The Need for Breathing!

6 05 2011

You might think that breathing would just be natural when you lead singing. However, the stress of leading singing can take your breath away.

Stress can hamper even sympathetic muscles. It’s true when we are nervous or under great stress we breath more shallow. The activity involved in leading singing can also steal our breath.

Solution, breathing deeply! Sounds stupid doesn’t. Before you take the podium take several deep breaths and exhale completely so you can take in more air. Taking in more oxygen helps calm your nerves and gives you the needed support for the activity of leading worship.

During the week you should do some simple deep breathing exercises.

  • Begin by exhaling as much air as possible.
  • Inhale deeply (Remember deep breathing involves those stomach, back and side muscles).
  • Now exhale in short pants. (Like a dog, not the Bermuda type).  This will engage those big muscles that control breathing.
  • Do this a dozen times.
  • Next inhale deeply and exhale making a an “S” sound.  Continue this until all your air is gone.
  • This “S” exhale will help build stamina, the “S” sound will put no strain on your voice.
  • You can do this exercise making a “Z” sound which engages the voice too, don’t strain or push though.

If you will do this routine a few times a day for a few weeks it will certainly help you build the ability to breath deeply.  That in turn will help you when it comes time to lead singing.

Lack of deep breathing and breath control is one of the causes of vocal fatigue and voice strain.  You don’t want that ever.

So in the words of Faith Hill “Just Breathe”.

What helps you remember to breathe during worship leading or singing?  I’d love to hear your helpful hints.  Comment here or drop me a note chasejoseph(a)

Joseph D. Chase
Gospel Preacher
1000 N. Loop 485
PO Box 667
Gladewater, TX 75647
(903) 845.2531 office

Simple Things To Improve Congregational Singing

12 12 2009

In my work I’ve been blessed to lead the singing for many congregations.  There are several common problems in most all congregations that hinder great singing.  There are somethings that will make the singing more powerful and effective if they are practiced consistently.

Sit Closer Together

This may seem to simple to be true, but this one thing can make the difference between poor singing and powerful singing.  It matters not if you have 12 or 1200 voices sitting closer together will improve the sound of the congregation immediately.  I’ve experimented with this and have yet to be proven wrong.

It seems odd that people spread out all over the room instead of sitting close together.  I used to joke about how people always want the front row at the ball game and the back row at the church building.  Encourage the congregation to move closer together.  Have the leadership encourage people to sit close together.  Ask the preacher to mention it every so often until the congregation forms the habit.

When people sit more closely together they are encouraged by the singing more.  They hear their parts being sung, they are bolstered to sing out themselves.  This simple change will vastly change the participation and impact of the worship in song.  The command is to sing to each other as we sing to God.  It’s hard to connect with people scattered so far apart that you cannot hear them or they you.

Lift the songbook from your lap to shoulder level

If you are still using hymnbooks encourage everyone to raise the book up to about the level of their shoulders.  This will cause people to stop singing to their laps.  When people look up they can breath better and therefore sing better.  This is one thing that projection of lyrics has helped us to do.  People have to look up to see the screen so they are better able to sing out.

Just with these two simple changes your congregation’s singing will change for the better in a matter of seconds.  These little adjustments will go a long way in preventing dragging, keeping everyone together rhythmically, increasing energy and the ability to sing phrases and dynamics efficiently.

Along with these technical improvements will be the spiritual improvement also.  Singing to each other and with each other is one of the most effective teaching and edification tools the church has. God didn’t suggest that we sing to one another but rather commanded that we do this (Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 5:19).

As a preacher I know that the singing profoundly effects preaching.  If the singing is poor it is difficult to inspire folks with the Word of God.  However, if the singing is energetic and everyone participates it opens the door to better preaching and hearer participation. Ask any preacher and he will tell you he would rather preach after a great singing worship than a poor one.

We will make some more suggestions in the next few blogs.

Please tell others about this blog and encourage them to subscribe to it.

Joseph D. Chase
Special training for worship leaders and congregations who want to sing and praise God better.

Schedule a seminar today.

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