3 Tips to Keep in Mind When You Perform Publicly
By John Newcomb
Most people are terrified of performing in front of an audience. What we call “stage phobia” is perhaps one of the most prevalent fears that a lot of us have suffered from at one point of time (and most still continue to). We can sing, dance, act, or play a music instrument effortlessly when we are alone or in the company of a few strangers. But when we are asked to do the same in front of a large crowd, most of us tend to panic and perform well below our skill level.
If you’ve ever found yourself in a situation when you’ve had to play a musical instrument, sing, dance, or act before a crowd only to have your legs freeze and your body panic, you’ll find these three tips useful in delivering a great performance the next time you’re on stage:
I know this sounds very redundant, but the amount of people who end up on stage without ever properly knowing their instrument (your voice, your guitar/piano/drums, or your feet if you dance) is simply amazing. If you’re singing a song, don’t just rehearse it once or twice; practice it dozens of times until it feels like second nature. The number of hours you put into your daily practice is what separates the professionals from the amateurs.
2. Never, ever back up.
If you miss or mess up a section of a song, or if your voice falters at a crucial chorus, don’t ever back up and try and correct your mistake. The first rule of performing on stage is to keep going on, no matter what. You might have seen online videos of professional musicians performing ever after slipping on stage and falling down. Being able to pick up and continue after a mistake is a key trait of professional performers, and one that you must try and pick up.
3. Don’t be obsessed with your technique.
Face it: some of your notes won’t sound that well, you will hit the wrong key at some point in your song, and your voice might falter at some point. Many times, a mistake while playing can make your performance appear more authentic and genuine. What’s important is to see how your performance appeared as a whole: was it a string of mistakes punctuated by a few bright moments, or was it the other way around? If it was the former, then you might want to concentrate more on your technique when you practice. If it was the latter, you are doing quite fine and shouldn’t obsess over how technically proficient you appear.
Essentially, the more you play in front of people, the more comfortable you will become. Don’t expect your first public performance to be a knockout. Give yourself time, and you will soon find that playing in front of others will start coming almost naturally to you.