Getting up on a stage to perform in front of a crowd can be a scary experience, especially if you are new to the world of live performance. So we have put together some tips to help you prepare and make your concert or gig a success!
- Make sure you have all the equipment you need.
This may sound like an obvious tip, but I have often performed in gigs where essential equipment had been forgotten, and musicians have had to come up with some inventive solutions! If you are playing in an unfamiliar venue then it is always worth checking what equipment they have; it is never a great situation trying to muddle through a performance without a PA or sound system if you were expecting to be performing with one! As simple as it may be, making a list and checking it off is always the best way to make sure you have everything you need for a particular performance, and put your mind at ease.
- Understand your audience.
This point applies to all musicians and any performance. Knowing your audience is an important part of live performance, as it allows you to choose the right styles of music for your gig. You wouldn’t want to play some soft background music at lively gig, and vice-versa would you? Obviously this is not too much of a problem if you perform in a particular genre, such as rock, and have a regular audience and venue type, but if you perform for a variety of events, such as weddings and parties, it is worth finding out exactly what music is wanted. Which leads us onto the next point…
- Choose your set list or repertoire.
Sitting down and putting the pieces you want to play in to some kind of order is always a good idea, as it allows you to prepare for the upcoming performance, and make slick changes between pieces during the actual performance. There is nothing worse than turning up to play at a venue, and not being ready for your performance, as this can worsen any pre-gig nerves you may have. Being prepared and therefore able enjoy what you are playing is one of the best parts of live performance, and picking music you love to play means you are more than likely to play it with enthusiasm and give an entertaining show!
- Stage fright is normal, and it’s OK.
Many famous musicians have suffered with stage fright, including Adele, Mariah Carey and even Pavarotti to name a few! A number of surveys have been undertaken over the years, with some quoting as many as 1 in 4 musicians suffering from some level of performance anxiety, so it is good to remember you are not the only one stressed out about playing in front of an audience! It is very likely that the stage fright will never completely go away, but you will probably adjust to it over time and control it better the more performances you do. But always remember – it is better to feel anxious than feel nothing at all, as being overly calm and confident can sometime transfer into a dull show for the audience, as the lack of adrenaline can stop you striving to give your best performance. Not something you want!
- Have fun!
Finally, and most importantly of all, just HAVE FUN! You will have likely become a musician because it is something you are passionate about and enjoy, and it can feel pretty pointless at times if you have practised for hours on end to not even have the chance to show off your talents. It is great to take up any performance opportunities that you are offered, because not only is it an opportunity to perform, but it allows you showcase you talents, and the music you have been working had to learn. The more you enjoy what you do the more positive reactions you will receive, so enjoy each performance as much as the last one!