Microphone Position For The Singer:
For the less experienced singers, this blog is for you. I often see these singers picking up the microphone, start singing and most of the time the microphone is being used incorrectly. It is not a simple case of just singing into a microphone, singers must realise that like any tool, they must learn correct microphone technique to get optimal sound quality and maintain good head-neck-back alignment so that no throat constriction or excessive muscle tension occurs (detrimental factor to your voice). Here are a few key points…
Position of Microphone: directly to your mouth, slightly lower by bottom lip and angled up towards mouth. NEVER have the microphone above the mouth as this will require your neck to stretch up and into the microphone – throat constriction / excessive muscle tension will happen, won’t sing well and damaging to your voice if you sing like this long term! ALWAYS sing slightly down and into your microphone. No ‘chin tuck’ either. A neutral, relaxed chin alignment (not too high, not too low) is what you want. This is part of good vocal technique.
Distance of Microphone to your mouth: 1 inch – 1.5 inches (2.5cm-3.8cm) away from your mouth will ensure the microphone responds to your voice and slightly altering the position / distance of the microphone is also your tone control tool (working with the microphone’s proximity effect).
Low Notes: The primary goal for your low notes is clarity and presence, not volume (impossible to project low notes due to how low frequencies resonate). Bring the microphone closer into your mouth, specifically, the lower lip. If your microphone is right on the entire mouth you can have a muffled effect.
High Notes / Projection / Singing with Dynamics: simply turn your head slightly left or right and sing half off the microphone and a degree of moving the microphone away from your mouth. NEVER pull your head back and away from the microphone as this promotes muscle tension / vocal strain. Be aware that singing at your normal level or over anticipating your singing volume and pulling the microphone further away from your mouth will result in lost amplified sound and/or a thin, weak sounding note. Explore and learn how your microphone responds to your voice. For instance, distance from mouth when singing high or singing loudly, singing softly or in your lower range, singing “Umm” will require you to slightly drop your head down into the microphone so it can capture the air / sound waves that are coming out of your nose, not your closed mouth!
Your vocal coach, sound engineer and experienced colleagues in the music industry should support and help you learn proper microphone technique and it is by ‘doing’ that you will master this skill. Finally, remember that the microphone will not correct bad singing technique – having good technique will allow your optimal vocal production to be picked up by the microphone and amplified out to your audience.