Playing live can be scary and intimidating if you are not as experienced or comfortable doing it. Some people are naturals at performing live and can run out on stage and take control.
Others prefer to be more in the background. It does not matter what kind of musician you are, you should be ready to take on the stage no matter how big or small the venue is.
Here are my seven tips for mastering your on-stage presence as a musician!
ACT LIKE YOUR PLAYING IN YOUR MOST COMFORTABLE PLACE: My dad gave me this advice before I performed at an open mic night. He could tell I was nervous (which I was) that struck a chord.
Even though he was not a musician, this was practical advice to center me.
I am most comfortable when I am playing in my room alone. I tend to think about that when I am playing live.
Even when I record songs for YouTube, I still have this vision because I am putting myself out there for the world to see.
This goes along with me doing the YouTube videos. I feel like recording has helped my stage presence and confidence. When you have to play in front of a camera and put on the best performance, you learn real quick that practice and hard work will have you doing it one, two, or three times and no more.
It can be exhausting to start and stop playing if I mess up. It becomes important to practice consistently and fix any spots that need to be worked on.
Now you don’t have to record and upload your videos, you can just simply use it as a way of performing. You can pretend that the audience is there and they are watching you play at that moment.
This is the time to put on your best performance.
PLAY IN FRONT OF FRIENDS AND FAMILY
Playing in front of family and friends is something that I have done many times. This is to ease my nerves and tighten up where I am slacking in my playing and performing. If I notice I am getting nervous, this is a good area to look into and fix.
This could be just repeating several times what you are going to say or repeating many times the first few notes you will be playing. You will find that once you play in front of people that you know and trust it will be a tad bit easier in front of strangers.
We tend to be our own worst critics when it comes to playing and performing. There have been many times where I’ve said in my head I have to mess up a couple of times or else this isn’t real and I couldn’t possibly be playing right. This is a negative mentality and your hard work and dedication should not let you think like this.
Rather than being on stage thinking my playing stinks or I messed up that note, just think about playing the song to the best of your ability at that moment.
It does help to look out into the audience and see how the crowd is reacting. It can be very encouraging if they are having a good time. If they look bored or not interested, find a way to make it so they will want to hear you play.
This can be through getting on a mic and hyping the audience up or making exaggerated movements while you are playing to get the crowd going.
PRACTICE YOUR FAVORITE SONGS
When we listen to our favorite music and practice our favorite songs we get hyped and really into it. This is a great way to get you comfortable performing and letting go of being stiff and rigid while playing.
Playing should be a fun and cathartic experience. If you feel as if it is a chore or you are so drained from (or thinking about it) you need to take a step back and ask yourself why.
Are you passionate about the music you are playing?
Are there things going on in your life preventing you from enjoying playing?
What motivates you to play?
These are just a couple of questions to ask yourself but evaluate why you play.
There are many more ways to make you less nervous and excited to be on stage.
These are just a few that through playing I have found to help.
Let me know in the comments below if you follow any of these tips!