3 Steps to being a better performance.
I have been performing ever since I was 12. I was a member of national youth theatre. Appeared in local shows, plays, school productions. I then discovered music and spent several years as a full time singer/ guitarist, then gave it all up and became a full time close up magician. Now I do both, and love all that I get to share with others. I have studied performance and performers for well over half my life it is something I am passionate about.
So I have been giving it some thought recently and have come up with my top 3 tips to help you be a better performer.
There are of course more, but let's just start with 3, and as you put these in to action, notice the improvement you can discover more ways by visiting the blog or messaging me.
STEP 1 - It's Not About You.
Remember that I am talking about performance here. In which case it really is not about you. There are so many self indulgent musicians and singers. This is not to say they are not good musicians, but lowsy performers. It is all about the ego stroke, the expectancy to be adored. Look at me, I am great, love me.....
The fact is that to be a great performer it cannot be about you. It has to be about your audience, about doing whatever it takes to make sure your audience go away not just satisfied, but feeling that they have shared something with you. An experience in which the audience are most important.
Think about it. If you are a solo singer and you turn up at a venue with 200 people and play well, engage and perform, you all go home having had a great night. Now imagine you do not turn up, those 200 people will be able to get on with having a great night, and by the end of it will not be that bothered that the music did not arrive. Now reverse it, You turn up but your audience does not. You have an empty room. IT does not matter how well you perform, sing or do whatever you do, if you are paying to an empty room you will go home disappointed. Your audience do not need you, you on the other hand need them. So it is not about you!
Step 2 - Engagement.
There is nothing more dull than watching a band play to themselves, or a solo performer completely self absorbed.
We expect it of maybe a classical recital, but when it comes to good old rock and roll, or folk or whatever genre you play people want to connect with you.
Look around the room when you perform, make eye contact. If it is a big venue make sure you look to the back of the room, if there is tiered seating engage the levels.
DO NOT JUST INTRODUCE EVERY SONG. It is so boring, like a magician telling you how the trick will end before they start. Introduce one or two, but the element of surprise is a wonderful thing. People like to chat and say what is this called, who did this first etc. The time between songs should be used to have a conversation with your audience, take them on a journey, something other than list a load of songs. Tell Jokes, do something other than tell us that Brown Eyed Girl was written by Van Morrison.
I used to go watch a friend of mine in a due called Rumpus, they did covers and performed all over the place. They got up to all sorts of antics, climbing on tables to do the songs, funny hats, costumes and a wonderful line of banter with the audience. It was a show, not a recital, think show and you will grow in popularity. Watch street performers for an idea of bantering with the audience and watch the great performers, they entertain, they do not just expect to be liked because they wrote a pretty song.
Step 3- Be Confident
Not arrogant, not full of yourself but confident. You do not have to be the worlds greatest singer, musician or performer. However, of you put these 3 steps into action you will start to develop a greater following.
Confidence comes one way and one way only. Practice and to quote my friend magician Jeff McBride "Flight Time." Flight time is the hours you put in doing real world performance. Which when you start off you should go for every opportunity you get. There are many, free gigs, open mic sessions, local events, Jam sessions.
Like I said, you do not have to be the best in the world, you just have to be the best at being you. You can study the body language of those confident performers that you admire, practice holding those postures, walk onto a stage as if you were them. Your mind is affected by posture, if you stand all nervous and closed you will not connect with your audience. If you stand confidently, even if on the inside you are bricking it, your audience will like you more and you will step into that confidence.
When I wear my other hat of hypnotist & mind coach I often work with people who want to develop more confidence, overcome stage fright and improve there overall performance. It is amazing how just little things like mind rehearsing a show, learning to move and stand confidently help improve the overall quality of the show. If you are someone who struggles with stage fright then this can be a little bit more challenging, however with hypnosis you can overcome this easily and really start to be confident and enjoy your performance even more.
So in conclusion. To be a better performer make your shows about your audience, about wanting them to have the very best of times. Achieve this by engaging with them, be part of the crowd, do not put yourself on some distant pedestal and practice real world and rehearsal, develop a quite, approachable confidence. And finally, do what you do with love and passion. Sometimes we want to and things like stage fright can get in the way, or our confidence needs a bit of coaching. In those moments invest in yourself, get the help you need and become the amazing performer that I know you can be.