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2: BGVs: Pitch and Timing

Graham Moore, Leah Valenzuela, and Brian Johnson

11:17 · Vocals

In this lesson we cover practical attitudes that BGV's need, what makes a good monitor mix and how to use it to help you succeed at BGV's, how to place yourself on the stage, and how to create a culture of feedback on your worship team that fosters growth and development.

Vocals: Pitch and Timing

Brian Johnson, Leah Valenzuela, Graham Moore

Having a good monitor mix is often overlooked. It’s a customized thing – do whatever you need to do so you can bring your best. Try new things so you get it right for you.

Sound guys often turn off 1, the worship leader’s guitar if they are just strumming too much, 2, BGV’s if they are off pitch.

  • Brian likes them to mix the band (with reverb and compression) in his ear first, then creep his vocal up (not too loud, but not too quiet so he can hear it though). He has his ears turned up a little more than the room because it drives him.

  • Leah likes her mix pretty dry. She does not like reverb because it sounds good to you, but her pitch isn’t on all the way. She has the band in now, but used to only like having the worship leader, their instrument and the BGV’s in her mix. She sometimes pops one in-ear out to listen to the room.

  • Graham like the lead vocal in his mix. He likes reverb if he’s doing vocal pads or “whoa’s”. He usually keeps it pretty dry but does like a little of the band to keep his energy up.

You might prefer a different mix when you’re leading vs when your BGV-ing.

It also depends on your equipment – e.g. wedges vs in-ears.

Create a really good relationship with your soundman. Ask him questions “How did I sound up there?”

Brian has them EQ the low end of his voice almost out, and the low-mids, and boost the highs. It creates more air in his voice. He finds it brings his voice more present. He can hear pitch really well if the high-end is boosted.

Timing for BGV’s is everything. Support the right moments. Don’t get so caught up with your eyes closed that you can’t watch your worship leader. Yes, you want to get caught up in worship – if you’re in the congregation – but the worship team has a job to do.

At Bethel, the singers are all in a row. Leah likes to turn side-on so she can watch the worship leader and see where they are going, not just listen.

Brian likes to position the team so that he can see all of his key people by just turning his head slightly.