Since we have an exciting upcoming recital scheduled for students of voice lessons on Sunday, April 19th at 4PM at Dominican Joe Coffee Shop on South Congress, I thought it would be great to discuss the elements of a great performance (or “Kill it” as my drum instructor would say).
As I see it, the success of your performance has everything to do with connecting with your audience.
I know that may sound like a big and scary idea, but let’s break it down.
How do people connect with each other? They send messages. They have something to say; either verbal and non verbal. They speak so they are heard. They maintain eye contact.
Pretend a performance is a conversation with your audience. You’re are in front of them because you have the right to speak (or in this case, sing) your mind. This is your chance to show them something cool. To make a point. Maybe something you’ve learned in voice lessons.
When I was 21 I lived in San Francisco, CA and was playing in the BART train stations every day for at least 2 hours.
I noticed several things that I did impacted how people responded to my music. It got to be so ingrained in my performance DNA that I made very consistent earnings every time I went to play.
These are some of the things that I learned increased the connection with my audience.
- Repertoire—Without something to say, there is no performance.
You must have a conversation piece, an energy, a point to make. Your conversation piece is your song. And just like a conversation, some people will see your point, and others will always disagree.
You know you can’t please everybody, right? So try to please just one person. Even if it’s just your mom.
- Movement—Non verbal communication is a huge factor in a conversation.
What you are saying is exactly as important as what you say. So, what is the song saying? What can the occasional gesture or body movement add to the experience?
Even just shifting your weight along to the music can have a huge impact on how much people notice you.
- Smile—show that you are glad to be there in front of people. That you appreciate their attention for however long they are there.
Smiling shows people that you appreciate and enjoy what you are doing. This shows people why you’re doing what you’re doing. Nobody wants to see somebody who doesn’t like being there.
- Mindfulness—every time you get up to sing, you have the right to the stage. Make it yours in that moment. Leave any self-conscious thoughts of technique or melody on ice.
Performing is like a moving train, it happens so fast. So be present with your performance and people will notice.
- Attitude—All the performance tips in the world won’t help if you don’t have the confidence that what you’re saying matters.
Just like a conversation, you are there for a reason, to make a point, to engage with other people.
For some reason, though, when people get on stage, they forget why they’re there. They forget that a performance is a conversation.
The best way that I’ve found to muster this confidence is to convince yourself that you’re killing it. Believe yourself to be a great performer and people will flock to you.