It starts with listening Part 1

A worship leader asked how the singers on the worship team could be taught to sing like a team and not like a group of soloists. The singers sounded like they were fighting each other vocally when they sang.

Each of us has a solo voice—the ability to sound unique—whether we sing in a chest or head voice/falsetto. We each have a unique tone and range, but when we’re a part of a worship team, we need to do two main things to create a group sound where people don’t hear multiple solo voices competing for attention.

We need to listen.

Singing isn’t just about opening your mouth and producing a sound. Singing involves your ears. You hear your voice and the notes you sing. You hear the band and the congregation, and if you are paying attention, you hear the other singers on your team. To create a seamless group sound, you need to listen to the other singers. Listen to how they form the words. Listen to the tone of their voices.

Singing as a group means that you aren’t the most important voice; you’re not the star. The most important voice is the complete sound of the entire team.

We need to blend our voices with others.

If every group singer would open their throat and create a warm, smooth tone, the sound of the group would be amazing. If you will do that, you will still sound like you, but you will sound like the best possible you. It’s easier to blend with someone else if your throat is open, your jaw is relaxed, your mouth is open, and you are supporting your sound from your diaphragm.

When you listen to the other singers’ tones, and your throat is open, it’s easier to adjust your tone to complement theirs. This adds depth to the overall sound.

When I began my singing career, I auditioned for a touring group that had a strong lead singer. Her voice was warm, rich, and powerful. My voice was lighter and lyrical. The directors asked me to sing with her. When I sang, I listened to her, opened my throat, created a warm tone, and supplemented her sound. I got the job.

Just because you have a great solo voice does not mean that you need to sing that way all of the time. If you truly control your voice, then you’ll be able to adapt your voice to the other singers’ voices.

The goal of being a team is being a team, creating a team sound. Worship teams demonstrate to the congregation that together we bring our uniqueness and submit it to one another so we can display the unity found in Christ.

Paul stated this principle in Philippians 2:1-4, “Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” NASB

When the principle of preferring others and focusing on unity guides our lives, then making the practical, musical adjustments for team singing becomes important and easy.