©2013 Beth Lawrence
A microphone is a valuable tool for anyone who speaks or sings in public. What I notice often with less experienced speakers or singers, is a fear of the mic! Have you ever seen singers hold the mic too far away from their mouth? Screech! Often there will be feedback because the sound guy has to turn you up too high to get any sound through the P.A. system.
Or how about the presenter who is so animated that he turns his head to talk to one side of the room, but forgets to move the mic along with his head! Whatever punchline he wanted to dazzle the audience with is lost because they couldn't hear it!
Here's a simple rule for you. Wherever the lips go - the mic must follow! When you're on stage, you want to be heard. I usually hold the mic about 1 inch from my mouth at all times. If I sing a big, loud phrase I might back that off a little bit, but you should never pull the mic way away from your mouth at any time. The mic won't pick up what it doesn't hear! Basically, you just have to listen to what's coming out your monitor (or ear monitor) to be able to judge your distance from the mic. Too close and you'll get distortion, too far and you'll be inaudible or get feedback. The further you are from the mic the more vocal quality you lose, too.
The mic is your friend. With the right EQ on the voice, a nice bit of silky reverb (I love reverb), and the right volume to begin with, the mic will amplify your gorgeous voice and carry it to the last row in Carnegie Hall. Learn to make friends with your own voice so that when the mic amplifies it, you'll be thrilled, not embarrassed. Hold that helpful mic courageously up to your mouth and pretend that it's glued to your lips no matter where your head turns. Speak boldly! Sing proudly! The mic is your friend!