Anyone who’s sung in a crowded bar has experienced it:
You’re singing your heart out on stage… and no one is listening.
There is a difference between someone who can simply carry a tune, and someone who can captivate a crowd with nothing but their voice.
The first is a singer. The second is a performer.
It might seem like some people are just born to be great performers, as random as being blessed with a “great voice”.
Just like you can learn to be a great singer by working with a vocal coach and improving your technique, you can learn to be a great performer.
It’s all about preparation.
Read on for 6 steps to prepare yourself for performance perfection.
Free Bonus: Click here to download The 8 Secret Singing Tips, which is a PDF resource guide that helps you improve your voice instantly.
1. Prepare for Maximum Greatness by Observing the Three-Day Rule
To deliver a fantastic performance, you need the vocal chops to back it up.
Fortunately, there’s an easy rule to follow to ensure you sound amazing:
When you’re a singer, your body is your instrument.
It needs time and care to recover and be ready to sound its absolute best.
So, for three days before a big show, you should be drinking 10 -12 glasses of water, avoiding alcohol and dairy (alcohol dries your vocal chords and dairy produces mucus), not smoking EVER, and getting at least eight hours of sleep a night.
We came across this rule on Cari Cole’s website.
2. Watch Yourself Rehearse – Yep, It’s Gonna Feel Weird
Remember singing into a hairbrush in front of your bathroom mirror?
Your 13-year-old self was on to something.
It is super important to watch yourself rehearse so you can objectively see what you are doing and work to improve it.
It’s easy to imagine you look like a Rockstar when you sing.
But you might not see that you’re slumping at the shoulders, cutting off your breath, and generally look like you’re standing in line at the DMV, instead of in the spotlight.
Practice in front of the mirror, especially as you put the following tips into practice.
If you want to get fancy, set up a video camera and perform for it – this is especially helpful if you’re rehearsing with the whole band.
You’re gonna feel shy about this at first, but think about it:
You are your first audience.
If you can’t perform for yourself, how are you going to perform for others?
3. Avoid the Deer-in-the-Headlights Look by Practicing for Eye Contact
Why did you want to be a singer in the first place?
You want to tell a story.
You want to express yourself.
At the heart of it all, music is about connection and communication.
How do we connect and communicate with people?
We establish eye contact.
Making eye contact with your audience means making a personal connection.
This helps you tell your story better AND creates the lasting relationship with your audience that will keep them coming back for more.
No one expects you to gaze soulfully into one person’s eyes throughout the entire song.
Instead, choose a few places to make eye contact: the emotional climax, for example, or the first line of every chorus.
When you’re not making eye contact, look at the horizon line, at the band, or up into the lights during an emotional moment.
Closing your eyes as you sing is another option, though it can be overused.
The important thing is to choose when and where you are going to look.
No need to follow this like a script, but having this rehearsed will keep you from getting that deer-in-the-headlights look on stage.
4. Practice and Plan for Body Language So You Don’t Look Like a Robot
This is true in everyday life, so how much more important is it when all eyes are on you?
You might be able to use some tips in this short video on body language and public speaking:
Plan what to do with your hands and how to hold your posture. You don’t want to end up in front of the microphone with your hands in your pockets.
Not only will that ruin your posture, making it hard to breathe and affecting your tone, but you will look insecure and, well, boring.
What is the story you are telling?
Is it a sad and plaintive song?
Are there places it would be appropriate to put a hand to your heart, to put one hand in the air, to look up at the sky wistfully?
If it’s an upbeat number, clap along to the beat or shake a tambourine. Wave your hands in the air. Play around with this to find a style that works for you.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
Watch videos of your favourite performers to see what they do. I guarantee you, all singers you love had to watch those who went before them to figure out what to do on stage.
Don’t be shy about ripping off their moves, or “getting inspiration” from the greats.
Schedule a lesson with your vocal coach before your big show to go through your songs the same way you will perform them: with eye contact, gestures, everything.
Your vocal coach can give you some personal tips that match your style and help you tell your best story.
Don’t have a vocal coach? Check out these resources to get the edge you need.
5. Bring Personality to Your Set With Between-Song Banter
If you are the lead singer, you are the public face of the band. That means you’re going to need a little bit of banter.
Having a few lines prepared for between songs ensures that you won’t be standing there in radio silence, but you won’t end up rambling, either.
Ideas for what to talk about include:
- Why you wrote this song or what it means to you
- Thanking the audience or the venue
- Introducing the band members
- A call to action: like us on Facebook, buy our stuff, the date of our next show
6. You’ve Come This Far… Don’t Forget to Warm Up!
Show days can be busy.
Traveling from your day job to the venue.
Dropping the kids off at Grandma’s.
Loading up your gear.
It’s a lot of work in the name of pursuing your passion.
Don’t let all that work get in the way of the most important work you must do before a performance: warming up.
Warming up not only gets you physically ready to sing, it mentally prepares you as well.
Work with your vocal coach on a warm-up ritual you can do before the show.
It’s helpful to ask for a long version and short version, for those days when you barely can squeeze in a warm up.
Please, don’t forget this:
You’ve worked hard to prepare and plan for every moment. Don’t sabotage yourself by going in cold.
Being a great performer is all about confidence.
The good news?
Confidence is something that can be learned, just like becoming a great singer.
Make sure to check out the 8 Secret Singing Tips to give yourself the extra know-how and confidence you need, and make sure to practice, plan, and prepare for every moment of your perfect performance.
Soon, your audience will think you were just born to perform.