I listen a fair amount to the Libera Children's Choir, and one of the things that I've noticed is that frequently they wear ear-pieces in one ear or the other (For instance, Joshua Madine in his right ear here on Youtube).

I did a bit of research on this, and didn't find anything about Libera in particular, but I did find this article on Quora that says that sometimes singers will wear them to basically block out extreanuous noises on stage. This seems rather unlikely in this case, however, since they're only accompanied by a single violin and an organ.

Why do they wear earpieces? What are they listening to?


A monitoring mix, possibly even with some reference instruments in it for intonation. But even without such a reference, a frequent problem in acoustic stage settings is that the acoustics are built for broadcasting the sound to the audience rather than the stage. I've sung in circumstances where we had to work with sound walls to have a chance at sensible a capella singing. If you can't hear the other singers, common intonation is not realistic.

When you are not in control of the stage acoustics (and when you are just one of multiple acts, that's more likely than otherwise), owning a monitoring setup like that will allow you to be a dependable quality act, assuming that you are not going to stoop to playback performance (actually quite common for commercialized music shows featuring multiple artists).


I only watched for a few seconds but it's clear that it is in-ear monitoring.

It may be that there's a click track running in the earpiece to keep them in time; maybe it's to make sure they can hear the accompaniment and keep in time with that in the echo acoustic of the church; or maybe they're actually miming to a pre-recorded track, and the monitoring is to make sure they keep in time.

Big floor wedges would look incongruous in that setting, so in-ear is a good visual as well as technical choice.

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