As a vocal coach, I have come across singers of a wide variety and mix of genres who are superstars in their own rights. A good percentage of them have star quality voices that will make you wonder why they are not trending already in the music industry.
This immediately draws my attention to a question I normally ask singers. If the guitarist works with a guitar; what does the vocalist work with? And a quick answer usually follows, “The voice!”
Every student of mine already knows that a singer’s instrument is much more than just the voice. The voice is only a third part of the full package. Singers need two other components apart form the voice – the mind and soul.
To find out more about this concept, take a look at my first ebook, Overcoming Your Singing Challenges.
Back to the set of skills a singer needs in order to nail a performance, apart from a great voice is the ability to own the stage and keep your audience glued to you throughout your performance. You gotta have the spice!
Adequate rehearsals and a daring confidence are also key to a successful performance. Most of all, you need to get comfortable in your own skin and really balance up yourself body, soul and spirit while on stage.
You don’t want to get on stage scrambled by nerves. You want to take care of those shivers immediately you sound the first line of your song.
The following tips should help any voice worker achieve the performance success they have always looked forward to:
This is a very important step to take as it will show your audience how organized you are. Having you entire team to stage the show will help you plan your movements better and you will be perceived as a good stage manager. Besides, you will know where each gadget is placed and where each team member is situated on the stage map – thus, avoiding accidents.
I have witnessed singers mumble words of their own songs while performing live. This can be a great put off. You want to ensure you study your songs inside out. Over-prepare if you can. You’d be better off for it.
You don’t want holy surprises while in the middle of a performance, so it is advisable to visit the show venue well ahead of time and see the setup. Check to see where props and gadgets around the stage are placed because you don’t want to trip while doing a dance move.
Ask the organizers for a space, a quiet room where you can relax, meditate and visualize your performance as you would want It to go. Do not underestimate the power of you mind and inner vision. You become what you think about. So take some time out to see it all come through successfully in your mind’s eye while you calm yourself down. You can also take a light meal, practice deep breathing and go through your vocal warmups at this time.
I have had a lot of artist tell me that they were too shy to look at the faces of their listeners. Of what use is it if people have honoured your invitation to watch you perform and you ignore them? Yes, that is what it is – ignore. Performing and looking away from your listeners is as good as ignoring them.
You don’t want to do this. So before hand, learn to look at people straight in the eye while you talk to them. This should help you build the confidence you need to look at your audience while you perform.
Always remember that your audience is the the central focus of all you do while you perform. Smile a lot at them and invite them up stage to dance where necessary. If you connect well with them, you will get a great appreciation at the end of your performance.
Every venue and audience carry a certain vibe – it could either be a positive or negative one. If you are settled within, you will pick this vibration when you mount the stage. It will make you happy or otherwise. Whatever happens, choose the positive vibes and work with them. Search for a smiling face, happy face or interested face and concentrate on it. Feed off that energy until you stabilize. This point is very essential because you will not always meet a friendly audience. But you will find one or two persons who will send you positive energy.
Have a backup for your gear in case anything goes wrong. Having a string go off your guitar while you perform can be embarrassing. You want to have an extra guitar to prevent stories that touch. In other words be prepared for the worst-case scenario.
8. Work with a Performance Expert.
This is an area most singers give little or no attention to. It’s ok to want to do everything yourself, so long as it all goes well. But seek a helping hand in areas where you think you may be weak. It is one thing to have a very good voice but another, to know how to move your body along and manage your stage space. I usually advise singers to work with a vocal coach, dance instructor, performance expert or talent manager to bring out the best in their shows.
Remember, if your audience like your show, they will buy the tickets of your next show.
9. Respect Your Co-workers
The success of a staged performance lies in the hands of a co-operative team and not just the singer. If something goes wrong in one department, every other department is affected because they are all interconnected. Hence, you want to treat everyone with respect while on stage. Avoid being bossy like most lead singers do. Don’t stare rudely at a singer who sings off key; same way you should not frown at the audio man because your microphone isn’t working. The audience is always watching and sensing everything going on up stage. You don’t want to put them off in any way so be nice to your crew members.
More So, don’t back your audience for any reason except for choreography. Also play to the video camera once in a while to connect with audiences who may be watching from across the globe.
In all, stand for what you believe in – your talent and your abilities. Keep to your plan and express yourself sincerely. Singing is a vulnerable art and it is very easy for your listeners to tell if you believe in yourself.
Don’t change your plan to fit your audience. The confidence you exhude has such a profound effect on your listeners so you want to ensure you are keeping things real. This way you will leave your audience wanting more.
Stage Performance can be quite difficult and extremely demanding, requiring a great deal of emotional and physical investment to each song. Same way, it can be a highly rewarding experience as can be seen from the audience applause at the end of the show, justifying all the hardwork.