literally no issue whatsoever.
I didn’t have the strength or the freedom to lead worship as effectively as I could have.
Then I learned about Tim Carson, and on a whim, purchased the vocal workout CD. I noticed when I stuck to a warm-up schedule, the following Sunday was a breeze.
The high stuff was actually fun. I could embellish the phrases almost without thinking. This wasn’t magic, it was preparation.
Now, I don’t go up on that stage without having “worked out” all week. Skipping my workouts is not fair to me, the congregation, or the One for whom I’m singing.
Try It This Week
Don’t take my word for it. Try it for a week. Block out time each day to warm up and work out your voice.
You won’t be disappointed.
Let me know if it helps. By the way, for more tips on leading worship, sign up for my email updates below for free worship resources.
Featured image: Gonzalo Poblete/Unsplash
Do you know if those CDs you mentioned from Tim Carson, work for someone who has never had voice lessons and is just a so-so singer? I’m looking to improve but don’t have a bunch of money to spend on lessons.
Yes these are great for untrained singers. Tim Carson coaches you through each exercise so you do it properly. If you do these everyday, you will get better.