Performance musicians of all types are able to create magic which allows audiences to enter their world of creativity for a brief moment of time. However, there is an ongoing tension between vocalists and instrumentalists when it comes to the actual presentation of the event. How can two groups of highly-talented (but very different!) individuals work together successfully to bridge the gap -- real or perceived?
Tips for Vocalists
While you may be more familiar with putting on a show, it's important to know that band members may not have the same comfort level on the stage as you do. Instead of rolling your eyes when you hear yet another missed note, know that instrumentalists have a lot of moving parts to keep track of. Be open to practicing how to enter and exit the stage with the instrumentalists, so you're not distracting from the performance ambiance and mood that has been created. Vocalists can learn a great deal from instrumentalists about how to treat their instrument -- their voice. String players, in particular, are able to share interesting phrasing with vocalists, and vocalists should listen to string vibrato and bowing to bring flexibility and variations to their voice. Listening to percussionists closely may help with maintaining metronomic rhythm.
Tips for Instrumentalists
While the technical aspects of performing can take up a great deal of your focus as an instrumentalist, you can learn a great deal from vocalists as they bring musical phrasing and persuasive expression to their art. Performing artists know that breath techniques are incredibly important whether you're playing your instrument or singing with it. The intonation and depths that vocalists can pull from the sound offer a different way for beginning and advanced instrumentalists alike to emulate. Perhaps the most important lesson to be learned from vocalists is stagecraft. Vocalists are often placed in a position where they are in the limelight, while instrumentalists may be in a less visible location. However, less visible doesn't mean invisible, so it's important to keep in mind that the audience can still see and hear you.
Creating a truly balanced performance means mutual respect between instrumentalists and vocalists. Whether this means taking the time to meet and understand the needs of others or simply staying focused and attentive to each other during practice and performance times. Maintain the energy and presence required to draw the audience in while you weave the story together.
Ready to work together and learn from each other? Whether you're a vocalist or instrumentalist, join us July 7-14, 2018 to be a part of one of the nation's finest Southern Gospel singing schools at Ben Speer's Stamps-Baxter School of Music.