Judy Rodman - All Things Vocal Blog

Training & insights for stage and studio singers, speakers, vocal coaches and producers from professional vocal coach and author of "Power, Path & Performance" vocal training method. Download All Things Vocal podcast on your fav app!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Live Singing Microphone Techniques

Microphones are the "hole in the fence" you sing through to reach an audience. You need to know what to do with them. Here are some tips for developing great mic technique:
  • Don't hold a mic like an ice cream cone.
  • Don't hold the butt end of the mic up continuously.
  • Do hold a mic at 45 degrees. This helps you pull instead of push your voice.
The slant you hold the mic at can make a big difference in how wide your ribs are (where your diaphragm is connected) and in where your chin is... affecting how tight your throat is. Holding it like an ice cream cone will also limit what it picks up in your voice, making it sound thin instead of rich. When you do hold a mic with butt end up for dramatic effect, make sure your elbows are out from your sides so your ribcage expands.
  • Don't hold a mic in your hand limply. Many people do this! Believe it or not, it usually causes a loss of breath support and control, which will go on to affect the throat.
  • Do grasp a mic steady in the groove between thumb and fingers, with energy -- and make it part of your feeling of power.
I recently found the source of a mic holding issue in one of my students. Her habits as a drummer were causing her problems. She was holding the mic in "match grip" position with her thumb long-ways towards her mouth. This was causing tension in her arm going up to her shoulder, and of course on to her throat. When I had her curl her thumb comfortably around the mic instead, her upper arm & shoulder relaxed and her vocal control increased easily.
  • Do squeeze a mic for extra breath power and control. You can do this with both hands around the mic. But ...
  • Don't let this squeeze transfer up your arm and...
  • Don't let this squeeze cause you to squeeze your elbows into your sides
When you squeeze the mic, do it in such a way that it causes your ribcage and nostrals to expand. Sounds strange, but you must learn to power yourself open instead of closed.
  • SLIGHTLY pull a mic away from your mouth - sort of to the side - on power notes. This can even help you properly "pull" instead of "push" your vocal sound.
And lastly, a couple of random mic ettiquite tips:
  • Always try to schedule a mic check before beginning your performance!
  • Never point a mic at a speaker.
  • Avoid mashing and crimping the cord at the base to avoid shorting it.
  • Make sure the thing is on :)
I'd love to hear from you about your experiences with microphones. Go online and hit the comment button!

Also, if you like this post, please hit a social network button and recommend it. Thanks!

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  • At June 28, 2011 at 9:32 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hello Judy Rodman, You don't know me but I remember you esp. after reading online about you.
    I have benefited already even from this one blog about Mic Tech.
    I probably have to decide between Phone Lessons and or getting your CD.
    I have played ( mainly self taught) with tons of "influence" of other Vocalists and Players. I am a retired widower and have a facebook/tommyturner you could sort of get an idea about me if you wished. I have been to my Dr for annual Ckup and all is well. I have been playing with Nashville Pro. friends mainly at the Room In The Inn ( for the clients there)and a Nursing home and can do these as a single or with others. I have done 2-3 years of blurbird writers nites and have a Writers Night @ The BLUEBIRD CD with 11 om my songs I sell at the flea market in my antiques booth the for 22 years.I am an AFM life member I'm happy to say. I did a lot of music work like American Songwriters Magazine as Songwriters Tools Columist and NSAI moderator way bak when Maggie was there.over the last 24 yrs in Nashville and I live in Deer Lake Retirement Community in Nashville. I have expierienced this problem with my voice tho over the past year. Songs I used to sing in D are now way to low for me to sing Live on a stage ( like Bluebird Cafe situation). I saw what you wrote about Hydrating so I will pay more attention to that but mainly Thats where I am in being uncomfortable. I never really called myself a Vocalist tho ( more of a musicisn that discovered very fast that ya' gotta sing to get work so.... Sorry if I am rambeling Judy. I was really so Happy tho to hear you sing on line (even live)and ya look great too.Thank for being availible on line etc. Isn't Music Wonderful" Tommy Turner BMI NSAI AFM local 444 Jax FL

  • At June 29, 2011 at 10:46 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

    Hi there Tommy...

    Hey if you haven't read it yet, check out the post about lows at http://blog.judyrodman.com/2011/06/quick-tip-for-low-notes.html .

    Congrats on your musical career- you sound like a great, generous, positive musician (the best kind). Yes, music is wonderful:) Stay in touch.

  • At June 7, 2019 at 11:35 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

    forgot to mention how to move mic away to gasp out then in and some female singers forget to do or breathe out on the mic and then move it away but bring it back to breathe in\


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