Do you sing with a band? If so, you may have been wrongfully accused of one of the many stereotypes lead singers face — even if you’re always on your best behavior! Here, St. Augustine, FL voice teacher Heather L. shares her tips for proving them wrong…
I’m the lead singer — uh, make that the only singer — of two bands, an acoustic duo and a guitar/drum/piano/mandolin group. And as much fun as I have in each rehearsal, and as well as I get along with my bandmates, being a lead singer can be, well, weird. I’m always learning that lead singers face a lot of expectations, pressures, and especially stereotypes. I’m also always learning to push past them. Here’s a list of five stereotypes that people who sing with a band can face, and how to rise above!
1. Lead singers are pushy princesses or princes.
We’re thought to be super bossy, directing the entire rehearsal, dictating precise tempos, and rearranging set order again and again. And while there’s nothing wrong with expressing your opinion, just remember: it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. Be sure to make your voice heard in a respectful and calm way, or you might just find yourself looking for a new band!
2. Lead singers need to be the center of attention (all the time).
While it’s not cool to be an ultimate diva, this stereotype actually makes sense. I mean, the lead singer is the center of attention much of the time. It’s not our fault. But a team is a team, and it’s important to let every member show off individual talents. Let every member of your band have a solo once in a while. That way, everyone shines on stage.
3. Lead singers know squat about music theory.
Okay, so maybe, sometimes, we lead singers believe that we can get by on our good looks. But some lead singers not only have a decent amount of theory knowledge, but also maintain serious theory geek status. If your bandmates josh you every time you forget the relative minor of C major, then just avoid talking about music. Or, better yet, ask your voice teacher to help you brush up on your theory with a great curriculum book, like Alfred’s Essentials of Music Theory. It’s easy, fun and you’ll be able to learn music in less time.
4. Lead singers are high maintenance.
We need our particular teas and our certain bottles of water, and, “oh, no thank you, we don’t drink any dairy beginning three weeks before a gig.” Some of these “high maintenance” behaviors are simply good vocal health habits, especially when you sing with a band. But remember, a professional never panics and always maintains a proper perspective. So don’t flip out if you can’t make a cup of Throat Coat before band practice!
5. Lead singers are ditzy airheads.
We’re always late to practice. We’re always forgetting our music. Lead singers are not known for perfect attendance or organization skills. But we can all help change that! How? By being punctual, organized, and just, well, considerate of other band members.
Overcoming the stereotypes that lead singers face is ultimately about seeing yourself as the best kind of leader — the one who sees themselves in the trenches with everyone else. Remember, your bandmates are the people who you make music with. In the long run, overcoming the stereotypes that lead singers face will help you to become a better singer and a better band.
Heather L. teaches singing, piano, acting, and more in St. Augustine, FL, as well as through online lessons. She is a graduate of the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, and has performed with the New York and Royal Philharmonics, the New Jersey and Virginia Symphonies, the American Boy Choir, and the internationally renowned opera star Andrea Bocelli. Learn more about Heather here!
Photo by InSapphoWeTrust