With the state of music sales the way they are, your live performances count more than ever. Learning to capitalize on the energy of a crowd can help you boost your career far further than before.
Here are 7 ways to improve your live performance…
- Train Like an Athlete: Performing takes alot of energy, and ideally you’d like to have just as much energy during your last song as you do during your first. Keeping the energy up keeps the audience energetic, and energetic fans come back for more. However, in order to deliver, you need to train. You don’t need an expensive gym membership, but going for a daily jog (even just around your neighborhood) can really boost your endurance. No amount of crunches are going to help you last longer if you wolf down a pizza and a pint of beer every night. Go easy on the junk food (and alcohol) and your body will reward you.
- Practice, Practice, Practice: Even if you think you’ve practiced enough, you haven’t. Your performance can always be improved. Tip: Try recording your practices with a video camera (or a phone set up on a tripod) and going back and reviewing them later with the whole band. Pick out the places where you and the other can improve, and try it next time you practice. Everyone needs to bring their A-game to every practice in order to truly improve your live performance.
- Involve the Audience: The best way to reel in an audience is to get them involved in the music. Get close to them. In a small crowd, get off of the stage and sing from your audience’s level for a song (or a chorus). Single out particularly energetic fans and reward them by singing directly to them. If your audience isn’t familiar with you, play a cover everyone knows and invite them to sing along. Getting the crowd involved in your music is the best way to reel in even the most stubborn of audiences.
- Talk About Yourself: Self promotion generally leaves a bad taste in artists’ mouthes. While understandable, it’s frustrating for the audience if the band doesn’t introduce themselves or say how the audience can find out more about them. Say your name at least 3 times, announce your website and/or main social sites (“you can find us on facebook and twitter), and point out your merch table and thank your merch girl/guy. You can do a little more talking about your journey/process, but don’t spend more time talking than you do playing. It’s all about the music after all.
- Perform Sober: I have some serious stage fright. Just the thought of being in front of people makes me want to hyperventilate. So believe me when I say I understand the urge to take the edge off. However, there are few things that piss fans off more than spending the money to see a band, only to have them falling down drunk on the stage. Sure, a sip or two might loosen you up a little bit, but as many artists can attest, one drink can quickly become two…then three…and before you know it you’ve had a little too much. It’s better for your health, and performance if you limit the alcohol intake before a show and stick to something like meditation to help you calm down before you take the stage.
- Take Risks: Is there a song that you’ve always wanted to cover, but are afraid that your fans might not be into it? Do you want to do a little something extra with your live show but are afraid of how it might come across? Do it…it could be a hit. If not, shake it off and try something else. Fans love surprises, and that extra little something could be the thing that really propels you forward.
- Loosen Up: If you can’t relax, no-one else can. Don’t worry about looking stupid or making a fool of yourself. The stage is surprisingly tolerant of odd moves and dances….as long as they’re not stiff. Have you ever seen a video of Jagger dancing? That man has some strange moves, but people love them. Just have fun, and your fans will have fun with you.
Do you have any special ways you’ve found to make your performances pop?