Tips for improving stage presence
Having good stage presence can often be something that sets your performance out from the rest. Therefore knowing ways of improving stage presence can be invaluable. It’s not only about how to sing the song; it’s also about how you perform the song.
Improving stage presence | Engaging your audience
The main aim of a performer at a gig is to get the crowd to return the energy you give. This means that the performer works with the crowd to enjoy every moment of the show. Hopefully, they will want to come back to watch you again.
Engaging with an audience can be difficult. When musicians or bands first put themselves out there, they need to make a name for themselves. This can be among people in your hometown and eventually record executives at labels.
Getting your name out there is part of why you want to perform in the first place. The better you are at performing, the more you can do it. Getting people to a gig enables a musician or band to keep on performing.
If you are nervous and have never before performed live there are a few things that you can do to calm those nerves.
Firstly, consider taking a few drama lessons. These will help build your confidence which is what you need. According to this article, studying drama can have a big impact on self-esteem.
Stage presence as a performer
Stage presence is incredibly important when engaging with your audience. It shows what kind of musician you are and how you interact with the music that your performing. You set the tone for the audience and they will feed off the energy you give.
Vary the pace and dynamic of a gig. Audiences will be responsive to your stage presence if you go from being energetic and fast-paced to something more calming. Keep the audience on their toes the whole time and don’t let them know what’s coming. If you can project this as a musician or as a band then you are going to have a responsive and engaged audience at your show.
People want to be surprised at gigs by how good the music is as well as by the atmosphere. If you can create an atmosphere as a musician then audience engagement will come easy for you. Show the audience with your music and your voice and your presence on stage how you want them to feel.
If you are playing a sad song and want them to feel a certain sadness, explain the story behind the song before you play it, therefore they can really get into the right frame of mind and enjoy it even more.
Crowd interaction ideas
Make sure your voice carries to the back of a room so that you entice all audience members. There might be some people that are at the back because they are too nervous to be at the front. In this case make sure that your voice reaches all audience members, not by shouting, but by projection. This way everyone feels a part of the magic that is going on onstage.
Another part of getting the audience to engage with you is to learn and change what you feel is not working. For example, the audience may get bored if you are talking too much between songs. Or you might not be talking enough. Don’t be afraid to change your game plan from one set to another. Have a few tricks up your sleeve to ensure that you can change your stage persona according to how the gig is going.
The key to creating good stage presence all starts with confidence. Playing live can be a daunting task. There are lots of things happening such as:
- Feeling a mixture of emotions, including nervousness and excitement.
- Having to remember lyrics and chords
- Being un-phased by technical glitches
- Bright lights making it hard to see
Remember, practice makes perfect so perform as many times as possible!
Watch as many live and performances (or second to that recorded performances) as possible. Look out for the impression you get from the artists, how the musicians interact with each other and the audience and how appropriate their stage presence is with the genre of music.
Learn your song
It helps to know your songs inside and out when developing your stage presence. If you are not 100% in knowing the words, phrasing and the way you wish to sing your song, under pressure this may come under strain and you are concentrating on those aspects rather than others. If you manage to get through a song with only minor mistakes it will make your confidence grow. Try performing the song at home in the following ways:
- With your eyes open
- With your eyes closed
- Moving around
- Laying down
This helps so that when you’re performing, creating a good stage presence comes more naturally. Doing this will help you with quick recovery if something goes wrong and that’s an invaluable skill.
Improving stage presence
Building your stage presence can involve moving around on stage. If you can master the act of grooving to your tunes, you will go down a lot better with the audience. Make sure it is appropriate though. The whole idea of creating stage presence is for it to be fitting and come across natural. Don’t go headbanging to an acoustic ballad or stand completely still on a metal number.
Creating a stage presence is also about communicating well with other members of your performance and the audience.
- Look random audience members in the eyes
- Sing along with your other act members
- Eye contact and facial impression
This will help you forget about the nerves beforehand and people will recognise that you’re creating a good stage presence. Believe in your songs and the audience will too. You’ll make them feel special if you communicate strongly.
Find a spot above the audience, if you can’t look directly at them, such as on the lighting desk to create somewhere for you to look rather than at your feet. The audience will think you’re looking at them.
Try to record videos of your own performance
You may think that you are creating a good stage presence but the only way to tell is to watch yourself. You can then see it from the audience’s point of view which may be uncomfortable in the beginning. However, it is also critical in seeing how to improve.
Relax and enjoy yourself
Creating stage presence is possible by following the above hints and tips but it is really about having fun. The audience can tell if you’re having a good time and it will pay off. Be confident in your abilities, laugh off the glitches, move around but above all, have fun!
Tips on using the singing stage during a performance
Being a performer is more than just being able to go out in a live setting and sing, it’s about using the singing stage in the most appropriate and effective way. Read on to find out how.
Keep an eye on the atmosphere
Bear in mind when using the singing stage, that the bigger the stage, the more room to play with and what would have seemed atmospheric on a little stage may need more work here. During shows look at how other acts are using the singing stage, watching a variety of acts you can see the atmosphere amongst the audience and how it can change rapidly. Make sure your performance encompasses what your song is all about.
The singing stage
Analyse the singing stage during soundcheck or by watching other acts. Think about where the best spots to walk to and from will be or where the most dramatic spot for your final note will be.
Type of song chosen will affect how you use the stage
If you’re singing a love song, look into the audience’s eyes, move slowly across the stage and really bring the atmosphere into that room. If a dance or urban song then you need to be strong visually and perhaps best to incorporate routines and have other performers using the stage with you. This is key to learning about using the stage.
To stand or to sit?
Both standing and sitting on the singing stage both have their benefits. Sitting is well used in a more intimate setting, perhaps during open mic events however be aware that you will have to compensate for not moving with facial expressions, hand gestures and eye contact. Standing gives you the freedom to move wherever you like and is a more open style of performing.
Keep your hands busy. It is a common mistake for singers to just hold their hands by their sides or in their pockets where they are least effective. Some techniques to implement include:
- Clench your fists
- Swap the microphone between hands
- Move the microphone stand
Body language is just as important, if not more so, as the ability to sing. Imagine watching a singer go on stage and stare at their feet as they sing their songs without moving once. They wouldn’t be using the singing stage in the slightest. Body language is a tool in which you can convey the song to the audience. It can be as small as waving at a fan in the front row or running across the stage from side to side. On that note, always be spatially aware of where you are moving and make sure it’s appropriate.
Steal moves from the big guys
Go ahead; no one is going to fault you if you take some pointers from well-known singers. Don’t copy one person, and don’t copy their whole routine just adapt little bits from here and there. Take stage tips that you feel you can accommodate in your personality as an act and appropriate to the emotions of the song. Take the bits that you enjoy the most and make them your own. Eventually, after seeing how comfortable they are doing “crazy” stuff whilst using the singing stage, you’ll feel more comfortable in your body doing your own stage moves.
Utilise all areas whilst using the singing stage which in turn will help you connect with the most audience members. Don’t feel like you have to stay in the centre, give it a go reaching out for the people top right!