Thursday, April 12, 2018

I showed up for the audition and I was blessed to fulfill the requirements. I am now one of the members of our church's praise team. 

When I was finished with the audition, I decided that if I wanted to grow as a singer, I needed some coaching. I often joked about Zeke being my vocal coach and it was true. Prior to having kids, Zeke helped me grow as a singer and use my voice more effectively.

After the kids came along, I was super casual about it and I only got feedback every once in a while. This time, I'm determined not to be stuck where I am. Here is what I'm doing:

1. I'm practicing all the vocal skills fundamentals I've learned thorough the years. It's amazing how much basic stuff you forget. Good posture and proper breathing are some skills I'm paying attention to.

2. I'm watching videos of myself singing and I'm getting feedback on my technique. It is painful but you'd be amazed at how much you can learn from watching your own videos. I know that even runners record themselves running to work on their form and stride. Videos are amazing things to help us improve. Just remember that there's a big difference between that video you record so your friends can Like it and a video with the purpose of growing as a singer.

3. I actually do what my coach is suggesting I do. When you've been singing for a long time, chances are that you only want to do things a certain way. My challenge was to swallow my pride and embarrassment so I could learn something new. It is working. For example, we have sang in multi and mono ethnic settings. The styles are not the same and I get to adapt in order to get better results. If I sang a jazz song in hip hop style, I would not get great results. Adapting to the different musical styles has been fascinating.

4. I was wisely told that if I wanted to improve my vocal skills, I needed to join a choir. I'm a member of our church choir and I love my experience there. It is great to sing with other people. I also learn a lot in that setting. Choirs are magical places when it comes to teaching us to use our voices.

If you are a singer and you are thinking, "I can't afford a vocal coach," be not dismayed. Reach out to a singer you admire (in real life) and ask them for tips. You can also get coaching from a music teacher in your community, even if all they tell you is some singers you can study. Don't let your pride quench your thirst for improvement. God always makes a way.

The vocal skills part is quite technical. Because we are speaking about church music, the spiritual component of being part of any church group is very important. The Bible does say we should play skillfully (Psalm 33:3) and we always want to offer God our best, that's why I want to be a better singer.

When it comes to the spiritual side of singing, I believe my public worship should be a reflection of what goes on in private. If I jump, it's because of the joy I have in me. If I dance, it's because it's not only biblical, but it is an expression of praise to a God who is incredibly great. If I smile, it's because the words I'm singing are good news. 

Music is a joy. It always has and it always will be joyful. I sing because God gave me a voice. I am incredibly honored to serve God. I'm so thankful for the gift of music.