How To Hold a Microphone
Chicago Bulls’ newly drafted rookie Doug McDermott, has attained notoriety for his perfectly formed jump shot. Obviously being familiar with his own form, Doug McDermott can assess what mechanical aspect of his shooting technique needs adjusting in the event that he misses a shot. For you as an aspiring singer or rapper, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the mechanics of your own performance. One crucial component of your live performance that you can control is how to hold a microphone.
- MIND YOUR SURROUNDINGS
Always be cognizant of where the stage monitors and speakers are located. When the microphone is pointed at the speaker, feedback occurs. Feedback is a loop of an audio signal and that’s what creates those loud annoying screeching sounds. If there are speakers positioned behind you, make sure you do not stand directly behind them, otherwise you may easily trigger feedback. If you have stage monitors, refrain from letting the microphone hang where it is exposed to the speakers. Feedback is one of the worst forms of interference that can occurduring a live show. The engineer can only do so much! Take control of your performance and identify where all the speakers are.
- HAND PLACEMENT/POSITIONING ON THE MICROPHONE
Do not cup the microphone! Although it is likely that every rap act you have seen cups the microphone, asit may feel comfortable and look cool, just don’t do it! Cupping the microphone takes away from the intelligibility ofyour lyrics. Your vocals will sound muddy instead of clear. You likely do not cup the microphone in your studio sessions, so don’t do it duringlive performances either. The only time doing so would be applicable is if you are screaming and you desire that muddy, partly distorted sensation in the audio. If you find yourself sounding muddy, check where your hand placement is and adjust it. If for some odd reason you think you sound too bright (more treble), then cup the microphone.
Every microphone for performing has its own pick up pattern (the area of which the microphone picks up sound). Make sure the microphone is in direct line with your mouth. If it isn’t, then the microphone won’t fully capture your vocals. It helps to keep your arm in an ‘L’ position, and wherever your arm moves, your head also moves. For even better results, allowyour torso to move when you need to look in another direction, then the position of your head and hand position will always remain in the same place.
- PROXIMITY EFFECT
Proximity effect is refers to the amplification of low frequency or bass when you are close to the microphone. The closer you are to the microphone, the more muddy/bassy your vocals will sound. The further you are away from the microphone the thinner/brighter your vocals will sound. If you are so close to the microphone that you are more or less eating it, then your vocals will be very dark and muddy. Your vocals may seem louder, but they will not be clear. Allow the microphone to be a couple inches away from your mouth so that your vocals have more clarity. If you’re rapping and no one understands you, then what’s the point? It may feel awkward at first since you aren’t used to it, but better vocal quality will be the end product.
- PROJECT YOUR VOICE
Now, because you know about proximity effect and hopefully will no longer be eating the microphone, you need to be cognizant of the projection of your voice. Projecting your voice doesn’t just mean screaming or being louder. It means allowing the power of your voice to come from the diaphragm and not from your head. It’ll offer a better quality vocal and fuller sound and, combined with good use of the proximity effect;, you will have a clear, yet full vocal tone.
Now that you know, share your new knowledge on how to hold a microphone… this is how we will improve the craft of music all around us! Do music well!
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