A lot goes into an onstage performance. You need to have enough music recorded to perform a full set. You have to contact promoters or friends or call in favors to get booked. You have to sell enough tickets or be forced to pay the rest yourself to keep your spot. You have to promote so people want to buy your tickets. This is all before you even arrive at the venue for sound check and I haven’t even listed all of the “before” show steps. If so many critical steps go into an artist’s performance before they hit the stage then why do so many artists have rushed or disorganized sets? Why do so many artists fail to plan properly for the moment they are on stage? I have a feeling that a lot of them just don’t know how important some of these things are or maybe they don’t know they are even things to worry about or notice. Regardless of the reasons I am excited to share these 4 Tips For A Better Onstage Performance. Before I share them with you I want to make it perfectly clear that I am not claiming this will make your performance perfect. I am also not in anyway knocking you for these things if you decide you want to keep your performance the same and not apply these tips. I have been guilty of not knowing these tips and thus made some mistakes along the way. I also want to you to remember that while these are certainly helpful across the board, rules are made to be broken. Let’s get into it.
1. Rehearse Your Entire Set, Not Just Your Songs! When you are on stage and you don’t have a plan its very obvious to everyone watching. When you are on stage and you have a plan its very obvious to everyone watching. When you are prepared it makes people take you more seriously. The cohesion of a well put together performance of any kind is more fun to watch than one that is thrown together on the spot. Don’t just put your music on and sing along to it. Create an entire set from start to finish by asking yourself these questions. How am I going to greet the crowd? How will I introduce my first song? How will I thank the crowd? How will I deal with negative feedback? Do any of my songs lend themselves to having extras on stage or having props? How will I exit the stage after my last song? If you have answers to these questions then you are well on your way to having a truly entertaining performance.
2. Don’t Perform Over Your Original Song! The sound of your live vocals almost never sound the same as the vocals in your song. The amazing production on some indie tracks these days rival the best the industry can offer so the chances of your sounding like that live are slim. Another issue is being out of sync with your original song even just the slightest timing issue would create auditory confusion for the audience. The likeliness of you being able to sync up your performance with the lyrics in your song is so low that you would be better suited lip syncing the entire thing. Create a performance mix when you master any song. Keep in the hook if you need to catch your breath or you want to interact with the crowd. Have some reactions as well as vocals covering all your ending rhymes if you don’t have a hype man. This will let you catch your breath if you need it and help your energy level high in your performance.
3. Hold The Mic The Right Way! Always hold the mic at a “V” shape when performing and in the a “L” shape when resting. These shapes allows your voice be picked up properly by the diaphragm of the mic when performing and allow you to get the mic back up to your mouth quickly when resting. The “L” shape also prevents the mic from being at waist level which is closer to the equipment on stage and causes feedback.
4. Make Eye Contact! Stop staring at the ground. Stop looking at your friends in the corner. The way to get people to feel like your words are truly speaking to them when you are on stage is to look at them when you are saying those words. Make eye contact with at least 5 people and make sure they are spread throughout the venue and try to choose 3 in the front and 2 in the back. This simple step will greatly improve the look and feel of your performance.
Thank you for reading this list and hopefully you will be able to have a better performance and deliver your music more impactfully at your next show.