Easy performance tips for musicians

Stage fright, vocal cords not warmed correctly, forgetting the lyrics. All of these things are common within the world of a musician. Combat any disruption by following our performance tips.

Easy performance tips for musicians. Photo of a male singing into a microphone while playing the electric guitar. A woman has stepped forward from the dancing crowd, smiling.
Credit: Pexels

Are you gearing up for your first musical performance? Whether you’re planning to play at a local open mic night or stepping onto a big stage for the first time, here are some easy-to-understand performance tips to help you shine like a star!

Remember, even if you have performed before, things can still go wrong and unfortunately, they do. Often through no fault of your own. But, if you’ve practised enough, you’ll be able to bounce back much easier. You’ll be prepared.

Practice makes perfect

The more you practice, the more confident you’ll feel on stage. Spend time rehearsing your songs until you can play them comfortably from start to finish. This will help calm your nerves and ensure a smooth performance.

If you have practised enough, your nerves will ease somewhat. Of course, nerves are normal, but the more you practise, the more you’ll feel comfortable with your show and therefore, you’re essentially then just adding an audience to your norm.

Warm up before you go on

Just like athletes warm up before a game, musicians should warm up before a performance. Spend a few minutes doing vocal exercises or playing scales on your instrument to get your muscles loosened up and ready to go.

If you don’t, you might find your voice won’t hold out throughout the performance. You might have cracks or breaks along the way. This could then affect your entire show. You want to avoid injury, after all your voice is your instrument.

Know your material inside and out

Make sure you know your songs inside and out. Memorise the lyrics, chords, and melodies so you can focus on connecting with the audience rather than worrying about what comes next. The more you practise, the easier it will be on the day.

Forgetting your songs is a big no-no. It will be embarrassing, especially in front of a live audience. You risk looking unprofessional. If you don’t remember your songs, how can you expect your audience to learn them.

Visualise success

Take a few moments before going on stage to visualise yourself giving a successful performance. Imagine yourself playing flawlessly, connecting with the audience, and feeling confident and relaxed. Positive visualisation can help calm your nerves.

In turn, you’ll find it boosts your confidence. If you go into it believing you’ve achieved great things. Telling yourself that the show has gone really well, you’ll likely have a positive show. One that will spur you on to perform again and again.

Connect with your audience

Don’t just focus on playing your instrument or singing your songs—connect with your audience! Make eye contact, smile, and engage with the crowd between songs. This will help create a memorable experience for everyone involved.

You want your audience to feel part of your show, part of your story. Ensure you engage with them as much as you can. If they become like friends to you, you’ll have no issue performing in front of them. Equally, they’ll forgive any mistakes.

Breathe deeply and relax

If you start to feel nervous on stage, take a few deep breaths to calm your nerves. Remember to breathe from your diaphragm rather than shallow breathing from your chest. This will help relax your body and mind, allowing you to perform at your best.

Breathing slowly can calm you down so much. It’s hard sometimes to remember to stop and take a breath, but it’s important you do. Your voice will sound so much better for it. Allow yourself to take a moment to compose.

Embrace mistakes

Mistakes happen to everyone, especially during live performances. Instead of dwelling on them, embrace them as part of the experience. Keep playing and focus on enjoying the moment rather than worrying about being perfect.

As mentioned previously, if you’ve built a good relationship with your fans, they won’t mind mistakes. They’ll just be there to help you carry on from where you stopped. Just keep going and remember it happens to everyone.

Practice your stage presence

Pay attention to your stage presence as much as your music. Stand up straight, project confidence, and use your body language to convey emotion and energy. The way you carry yourself on stage can greatly enhance your performance.

Remember that performing on stage is completely different to performing down your local pub. You’ll feel more exposed because you’re on a big platform with so many eyes on you. Be confident and remember exactly why you are there.

Stay hydrated

Drink plenty of water before and during your performance to keep your vocal cords hydrated and your energy levels up. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, as they can dehydrate you and affect your performance. If you can, even drink room temperature water.

Cold water can be damaging to your vocals. It’s important to sip water regularly and avoid anything other than water prior to your performance if you want a smoother show. Keep water on stage with you too so you can drink throughout.

Celebrate your success

After your performance, take a moment to celebrate your success, whether it’s with a high-five from a bandmate or a round of applause from the audience. Performing live takes courage and skill, so be proud of yourself for getting up on stage and sharing your music.

Remember to give yourself some credit. All the hours and hard work you’ve put into this. It’s important you acknowledge your achievements and don’t overlook them. Celebrate yourself. You should be your own biggest fan.

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