Singers: 7 Things Your Band Mates Wish You Knew
Everyone who sings for a band wonders at one time or another exactly what their bandmates think of their voice, and whether they truly understand how much work and preparation goes into singing well, even for a quick band rehearsal. On the flip-side, anyone who’s played guitar or drums in a band probably has a few choice words and some advice for you rockstar singers out there.
Singers, here’s 7 things your bandmates wish you knew!
#1 – They’ve also spent years perfecting their craft
Say what? That’s right. We singers often take for granted that other musicians also spend many years perfecting their craft too – we’re not alone in our quest for the perfect instrument and perfection in our technique. Guitarists and drummers often practice for hours on end and agonise over perfection in even the smallest of licks and fills. You weren’t alone in seeing a voice coach and taking singing lessons for many years – where do you think your guitarist learned those Kirk Hammett licks?
#2 – They don’t care if you missed that high note
No, seriously. Didn’t you just hear that guitar flub and ride cymbal where there was meant to be a crash? Rehearsal is rehearsal, it’s meant to be shambles, that way it’s not shambolic on stage. Your bandmates are focused on their own parts and trying to nut out their own issues – we singers are often so focused on ourselves, because singing is such a personal act, that we often think everyone is focused on every minute little detail of our voices like we are. The truth is, they aren’t – your bandmates are just glad to have some time with the full band together to gel with each other and work out any finicky parts that have been causing them grief when they’ve practised alone. A rehearsal isn’t an audition or a singing lesson, it’s a rehearsal – get all your bad notes done in rehearsal so that you know what to focus on before the big show!
#3 – They also have to warm up
Drummers and guitarists generally spend some time warming up, or start light and deliberate when they first start jamming. You’re not alone in your need for a decent warmup. Sure, a bass player isn’t going to spend a full hour working on register connection and vowels, but bass players are freaks of nature, right?
#4 – They are actually interested in your voice (if only you’d stop talking about it)
Catch 22, I know. Most people out there, musician or otherwise have a personal connection and even feeling of awe towards singing. In short, everyone loves singing, and everyone loves a good singer – but only when they are singing. You don’t care what gauge of string your guitarist plays, but you love his riffs and wish you could play guitar like that, and you couldn’t care less what a paradiddle is, but you think your drummer is the next Alex Van Halen, right? The same goes for singing. Noone cares what the frequency of a G# note is, and no one cares about how you’re modifying your vowel – but they LOVE it when you do. Stop talking about your voice and let your singing speak for you. Many of the world’s greatest singers hate talking about their voices, and even can’t stand the sound of their own voice – don’t be ‘that guy’ who talks about using his voice more than he actually uses it. Be the guy who helps their bandmates improve their voices and ultimately improves the band by giving them little singing lessons where you can.
#5 – They’d really love to be able to sing too (but they’re intimidated by your voice)
I’ve been in many bands where I encouraged and basically coached the other band members to sing backups and even trade off lead vocals. Sharing the vocal spotlight is one of the purest joys of being a singer, especially when it comes in the form of well-performed harmony vocals. Encourage your bassist to sing backups, and show your drummer a few tips for how to pitch a note – they’ll be forever grateful and it will make you a better band with better harmonies too!
#6 – We’re all in this together, man
Without a backbone, a band is weak, and without a singer, a band is aimless – the drummer plays JUST as much part in the greatness of a band as the singer does – they just don’t generally get the same kudos. You’re all in this together, so act like a band, not like they’re your band.
Stay tuned for Bands: 7 Things Your Singer Wishes You Knew
If you need help with your voice, a great place to start is the free foundations short courses available here at Bohemian Vocal Studio, which will make you much more consistent and controlled as a singer. Then when you’re ready to knock your voice up another notch with a professional voice coach you can book a Skype Session and we’ll work towards extending your range and building confidence and consistency in your voice EVERY time you sing!
If you have any questions about singing for a band, feel free to leave any feedback or questions below!