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Vocal Seminar Teaches Worshippers to Sing, Speak Correctly

More than 80 worship leaders are set to meet with experts at the University of Pittsburgh's Voice Center on Sunday for a seminar on vocal health.

Voice Center Associate Director Jackie Gartner-Schmidt said many religious leaders experience vocal strain when delivering long, emotional sermons.

"We're rarely paying attention to how we speak and the emotions of what we're saying," said Gartner-Schmidt. "Especially in worship team, praise team, and worship leading, sometimes the emotion and speaking loudly, we can get a little carried away and our voice can take a hit."

The vocal specialist said it's actually more common for faith leaders to strain their voices while speaking, rather than singing. She said much of the seminar therefore will focus on correct speaking, as well as correct singing practices.

Gartner-Schmidt said the vast majority of vocal problems are entirely preventable, whether in speaking or in singing.

"Everyone can actually benefit from learning about their instrument that they use, and learning little tricks on how to keep it safe, for longevity's sake," said Gartner-Schmidt.

The vocal session runs from 3:00-6:00 p.m. Sunday at UPMC Mercy Hospital in Uptown. The first portion is devoted to instruction on how the vocal cords work; then, Gartner-Schmidt will take questions and practice vocal techniques with the faith leaders.