Whether you’re an experienced performing artist or planning your on-stage debut, it’s always helpful to practice a few tips and tricks that will help make your performance the best it can be.
1) Give Yourself a Minute
It’s natural to get nerves or feel overwhelming anxiety before a performance. It means that you care about what you’re doing. The problem is, this anxiety tricks your body into a fight or flight state—Your heart starts to beat faster, your breath quickens and your muscles tense up.
When this happens, find a quiet place, close your eyes, and take a slow deep breath. Hold it in for 10 seconds and then let it out. Repeat 2-3 times until your heart rate slows. A shorter version of this is helpful on stage as well. Take a second before your song starts (your audience won’t mind a 5-second delay) to center yourself, and it will make ALL the difference.
2) Be Technically Prepared
Think ahead about your strengths and weaknesses, and create a plan so you feel fully prepared. Fumbling around with your instrument? Practice your piano or guitar parts until they become muscle memory. Worried about forgetting lyrics? Hand write them over and over until you don’t have to think about them. Not feeling vocally consistent? Break down the issue with your coach in lessons leading up to the performance. Feeling like your song(s) aren’t clicking? Workshop them with a mentor or fellow songwriter. And above all—Be sure to warm up your voice on performance day!
3) Make the Connection
Connect with your song and your purpose, and the audience will feel you. Singing isn’t all about hitting the right notes or sounding perfect—It’s about being emotionally moved. When a performance is technically perfect but emotionally void, it can be completely forgettable.
4) Remember Why You’re Doing This
Whether it’s a cover song or an original, we can’t forget the emotion and feeling that brought us to the song in the first place. As singers, we’re often performing the same song over and over. It’s easy to fall into a routine and go through the motions, but your audience will see through this really quick. There’s nothing worse than watching a performance and the singer is clearly just phoning it in. No matter how many times you’ve sung a song, dig deep each time and remember WHY you wrote these words or WHY you were drawn to this particular song. Find that emotion and use it to express yourself—This is your job as a singer.
5) Enjoy Yourself
For one song, you’ve got 3-4 minutes on stage or a full 30-45 minute set if you’re lucky. Make the most of it! If you spend the entire time rushing through or focused on what could go wrong, you’ll miss the magic. Be present for these moments, enjoy being on stage and connecting with your music and your audience. This is what being a performing artist is all about!
Want to put these tips to the test? Then come sing at our next Open Mic Night on Wednesday, April 22nd, right here at Songbird. It’s free for Songbird students!