Sooner or later the moment will arrive when you sing in front of an audience. Don’t wait too long, because it is fun to do, it gives you valuable experience and maybe even feedback. It is okay to be a bit scared before your first performance, you are not alone in this. The only way you can lose this fright is through performing and gaining knowledge about it, so don’t hesitate.
Every performance will give you information about your strengths and weaknesses, so can always be seen as a learning process. It is good to record your performances and watch them back. Maybe even consider taking some notes of the things you liked and disliked.
How were my movements on stage?
Are you dancing around while singing a ballad or standing super stiff while singing an R´n´B tune? That wouldn’t make sense, would it?
How do you communicate with an audience?
Are the announcements clear, too long, too short, serving a mood, or rather informative?
Communication through looking at the audience, flirting with them, laughing at them, and expressing your own emotion openly, always gives a great impression! If you feel uncomfortable doing that, just look at the back of the room and when you’re outside find something in front of you you can focus on. Looking at the floor, or around makes you seem uncomfortable, the audience will notice and make you feel even more uncomfortable.
Concerning the announcements, it depends on the event you are playing, and the music’s purpose. Announcements aren’t always needed but sometimes very important!
Imagine you are playing at a Wedding or a Cafe and the band’s purpose is background music. If that’s the case you definitely don’t need to announce every tune with a personal story of yours. On the other hand, you should embrace the storytelling, at song presentations or concerts, where people come to see you perform! Generally speaking, there’s nothing wrong with talking in-between songs, but don’t talk too long or too short, cause you might lose the audience’s attention or create an awkward feeling. It is totally fine and nice to sometimes play song after song after song without saying anything! You just have to find a way that feels comfortable to you, because everyone is different.
– Don´t talk too fast, you want the audience to be able to follow what you’re saying
– Prepare what you want to say to prevent masculating
– Introduce and thank the band, technician, location, everyone involved (in case needed)
– Before you thank wait for the applause to stop, otherwise you won’t be audible
– If you want people to remember your, or your group’s name, mention it a lot
– Make sure that your announcements are lively and diverse and not always “and the next song is…”
– Don’t curse on stage
How are the outfits, do they fit the location, the event, and the music?
Are you or the band consciously dressed, are they all wearing everyday clothing, elegant outfits, or is it mixed? This is a topic worth thinking about because it is the first impression the listener gets.
Imagine you are playing Jazz music and every band member is wearing Black ripped clothes… That look doesn’t support the musical message! You could also make a thing out of it though… but then you should embrace it completely!
Outfits always set a mood and show a bit of your personality. It should support your presentation and be appropriate.
When you choose your outfits, take specific things into consideration:
- Is the event taking place outside? – If so, you should check the weather because you don’t want to freeze, or faint because it’s too hot
- Is the event inside, in a big hall or a small club, how is the light? -The smaller and darker the location gets, the brighter your clothe’s colors should be! Dark colors don’t reflect light, but absorb it, creating distance. Bright colors can be a good way to remain visible.
- Do you move a lot or are you a rather stiff person? – Lose fabric moves with you and makes your movements look smoother. So in case, you feel like someone who can not move very elegantly or smoothly, you could consider wearing nice blouses, wide pants, dresses, etc.
- Do you want to wear high heels? – If you want to sing well, high heels can get in your way. On stage and while singing you want to keep your feet planted firmly on the ground. High heels don’t really allow you to do that. Still, it is very common to wear high heels when performing, it is just important to practice singing while wearing high heels. Make sure you look elegant walking in high heels, otherwise it doesn’t add to your outfit at all.
- Jewelry can be eye-catching, especially when it reflects!
Performing artist image
When you want to become a performing artist it is wise to start with a clear idea of how you want to be perceived.
Having an image is very important because it puts what you do into context. It is easier to reach the right target group and makes you recognizable.
This doesn’t only include the repertoire you are playing but also your image, personality, way of communicating, speaking, etc. If you don’t serve a clear image of yourself as a singer, musician, and artist, you give your audience the opportunity to create an image for you, which can be very dangerous.
What happens if you don’t like the image they gave you but it’s too late to influence it? That’s a situation you don’t want to get into, so try to find out who you want to be as an artist.
The most important thing is that you find something authentic. If it doesn’t feel like you, you won’t be able to keep it up! Something a lot of beginning artists think is, that they have to be extroverted. This is a misconception! If you are shy, you don’t have to pretend to be extroverted, be shy and embrace it. Make it part of your image and share it with the audience. The more you perform the easier it gets and your shyness isn’t anything negative.
What is the musical message, does the repertoire fit together, is it always in the same key or tempo?
When you write your setlist (the order of songs you will be playing) you should consider the dramaturgical structure. It is important to have a balanced order of songs, you don’t want to sing all the powerful songs at the beginning and end with the sentimental balladic songs. It should be a good mixture of styles and moods, tempos, and keep in mind that especially the first and last song should be very convincing.
To put it all into a nutshell one can say that you as an artist need to find out what kind of performance fits you. Perform as much as possible and don’t be afraid to receive feedback, it will only make you grow. Always remember that you need to feel comfortable on stage because otherwise it just won’t be authentic. The routine will make you more self-confident and your performance will become better so perform, perform and perform.
Singing from the Inside out – Ineke van Doorn