Make Your Message Contagious! 5 Steps to

November 23, 2012 at 8:40 am | Posted in Christian Women | Leave a comment

Make Your Message Contagious!

5 Steps to Reaching Your Listener

If a singer says to me that he or she feels uncomfortable smiling while singing, my
response is, “I’d rather feel uncomfortable, than look uncomfortable!” The face and eyes
say it before anything comes out of the mouth! No matter how sincere the voice may
sound, the face and eyes must also reflect the message for believability.
Here are some practical ways to help singers cover up the “butterflies” inside to
effectively communicate the gospel and connect with the congregation.

To start, ask your singers to sit or stand in front of a large mirror or to face you. Explain
that they will be practicing to convey their songs with a worry-free face. Ask them to
think about what it feels like to open their front doors to invited friends and family into
their homes on a holiday. Next, ask your singers to relax their faces and close their
eyes. Cue them by saying, “Without saying a word, open your eyes and let your faces
say to me, “Welcome to my song. Welcome to my message. Welcome to my Lord!”
“Ready? Open!” Relaxing the face can be a real challenge for many so encourage your
singers to practice. For up tempo songs, a relaxed smile with the teeth showing
expresses excitement and joy. If the song is reflective, a pleasant sincere expression will support it. Portraying the message with the face and eyes will cause the congregation to “see and feel” what the singer is visualizing and feeling. Encourage your singers to practice on their own in front of a mirror!

Eye to eye contact from the front of the platform is the best way to connect and
communicate while singing. Inexperienced singers may feel distracted by the audience
looking back and may prefer looking at the foreheads and hair instead. The audience
generally will not notice the difference and will love the connection.

 Avoid clasping hands low in front of the body in the “fig leaf” position.
 Relax the fingers ahead of time by vigorously shaking both hands before going
out onto the platform.
 Relax the fingers on a hand-held microphone to avoid the stuck tarantula look.
 Need a safe “home base” for the hands? With elbows relaxed, press the inside of
the wrists against the sides of the legs keeping the fingers relaxed and dangling.
 Rehearsing with a rolled up magazine under each arm pit will help the singer
avoid the frozen statue look. Keeping arms and elbows slightly out looks more
comfortable and helps keep the ribcage lifted for better breathing.
 Purposeful hand gestures can energize and support an exciting up tempo songs
and tender heartfelt ballads. Wherever the hand points, the audience looks. (i.e.:
a hand lifted towards heaven) A hip-slapping hand will put the focus on the beat
and the hip but not on the message.

 Entering and exiting the platform with great posture and a pleasant confident
facial expression will heighten interest and help support the God-honoring song
that’s been prepared.
 The singer will have a better connection with the entire congregation by using
one-third to two-thirds of the platform space.
 When walking left, take the first step with the left foot. Start with the right foot
when walking to the right. When moving farther back (upstage) on the platform,
walk backwards as much as possible to continue engaging the audience.
 Graciously acknowledge applause as a praise offering to the Lord for all that He
has done. If the exit is on the side of the platform, walk backwards or sideways
facing the congregation. Turn away from them at the point of walking off.

Admittedly, it’s a challenge. A nose buried in the music does put up a barrier that makes
connecting with the congregation more difficult. Remind choir members that they will
look and sound their best when they hold the music with both hands so the top of the
folder is just below the chin….

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