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Live Music

What Are The Best Tips For Performing Live?

Photograph of the blog post author, Georgia Carter

Georgia Carter

13.12.2022

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We all crave to be a live performer as a musician but what is the best way to nail that live show and really get the crowd behind you? As an artist, you want the fans to be singing your lyrics back at you and having a good time, so how do you do this exactly? We are here to give you the lowdown on how to start performing live and give the best live musical performance of your life, but also how to keep that consistency too. Let’s get into it!

Rehearse!

This may sound like the most obvious piece of advice we can give you, but practice makes perfect and the more you rehearse you can really iron out the kinks in your performance and see what works and what doesn’t. And of course you get to do the thing you love, so it’s a win- win in my books. Use the time wisely and do a complete run-through so you can time it as well. Which are your best songs and which work well together for a set-list? 

Spend that time in your studio, garage – wherever that may be – to really get to know your songs and you may in turn find new rhythms that you had never thought of before. 

Sound check is key 

Once again, it’s simple, but you need to make sure that you do a sound and line check. Even if you have limited time, every musician needs to hear what they sound like before the performance on stage. You do want to sound your best when performing live to an audience, so take the time to do this and then when it comes to the actual show, you have the confidence to go for it. If you have a sound guy during the performance who can tell you if you are being too loud, this is very helpful too. Don’t stand too close to the mic, as it will affect the quality of your sound. 

Really engage with your audience

If you want to start playing live shows or certainly get more of them, having a connection with your audience is going to be a game changer. You perform for your audience, your fans, so make sure they are the most important thing when you’re on stage. They have come to see you, so play your best and really give them a live performance they won’t forget. Your performance on stage may inspire them to take on their own music career or it might even help initiate a relationship. Live music will effectively allow you to hone in you craft and even though streaming is a great way to make some money, nothing beats a live show when you can see your fans right there in front of you, engaging with you. So yes, remember to thank them for coming out to see you too, give them back a part of you and they will be grateful. Eye contact is essential too. 

Don’t get boozed up

A little bit of booze is ok before going on stage, but getting drunk pre-performance and on stage is not the way to go. Your audience will not look favorably on you for this and it is not professional at all. They have come to see you perform so leave the drinks until after the show, when you can really celebrate and paint the town red if you really want to. You’ll have deserved it! I know that drink and gigs are synonymous, and there are artists who maybe have something before the live show, but I would suggest keeping the booze at bay until after you sing your final track. 

Warm up before you go on stage

Warming up as a band or solo artist is essential and as a live performer, you need to make sure this is part of your set. No singer, dancer or actor would go on stage without a proper warm up, so why not incorporate it into your routine? This means that you will be playing live shows at a better standard knowing your voice is in good condition before you go on. We have also written an article about what kind of diet should be followed as a singer, so please do look this up. It has some great advice about the types of food and drink you should be consuming before performing or just in general. 

Warm ups for singers could include; yawning & sighing, loosening the jaw, sirens, lip trills, humming, tongue trills, tongue twisters – to name a few. The more you do these before going on stage, the better your performance will be. 

And if you are looking for warm ups for a band, then you can always try things like jumping jacks, stretching. 

What about some four-finger warm-ups or chord warm-ups? 

Four-Finger warm-ups

The exercise loosens up your (four) fret-hand fingers. Ensuring you start slowly, this will mean the music is played correctly. And then you can increase the beat as the piece progresses. The control over your pace is what you will be rehearsing here and getting you ready for that live performance. 

Chord warm-ups

For any guitarist, knowing some rhythmic chord exercises will help you gain more depth of sound and variance in the piece you are trying to play. It will allow you to improvise if needed in the live performance and you will feel more relaxed on stage. 

Don’t stop mid-show

So you have performed 4 songs and you feel like you need a breather, or you have made a mistake, the worst thing you can do is stop mid-show. The best advice we can give is to have some water nearby on stage and in between the songs, maybe take time to talk to your audience. So you can have a little breather before you go on with your next song. Also, you need to make sure that you are the most interesting person/band in that time, so make it count and keep going. Stamina is everything in this industry and you will find that with more live gigs you do, it will be easier and to also hold people’s attention. 

Also, if you stop mid-show – unless it is completely necessary due to technical issues – will break the momentum of the performance. 

Chat to audience between songs

I have briefly mentioned this before, but I love it when the artist has a little chat with their audience between songs, and as a way to keep it light if they need to change instruments etc. It is another way for the fans to get to know the musician and build a rapport. Being natural and also being able to deliver a cracking live performance is something every musician wants to achieve. You are performing to a crowd of people, so talk to them and really engage on a personable level. Your body language and even stage banter will work wonders to cultivate that connection between you and the audience. It will ultimately improve your stage presence and you will be booking more music gigs if your fans like you. Keep that audience engaged at all times. It’s imperative. 

Learn to manage interruptions 

These may be during the live performance or pre-show when you are warming up and doing your sound check. Life throws you many interruptions and it is your responsibility to take them as they come and keep going. You may have a crowd who are misbehaving – hopefully not – or a technical issue that takes a while to be fixed. Keep performing, keep them happy and engaged if you have to stall the live gig for some time. As a performing artist in the music industry, if you really love performing, you will find ways to overcome any interruptions. Also, as an emerging artist, there may be times when you are performing to a smaller crowd than you would have liked – maybe there are some hecklers – and they may not be 100% engaged with your live performance but keep playing anyway as it is something you feel passionately about. Your time will come when you are playing to thousands, you just have to keep at it. 

Think about your venue choice 

Really think about where you are choosing to perform and does it have a good reputation? Are the venue managers, staff friendly and who has performed there before? This will give you a good idea of the demographic of the audience and whether or not you may choose to play there again. Maybe go to a gig there yourself to get a feel for the vibe of the venue first.

I would say that for any emerging artists, it is best to perform anywhere as you are making your way in the music industry but maybe further along the line, you can be a bit more choosy with your venues. There are plenty of great ones around London and further afield, so you are really spoilt for choice as a live performer. 

Closing Thoughts

So whether you are an emerging artist and trying to get more gigs or more of an established band who have done so many gigs you have lost count, these tips will come in handy for you. I hope that you will be booking many live gigs and your adoring fans will be wanting more and more! Remember to enjoy the performance and just let loose, be yourself and nothing can really go wrong. Here’s to your next gig! 


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