How To Be A Great Backup Singer

Adapted from Insights On Worship

It’s one thing to have a great voice. Good singers are plentiful. It is quite another to possess the skills it takes to make your worship leader want to schedule you as often as possible. Here are some solid tips on how to improve.

1. Master the three vital elements of singing

The three most important features of your voice are pitch (your ability to sing on key), tone (the actual sound of your voice – think of the difference in sound between an opera singer and a country singer), and breath control. Great breath control will really help your pitch and tone.

Here are 7 Keys To Improving Pitch and 10 Keys To Improving Your Singing.

2. Listen more than you sing 

Listen to recordings of modern worship singers and emulate their vocals. Listen to yourself as you sing. Record yourself. Listen to your worship leader and the other singers. Try to blend by matching their tone.

Note idiosyncrasies (such as: My worship leader likes to ad lib a little the second time through the chorus). Pay attention!

Also listen closely to the melody. Make sure you end each word at the same time as the worship leader. Make sure your rhythm is the same as his or hers. Make sure you are singing the melody or harmony the same way as the other singers.

3. Follow instructions. 

If your worship leader asked you to not sing the first time through the verse, don’t sing! Know when to sing on-mic and when to sing off-mic. Only sing on-mic when your part is needed.

If your worship leader tells you not to sing a certain harmony or note because it sounds bad, don’t sing it!

Watch carefully for cues and memorize the arrangement. When the worship leader goes into the chorus from the bridge, don’t come in halfway through that first sentence! It sounds must sharper when you come in at the beginning of a phrase. Otherwise you sound like a novice singer who isn’t paying attention.

4. Don’t drown out the worship leader’s vocals. 

They’re called background vocals for a reason: stay in the background! Your job is to support the worship leader, not to draw away from the melody with either excessive volume or stylization.

Keep it simple. We don’t need Mariah Carey, we need you. A simplified version of you.

5. Learn to sing harmony properly 

Learn harmony by singing ALL the parts on all your favorite worship songs along with the recording. Generally there is ONE correct alto part and ONE correct tenor part. The harmony always follows the shape of the melody, usually in parallel thirds and fourths. Don’t get too crazy. Keep it clean.

6. Listen to the recordings your worship leader sent out

Learn your part and the other parts. When you show up for practice, the worship leader shouldn’t have to teach you your part. Come prepared!

7. Learn to worship as you sing

Smile, worship, move, develop great stage presence. Be a worshipper on and off the stage.

Don’t get offended when someone gives you tips to improve your voice. We’re all on a journey of improving our musical craft. Keep growing! Stay humble! Work hard; the Lamb is worthy.

Check out my new book.. “Leading Worship ~ Notes from a Grand Adventure available in Kindle or Soft Cover Editions.  This is a great gift for the musician or worshipper in your life.

This blog is part of my vision to train over 100,000 worship leaders around the world. If you would like to support this vision you can help by giving any amount through this PayPal account.

About Mark Cole

Jesus follower, Husband, Father, Worship Leader, Writer, Pastor, Church Consultant, Founding Arranger for Praisecharts.com, squash & tennis player, blogger & outdoor enthusiast.. (biking, hiking, skiing). Twitter: @MarkMCole Facebook: mmcole

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