20 Tips for Performing on Stage for the First Time
- 1. Select Your Setlist Wisely
- 2. Choose the Right Outfit
- 3. Warm Up Your Voice
- 4. Focus on Being Present
- 5. Mind Your Body Language & Posture
- 6. Bring Energy & Personality to Your Performance
- 7. Work the Whole Stage
- 8. Perform with Emotion
- 9. Fill the Silence
- 10. Plan What You’re Going to Say
- 11. Try to Control Your Nerves
- 12. Engage with Your Band
- 13. Create Special Moments in Your Performance
- 14. Be Prepared to Improvise
- 15. Avoid Being Negative
- 16. Don’t Be Afraid to Take Risks
- 17. Involve the Audience
- 18. Record and Review Your Performance
- 19. Practice, Practice, Practice
- 20. Have Fun on Stage
- Final Thoughts
Giving a great performance is about more than just having a good voice or playing an instrument well. It’s also about having a strong stage presence. This means being confident and in control while on stage and engaging the audience throughout the performance.
If you’re new to performing or simply looking to improve your stage presence, here are 20 tips to help you out.
1. Select Your Setlist Wisely
Selecting the right setlist is one of the best ways to ensure a smooth stage presence. Space your songs out accordingly if you’re playing a mix of slow and upbeat tunes. This will help keep the momentum going and prevent any lulls in the performance.
Also, consider how many songs you plan to play. If you’re only playing a few, make each one count. Conversely, if you’re playing a longer set, you can afford to mix up the tempo a bit.
2. Choose the Right Outfit
Your stage outfit should reflect your style and the type of music you play. For instance, if you’re in a country band, you might want to consider wearing cowboy boots and a hat.
This isn’t to say that you need to go all out with your costume. However, dressing the part will help your stage presence and make you feel more confident.
3. Warm Up Your Voice
If you’re a singer, it’s essential to warm up your voice before performing. This will help you avoid any throat problems or vocal strain during the show.
You can do many vocal exercises to loosen up your voice, such as humming or singing scales. In addition, it may prove helpful to develop a warm-up routine that you can do before every performance.
4. Focus on Being Present
One of the best ways to improve your stage presence is to focus on being present. It can be easy to get lost in your own thoughts when performing. Yet, if you focus on connecting with people in the room, it will make a world of difference.
5. Mind Your Body Language & Posture
Your body language and posture play a significant role in your stage presence. For instance, if you’re hunched over, it will make you look nervous and uncomfortable.
Try to stand up straight and make eye contact with the audience. Avoid fidgeting or rubbing your hands together – this can make you look nervous.
6. Bring Energy & Personality to Your Performance
Your stage presence is all about bringing energy and personality to your performance. This could mean anything from being animated and expressive to showcasing your unique sense of humor. It’s important to find what works best for you and own it.
7. Work the Whole Stage
When you’re performing, move around and use the entire stage. This will keep the audience engaged and make you feel more connected to them. It also creates a more dynamic performance.
8. Perform with Emotion
One of the most critical aspects of stage presence is conveying emotion to the audience. This means being energetic when you perform and aware of your facial expressions and body language. If you can make the audience feel the emotions that you’re feeling, they’ll be more likely to enjoy the performance.
9. Fill the Silence
There’s bound to be some dead airtime when you’re on stage. This is when you have a moment to take a breath and prepare for the next song. However, you don’t want this silence to last too long, or else the audience will start to lose interest.
One way to fill the silence is to tell a story about the song or make a joke. This will help to keep the energy up and maintain engagement.
10. Plan What You’re Going to Say
As mentioned, it’s important to eliminate any gaps of silence between songs. One way to do this is to plan what you or your bandmate will say between each number.
Some people are naturally gifted when it comes to stage banter. Still, planning something to say beforehand eases anxiety and makes the performance feel more seamless.
11. Try to Control Your Nerves
It’s perfectly normal to feel nervous before a performance. In fact, some nerves can be beneficial. They can help you focus and give you an adrenaline boost.
However, you’ll need to control your nerves, so they don’t get the best of you. Meditation and deep breathing exercises are two great ways to calm your nerves before a show.
12. Engage with Your Band
One of the best ways to ensure a strong stage presence is to engage with your bandmates. This means making eye contact, smiling, and generally looking like you’re enjoying yourselves.
It can be easy to get lost in your own performance, but remember that live music is about connection. Take a moment to interact with the other members of your band.
13. Create Special Moments in Your Performance
Not every performance needs to be high-energy from start to finish. Sometimes, it’s good to take a moment and create a special moment in the show.
This could be anything from slowing things down for a ballad or doing an acoustic number. These moments help break up the performance and give the audience a chance to connect with you on a deeper level.
14. Be Prepared to Improvise
Although it’s always best to have a plan, sometimes, things don’t go as expected. Maybe you forget the words to your song, or a technical issue arises. Whatever the case may be, you should be prepared to improvise.
No matter what, stay calm and confident. The audience will appreciate your ability to roll with the punches and get on with the show.
15. Avoid Being Negative
When you’re on stage, avoid saying anything negative or derogatory. This includes apologizing for mistakes and putting yourself or your performance down. Negative statements will only make you feel more nervous and increase the likelihood of further mistakes. If something goes wrong, brush it off and move on.
16. Don’t Be Afraid to Take Risks
One of the best things about live performances is that they offer a chance for artists to take risks and experiment with new material. If you’re feeling up for it, throw in a cover song or two or include an original that you haven’t performed before.
This can be exciting and nerve-wracking, but it’s ultimately a great way to keep the audience engaged. Just make sure you’re confident with the material and that it fits with the rest of your set.
17. Involve the Audience
A great way to make your performance and stage presence more dynamic: involve the audience. In addition, recent studies have shown that the human attention span is shrinking, so it’s important to maintain audience engagement by pulling them into the show.
This could mean anything from asking them to sing along to inviting them to dance. Not only does this help break the ice, but it also gets people more invested in your performance.
18. Record and Review Your Performance
One of the best ways to improve your stage presence is to record and review your performances. This allows you to identify any areas that need improvement and work on changes for the next performance.
It’s also helpful to get feedback from others, such as friends, family, and other musicians. This can give you a different perspective on how you perform and help you make necessary adaptations.
19. Practice, Practice, Practice
The best way to improve your stage presence is to practice. This means performing as often as possible, whether at open mic nights or in your living room. The more you perform, the more comfortable you’ll become on stage.
Music lessons can also be helpful. They’ll teach you how to control your voice, improve your skills on an instrument, and more.
20. Have Fun on Stage
Above all, remember to have fun when you’re on stage. This is your time to shine and showcase your talent. The audience will be able to tell if you’re having a good time, and they’ll be more likely to enjoy the performance. Enjoy the moment and make the most of it!
A strong stage presence is essential for any musician. By following the tips above, you’ll be on your way to becoming a more confident and engaging performer. Don’t forget to enjoy yourself and let your personality shine through.
If you’re interested in improving your musical abilities, Be Natural Music offers training courses in Santa Cruz and Cupertino for beginner, intermediate, and advanced musicians. We’ll help you develop the skills and knowledge you need to take your performance to the next level.