If you are a musical performer, you understand the rush that you get from performing in front of a crowd. There’s nothing like it. However, you can’t phone it in and expect people to respond. Concertgoers want passion and connection or you might not just lose them on the night of a performance. You risk losing them for good. That’s why you need to understand that each performance is just as important as the next, and that there are things you can do to improve your stage presence. Whether you’re performing at a hole-in-the-wall bar in New York City or in front of a huge crowd at a music festival, stage presence is everything. Wondering how to how make your performance stand out? Read on for some tips.
Get in Touch With the Song
We’ve all seem the judges on the musical talent shows when they see a performer that has somehow not connected with the meaning behind the song, and it’s never good. If you’re singing it, in particular, you need to understand the lyrics and the meaning behind them. But even if you’re not singing, you should still know what the song that is being performed is about, as it allows you to have more of a connection with it. When this happens, your passion will be conveyed the audience and the rest, as they say, is history.
Rehearse, Rehearse, and Then Rehearse Some More
Everyone gets busy and, when this happens, corners get cut. One thing you don’t want to fall under this umbrella is the time you spend rehearsing. Again, performing is about making the audience react well, and if you’re squirming up there trying to remember the lyrics or music, you can bet the audience will be squirming more. You need to count on the fact that your adrenaline will be pumping but a good amount of rehearsing will allow for this to be a good thing instead of letting the nerves take over. Plus, you’ll have more fun up there the more comfortable you are with the performance, too. And isn’t that what this is all about in the end?
One additional note about this, though … don’t confuse being rehearsed with being boring. You should still always allow yourself room for musical improvisation based on the vibe in the room. As Music Producer Tom Jackson notes on his Reverb Nation guest blog post, “One of the biggest mistakes an artist can make is thinking their only two choices are ‘being rehearsed’ or ‘being spontaneous.’ In fact, I believe that a tight, rehearsed band is in a much better position to be spontaneous and find new ways of expressing themselves on stage than a band who is just ‘winging it.’”
Hone Your Alter Ego
Unless you’re as extroverted as Oprah or Jennifer Garner, you probably need to create some sort of alter ego. Remember—even Queen Bey has one of these (hello, Sasha Fierce), so it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Most people tend to be nervous when singing, performing, or even just speaking in public, so an alter ego helps you to break out of your comfort zone. You want the performance to be electric, and that’s where the swagger of your alter ego comes in. Whether you name him (or her!) is up to you.
Don’t Be Ashamed of Special Effects
P!nk is more popular than ever and, although her voice is killer, she still makes her live shows spectacle instead of just unplugging and singing up on stage while sitting on a stool (although, hey, that would be amazing). From visual effects to her Cirque du Soleil-inspired swinging, she leaves it all on stage every time she gets up there. You don’t have to be ashamed of the bells and whistles, as most of the top entertainers enlist them. An amazing light show or even photos playing in the background will lend themselves to the performance. Another way to enhance your performance on stage is to use audio visualizer software to add stimulating effects that dance and move in time with your music.
Plan an Audience Surprise
Whether it’s a funky cover that is completely unexpected based on your musical style or a mashup of another song in the middle of one of your own, an audience surprise is what keeps your fans talking about your live performance for months or maybe even years to come. You could even bring out a musical guest to join you. Your fans might love your albums but they don’t want to go hear you spew them verbatim during your live performances.
Follow these tips and your next live performance will be one for the record books.
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