My thoughts...Wisdom from over the years

“What do I do about Suzy?” Part 1

Posted in: tip of the week ♦ Sunday, February 5th, 2012, 8:50 pm ♦ No Comments on “What do I do about Suzy?” Part 1

“What do I do about Suzy?” Part 1

As I travel around the country and teach at various vocal workshops and conferences, I often get this tricky question…

“What do I do about ‘Suzy’….?”

Here’s the problem in a nutshell. “Suzy” insists on being the center of attention in one way or another. “Suzy” will constantly attempt to sing louder, or grab more solo parts or “improvise” in a way to INSURE that she gets solo time.  She will even try to “fake out” the sound person during a sound check by singing very lightly, and then let it rip during the actual worship time. Sometimes “Suzy” will have a really strong vibrato that overpowers everyone else on the team so that she is insured of getting extra attention.

Does any of this sound familiar? I have had to deal with this type of person and it can be tricky. I’m going to attempt to deal with this sensitive subject by offering some practical solutions.

1. Make sure you have addressed the basics of blending first.
There are many ways to help blend, such as curtailing any unnatural vibrato, shaping vowels properly and uniformly, adjusting personal volume levels etc. Reiterate the concept of listening to one another, keeping in mind that if you can’t hear the other singers in your group, that you are likely TOO loud. Also incorporate acappella singing. Anyone who sticks out will become VERY obvious once the music is removed and only voices are heard. Acappella singing is also very useful for tuning up your harmonies as well.

Sometimes this will be enough to solve the problem providing the attitude is not the real issue. But along with blending our voices, our attitudes need to be shaped as well.  We, as worship leaders/singers, are on the front line, so to speak, spiritually. Think of Joshua’s wall and whom God sent out first! We are in the position to help tear down walls and strongholds and set the right atmosphere for God’s presence to be welcomed into our congregations. However, we are ALSO in the place to thwart this effort and quench God’s Holy Spirit. If after attempting to solve the issue by working on the academics of vocal blending you still don’t have the mix you want, then perhaps attitude is the problem and here are some suggestions.

Next week we will discuss more ways to help with “Suzy”

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