The ultimate calling card of the Gospel music genre is powerful singing, isn’t it? That’s not only what most singers want, but it’s become what most listeners expect from Gospel singers. But there is a fine line between singing with a nice, full, powerful voice and just out and out screaming on pitch. Now, if you happen to be one of those singers with a big, powerful, loud singing voice you might not see anything wrong with that. After all, it’s Gospel singing! It’s you that they depend on the carry that section in the choir stand when the numbers are thin, right? And even when they aren’t thin, it’s your loud, powerful voice that really makes the section nice and strong…right? Well, yes and no.
You see, having a powerful, loud voice can be more of a curse than a blessing if you have no control over it. If you find that the only way you can achieve any note above your most comfortable one is to simply get louder and louder until you’re doing something a lot closer to yelling than singing, then that’s not a good thing. Singers who have really big, loud voices often become more of a problem than an asset in group situations. That’s because in groups, choirs and praise teams it’s very important that the voices blend well vocally. You want a nice, full, warm sound where nobody’s voice is standing out or overbearing. So if you’re consistently much louder than everyone else in your section, you’re standing out like a sore thumb.
The key to getting a nice full, powerful sound without screaming-even in the upper notes of your range- is breath control. What causes us to yell notes is the tendency we have to push with everything we have in order to reach them. When a singer does this, he is basically using all of the air he has at once. This causes notes to be harsh and “loud”. But not loud in a good way.
Taking a sudden gasp of air and then pushing it out as fast as possible is what we do when we scream. It’s what I did the other day when I was in someone’s back yard and two large dogs bolted out of a doggie door straight for me, lol! I wasn’t singing at the time, but the experience isn’t much different than the way most of us approach singing. The way to gain control of this “loudness” without losing your vocal power, is to learn how to control your breathing.
Not only is it important to learn how to release air in a more controlled way, it’s also very important to learn to control the position of your mouth. What happens when we scream? We make our mouths as wide as possible to accommodate all of the extra air velocity we’re pushing. But when you learn to use less air and sing with a more narrow position, the result is more volume with much less effort. But the sound you’ll produce when you sing this way is much warmer, even and controlled. This is the kind of volume that is strong and full, yet it’s not overbearing or unable to blend with other voices in the group.
It’s an overwhelming concept on paper, but it’s actually not hard to understand at all when you see it demonstrated. I teach that and many much more in my home study course Vocal Ministry Breakthrough. Read more about the course and see clips here.