How To Get Your Choir Members To Sing Louder

One thing I love about the fan page is that I get to interact with so many people all over the world. I got a question the other day from one of the members, who asked:

Hey Coach Ron, I have a question. How do I get my choir to sing louder? They have great harmony but they have a hard time pushing out volume. What technique would work?

I decided to answer her question with a video. Watch it now!

One very important point I made in the video that everyone should remember, is that singing loudly can and will cause vocal damage over time. The only way to get the volume and fullness you want safely is to take vocal lessons. Get 5 free video vocal lessons when you join my mailing list below.

40 New Year’s Eve Songs For Your Choir Or Praise Team

If your church is holding watch meeting on New Year’s Eve the music ministry is likely on deck. Wouldn’t it be great to have some really great New Year’s Eve-type songs for your choir and praise team? I thought so too, so I asked the community over on the Fan Page to give me some great songs for New Year’s Eve. As usual they came through big time.

The graphic below is the actual conversation where we added all the songs. Just  click on the little “comment” box at the bottom to go to the actual post and see all the songs.  If you don’t see it, give it a couple of seconds to load. This is an embed of the actual post. If it doesn’t work for you in Google Chrome try viewing it in I.E or Firefox. Add your own songs to the list if you like!

Ron

50 Choir And Praise Team Songs For Thanksgiving

So Thanksgiving is upon us already! And if your music department is anything like ours you must be thinking “isn’t there anything else we can do for Thanksgiving besides Thank You by Walter Hawkins?? I’m glad you asked! The family over on the Fan Page has done it again, creating yet another fantastic list of great songs.

This time I asked for songs great for Thanksgiving. You’ll see songs tagged as good for choirs, praise teams or both. As usual I like to embed the actual post here in the article, because these lists have a tendency to keep growing over the next couple of days.

So click on the like button of you’re not connected yet, then click on the comment button below to go straight to the live post on the Fan Page. If you don’t see the post below right away give it a couple of seconds to load. May not work in Google Chrome.

Facing Mean Faces: How To Deal With Unkind Looks From The Audience

Regular readers of this blog know that I’m a big advocate of making eye contact with the audience when you sing. In fact a while back I wrote an article spelling out specifically why you should never sing entire songs with your eyes closed.

But let’s face it, there’s a reason why many people would rather close their eyes than look at the audience. The fact is, not every face you see in the audience is kind. And it’s already hard enough for some people to get up there in the first place. Now you want me to open my eyes too Ron?!

Well, yes I do. And if you think about your performances as mini-messages, or conversations with the audience it should become obvious why you’d want to look at the person you’re conversing with or delivering a message to once in a while. But the reality is no matter how well you’re doing there will always be people in the audience who seem less than enthusiastic about you. They may be looking at you with a blank expression, a mean expression or maybe not looking at you at all. There may be people in the audience who are completely immersed in some mundane activity like rumbling through their purse, or looking at their cell phone.

But audiences are a lot like life. They both have good and bad, positive and negative elements. So the best thing to do with an audience is the same thing we do with life. We avoid focusing entirely on the negative aspects and instead focus on the positive. Because you see just like there will always be people in every audience who aren’t feeling you, there will always be people in the audience who are.

You won’t be reaching or blessing everybody. That’s life. So the best thing to do is simply focus your attention on the ones you are blessing and reaching. A simple way to do both- increase your eye contact while also avoiding as much as possible those faces that may discourage you is a performance technique called the “Four Square” method.

To do this, you mentally divide the audience in to 4 square sections. As you sing, you simply move your eyes from one square to the next, then the next, and so on. But here’s the key! Most of the time there will be at least one or more people in each one of those sections who are with you all the way. They are enjoying you, being blessed, smiling or praising God, standing , whatever they do when they’re being blessed.

Your job is to find and focus on those people in every one of those sections. Look at the first section, make eye contact with the people being blessed. Move your eyes to the next section, do the same thing. Just keep your eyes moving from one “square” to the next, making contact with the people in that section that are being blessed by what God is giving them through you. You’ll be encouraged by them and they’ll get an even deeper connection with the song because of your direct eye contact with them.

3 Kinds Of Songs Every Group Must Have In their Repertoire

I know I’m stating the obvious here, but when it comes to our choirs and praise/worship teams, things are constantly changing from week to week. Despite our best efforts, the truth is you never know for sure if everyone you need will be there or not. We’ve all found ourselves in situations where we just can’t think of ANYTHING we can pull off with the people we have present.

But regardless of who’s here or who isn’t, we must go on. We have to be on our post regardless. That said, it should also be obvious that we should have songs in our repertoire that we can do in any situation, no matter how temporarily crippled we are. Unfortunately it’s not something we think about until it’s Sunday morning and 80 percent of your choir is missing.

So today I’m going to give you 3 kinds of songs every choir and praise/worship team should have on their song list ready to sing at any time. They are as follows:

1. Songs In Unison

Many times it’s one section that’s crippled, making it tough to sing many of the songs on your group’s list because of the harmony challenges this scenario causes. Having songs on your list that you can sing in unison eliminates this concern. The obvious one we all think about in Gospel music of course, is I Need You To Survive, by Hezekiah Walker. But there are quite a few others that are either entirely in unison or mostly in unison. Even some songs that do have harmony can be done well in unison and sound good. Be creative!

2. Songs A Cappella

Sometimes it isn’t the group members that are missing, it’s the musician! But even if nobody shows up but the drummer, you can still go on and do a great job if you have a few good a cappella songs on your list. All you need is for someone in the group to know the key of the song.

3. Songs With No Leader

The third most common scenario we find ourselves in is when we have plenty of group members but none of our leaders are present. Having a few songs with no leader in your repertoire eliminates this one instantly. There are tons of songs that either have no leader or that do have one but can easily done without one. This one should be an easy one to fill.

Now, your first inclination might be to simply find one of each and be done with it. However, if you do that those songs will become known as crutch songs that you only do when you’re in a bind. Your group’s attitude towards these songs will soon change for the worst, trust me. That’s why I suggest having two or three really nice songs in each of these categories. That way you always have something fresh to sing and sound good singing, not matter what life is throwing at your group at the moment.

Do you have songs on your list that fit any of these categories already? Please share in the comments box below!
Get free vocal lessons for your group members! Have them sign up below for my free 5 day vocal training course.

Follow The Leader: How To Surrender To The Holy Spirit During Your Choir Performances

One thing I tend to stress often with you guys is the importance of really knowing your songs. I mean moving past that “I know it well enough to follow the director” stage we’re all content with. I mean really knowing the song. I’m talking about having the lyrics memorized, not this thing where we’re nervously depending on the director to feed us every line. I’m talking about really understanding the format of the song and how it moves from one section to another one.

But perhaps I haven’t really made a strong enough case for why that’s important and how it benefits your ministry as a whole. Quite simply, the more thoroughly you know a song the more powerfully you’ll minister that song. Something happens when everyone in the group is absolutely certain about every part of a song they’re about to sing.

There is this cohesiveness there. This sense of unity. Everyone is with one accord. And we know the Holy Spirit moves when we’re with one accord. So in moments like these powerful, anointed, spirit-led moments of music ministry tends to happen. But they only happen because we’ve eliminated all mental distractions that normally hinder our spirits from really surrendering completely to God.

When we’re unsure we’re really too distracted with the task of getting through the song without mistakes. So nobody can really follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. The director can’t, the song leader can’t, the group members can’t. Because we’re all too busy nervously getting through one section after another.

We become locked into predefined repetitions and formats that we can’t deviate from because everyone is so unsure that if we do there will be some kind of mistake. But when everyone is absolutely on point with every part of the song, there is a freedom that takes place spiritually. In moments like these the Holy Spirit often takes over and leads the director or the song leader.

We did a song Sunday morning that we’ve done many times, called God Is Able. One of those churchy, hand-clapping, foot-stomping songs. So we know it very well. I was directing the choir. We came up to this one part in the song where we would normally repeat it a couple of times and go back to the chorus.

But this time the Holy Spirit started dealing with me and I just didn’t feel led to move from that spot. . So I just kept having them repeat that same two lines, right where we were:

“He’ll be there when you call Him/
He’ll be there when you need Him”

I just kept repeating it and it seemed like the more we repeated that phrase the higher the spirit got in the sanctuary, until everyone was just going in. Well, the whole format changed from there, because at that point everyone was following me, but I was following the leader. We never went to the real vamp of the song. That became the vamp and I just let God have His way right there; with me, the band, the leader and the choir.

We didn’t do anything that morning the way the song normally goes or the way we rehearsed it. But I had the freedom to allow God to just guide me in the direction He wanted the song to go because I know the choir and musicians knew it well enough to follow. I also knew the leader was skilled enough to just flow in the spirit right there, and would have no problem ad-libing as long as the Holy Spirit needed us to. So we all followed the leader. The ultimate leader.

Have a great week!
Ron
Ps. What if you were leading the spirit took over? Could you keep going as long as the spirit needed you to? Would you run out of words, or become anxious or irritated that the director got happy and won’t stop? If so, I have something I’d like you to see. Take a look here.