Performing on stage is a rush! It is your duty to bring the entertainment and feeling of your music to the crowd. Though not every artist has mastered performing for a live crowd. I put together these 5 tips to better your live music performances!
I’ve been to many shows where I have been the only person to have arrived on time, if at all, for what is possibly the most important factor of a live performance – THE SOUND. Having checked your levels for your stage performance makes all the difference when it is show time. Constantly yelling to the sound guy to “turn me up” or “I need more in this monitor” mid-performance takes away from the moment.
However, there are situations when dealing with larger spaces and acoustics that make attaining perfect levels prior to the show a challenge. But showing up and executing a soundcheck effectively means the battle is already half way over!
There’s a saying my mentor use to say to me and my ensemble, back when I was doing theater some years ago. She would say “how you rehearse is how you will perform”. I’ve found this applies to live music events of all kinds too. Practice is imperative in developing good habits and ridding yourself of bad ones. This becomes even more important when performing with a group of people in terms of cohesiveness and flexibility.
Yes, I understand that there are plenty of artists who live in the moment. However, you need to remember you are on stage not only for yourself, but for the people in front of you. Being the act that’s “winging it” versus the one that has been fine-tuned perfectly to maximize their talent may be the difference in you being the one sought after when it’s all said and done.
3. Crowd Interaction & Control
Engaging and maintaining a crowd may be one of the absolute hardest things to do as a musician. This point becomes increasingly valid when you are entertaining a room full of people who are unfamiliar with your work. Underground shows I’ve attended in the past have shown me that a lot of people lack showmanship. Many believe that they can hop onstage and the music will speak for itself. In some cases this may be true, but I’ve seen immensely talented people get overlooked at shows because they did not take the time to include everyone else in the room.
Live music shows should be an all-inclusive experience. They should leave people with the feeling that not only did they just witness something, but were a part of it as well. This can be achieved in different ways. I’ve seen MC’s control a crowd by prompting them to follow a chant or hand motions, while singers split crowds into a choir of sorts singing three-part harmonies. Most recently I’ve seen an artist taking the opportunity to include the audience into one big selfies mid-performance. Do it for the Vine, maybe? All in all, think outside the box, be original, and know different things work for different settings. Anything you can do to make people believe what you’re saying or doing matters is always the goal.
4. Leave It All On The Stage
When you step off stage after a performance you want to step off knowing that there isn’t absolutely anything else you could have gave that demonstration to make it more than what it was. Give each and every show all of your energy, your body and heart. Be passionate and connect with the art that you’ve created.
Everything you do won’t always be up to par as far as technical standards go. There will always be a certain way you could have done something to make it “better”, but in my experience being both on and off stage, people always appreciate sincerity and honest effort in what an artist is handing them. If you feel it, 9 times out of 10, they will also. So feel it all the way and put on one hell of an experience.
5. Have Fun
Once you get past all the exhausting and exhilarating processes of preparing for a show and have that one moment to breathe right before climbing onto the stage, just stop. Stop and remind yourself to have fun! You enjoy making others happy and you want to ensure that this always remains a source of joy for you as well. Any mishaps that may and will occur? Just roll with it. By this time you’ve prepared yourself to counter anything that may come your way. Love what you do, always!
Have you tried these tips? Do you have any more tips? Sound off in the comments below!
Header image based on “Puggy Live Concert @ Fete de la Musique Dudelange-2038” by Kmeron, CC-BY-2.0.