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Church Sound: Is Your Worship Leader Too Loud?

Keep in mind three criteria when setting their volume level

By Chris Huff November 19, 2012

Enable the leader to lead, but equally, enable the congregation to follow (Photo credit: beccafawley: CC BY-SA)
This article is provided by Behind The Mixer.

 

Dare I suggest the volume of your worship leader could be detrimental to the worship environment? 

Yes, yes I suggest that very thing.

Overall audio volume level discussions are common between sound techs but I submit to you, my friends, that the overall volume isn’t nearly as much of a deal-breaker, mood-killer, worship-ender, as the volume level of the person leading the song.

My wife is a wonderful singer (of course!) and has spent a good amount of time singing on a worship team or two. 

She also has a good ear for what is and what isn’t a good worship environment. Regarding worship environments, one of the most useful comments she ever said to me was, “when the worship leader’s vocal volume is so high that people can’t hear themselves sing, they won’t sing.”

Let’s dig deeper into that statement…

“When the worship leader’s vocal volume is so high that people can’t hear themselves sing, they won’t sing.”

First, she isn’t saying that we have to hear ourselves sing because we want to hear our own voices. It’s much more of a psychological issue. And let’s make this psychological issue one in which you might be able to relate. 

Place yourself in the middle of the congregation during the worship service. Next, imagine the worship leader’s volume is pretty high. You want to praise and so you start singing. You will naturally, without thinking, start singing at a higher volume level so you feel your voice is present as part of the body. 

When your vocal volume has to exceed your brain’s “internally acceptable personal volume level” then you start feeling self-conscience.Then you lower your voice. You might even stop singing.

The church sanctuary is a place where you and I should feel free to raise our voices as loud as we want. But for many people, the human psyche places a limit on what is acceptable.

You might have grown up in a church where everyone sang loud. You might have grown up in a reserved church where you softly sang hymns and were looked down upon if you sang out louder than any others. 

We should want to lift our voices but the honest truth is that most people have a volume level which, when they cross, they feel self-conscience and their spirit of worship fades away.


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About Chris

Chris Huff
Chris Huff

Writer/Teacher/Author, BehindTheMixer.com
 
Chris Huff is a long-time practitioner of church sound and writes at Behind The Mixer, covering topics ranging from audio fundamentals to dealing with musicians – and everything in between.

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