Maintaining Composure in an Emotionally-Charged Performance
by Molly Shorter
Have you ever been moved by the words of the song you're singing and gotten completely choked up? Or have you sung in an emotion-filled service, like a wedding or a funeral, and even though you tried to fight back tears, you could hardly get the words out much less the right notes? I have had this happen to me, and I have seen it happen with other singers.
During a particularly moving song, a friend of mine with a lovely voice and a heart for the Lord broke down and began to weep. He could not even utter another word. Our worship team came around him to finish the song for him. On another occasion, two singers on our worship team were performing a duet. Then, one broke down and began to cry. So, the other finished the song as a solo.
In both of those cases, the Lord used the songs to bless those in the audience. However, the singers were frustrated that they could not control their emotions to get through the song. So, how do you maintain composure in an emotionally-charged performance? Should you focus more on performing well or being transparent and real?
There is a fine line between having a performance mentality and ministering through music for the Lord. You want to sing your best, but you don't want to be emotionally removed from your song. You also don't want to be so emotional that those listening can't get the message of the song. There are times when you will get emotional while you are performing. The Lord can use your emotional response more than if you just stood stoically and sang the song perfectly.
Keep in mind that an overly emotional response can distract from the message of the song and put all of the attention on you. Ecclesiastes 3 says there's a time for everything - a time to weep and a time to laugh.
Based on God's Word, here's my advice: Rehearse your song over and over. While rehearsing, pay close attention to the words of your song. If you are touched by them, then cry to let the emotion out. When it comes time to perform your song, rise above the emotion and focus more on performing well. Sing your song with purpose.
Remember, your purpose is to perform your song in such a way that the words and music of the song minister to the audience and point them to Jesus. A performance mentality and ministering for the Lord can work hand in hand to help you maintain composure in an emotionally-charged performance.
Molly Shorter is full-time musician and worship leader in the service of her Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. She works with church musicians, giving them opportunities to develop and use their God-given musical gifts for His honor and glory.
Along with leading a large worship team, she is also a teacher to budding musicians, a playwright and theater director, a composer, and the writer of your enouragement here at Christwill Music.