By Miguel Andoor
Learning proper singing technique is of course vital to your success as a performer. However, more important than this is the sense of your core, and your empathy with others — in short,your humanity. Without these traits, a performer cannot hold an audience’s interest, let alone captivate an audience. How do you develop these traits?
Be a social creature. Mix with people and nature, and realize that you are a member of both groups. When constantly engaged in a dialog with your fellow humans, you will recognize the essence of a great singer; it is the same as the essence of a great human being.
To develop this recognition, simply meet and greet people with warmth every chance you get. Greeting audience members before or after a performance is a good start. There are opportunities throughout your off-stage life for you to do this, also. Consider that even though you may be in a checkout line in a supermarket, or eating a meal in a Chinese restaurant, you’re still on stage and still performing. The personas we unconsciously don when we interact with the external world can help us connect with others, or distance us from others. The choice is yours. Decide to connect, and you’ll discover resources that penetrate your persona. These resources can only help your singing.
Recognize that you are your first audience, and critic. You may not be your best audience or critic, but you can develop greater objectivity about how you sound. First, identify what it is about your singing that you like. Are there particular songs, or songs by a particular composer that make you value your singing more? Conversely, are there songs you sing that make you cringe at the sound of your voice? Write these distinctions down, and find patterns in them to help you discover what exactly it is you like best about your voice.Continue reading Captivating An Audience
How do you determine the right volume for practice and gigging?
This can be a difficult, and sometimes contentious, problem. Different band members may have different opinions (desires, requests, demands), and audience members are no different.
Some solutions that can be attempted are:
- talking to the other band members (Hey! it could work … or not)
- individual monitors and monitor mixes
- in-ear monitors or headphones
Some of these solutions will work for problems with the audience as well. However, in any audience you are always going to have some who want it louder and some who think you’re already too loud!
… and we all know how annoying that can be.
Here is a question and answer webpage with some more comments and ideas: Musical Practice and Performing.
When you are starting out as a musician, or even when you’ve been at it for a long time, there are questions that are specific to independent musicians.
Some of these questions may be related to making a living as a musician, or they may be about how to become a better or more successful musician.
You may be wondering how much money you might eventually make, or what your lifestyle will be like. Do you need a back-up plan? How do you make the connections to get the gigs you want?
If you already an established musician, whether locally, regionally, or nationally, you may find yourself being interviewed and asked questions about what it’s like to be a musician.
Here, from an article on grassrootsy.com, are a few of the questions and answers.
What skills/personal attributes are most important to being successful?
Most importantly, you need to be a good business person. There are so many talented artists out there, but not very many of them know how to make a living off of their talent.
So the most important aspect of being an musician – an independent one – is knowing how to book shows, capitalize on opportunities, be assertive, and ascribe value to your work, so much so that people want to invest in what you have to offer.
You also need to be extremely flexible and have an easy time engaging with different groups and types of people.
It’s common for musicians to be out of work for long periods of time. How can you supplement this time without work? How can you transition out of this period as quickly as possible?
I think when you’re first starting out, you might not have as many performances. It will take a while for people to get to know who you are. But eventually it shouldn’t be hard too find work. People are always in need of entertainment for their events.
The real question is, are these good jobs that can help you pay your bills? Sometimes they are. Sometimes they’re not. When you’re out of music work, it’s extremely important to fall back on your other skills.
This is why I highly recommend going to college and having another skill. I have many friends who are graphic designers, photographers, and videographers. They do other flexible types of jobs to help them subsidize their music career. And these are all great skills for a musician to have.
What are typical mistakes people make when trying to pursue this career?
They are selfish. They only look out for themselves and what they want. The more you get to meet, share, and collaborate with others, the better your experience will be.
For the person who just wants to “get ahead”, they can often feel threatened when others come into the picture as “competition”. But I think if we could operate off of a framework where one artist helps another, then everyone would succeed.
They compare: I strongly feel like more artists need to spend less time looking at what others are doing.
Stop acting like we’re in a competition. If you set your own trajectory then you will be right on schedule. Stop comparing and just do what you do.
A large percentage of musicians experience stage fright, before or during almost every performance. Is this necessarily a bad thing?
If you can use the nervous energy to get that extra “edge” to your performance, it can be a good thing.
In fact, a certain amount of anxiety may be necessary for you to get into “the zone” where everything just clicks for you and your performance. Without that extra kick, your performance may just be flat and uninspired.
If, on the other hand, stage fright overwhelms you and causes you to freeze up, it can be devastating for your performance.
Here are some more tips for overcoming performance anxiety.
The 9 Keys to Becoming the Best That You Can Be
Nine different ways, to be specific:
Preparation: Learn how to practice the right way
Manage energy: Learn how to control your body’s response to adrenaline
Confidence: Learn how to build confidence
Courage: Learn how to play courageously (vs. playing tentatively and worrying about mistakes)
Concentration: Learn how to slow down and regain control of your mind – even under pressure
Focus: Learn how to quiet the mind, focus past distractions, and stay in the moment
Resilience: Learn how to recover quickly from mistakes (so you don’t make even more mistakes)
Determination: Learn how to keep yourself motivated and relentlessly pursue your goals
X-Factor Learn to unlock that something special, that je ne sais quois that makes all the difference in the world
Check out the original article for more on the causes and cures for stage fright.
Thinking of going out as a solo musician? There are lots of reasons to do so, even if you are already in, or plan to be in, a band.
It can (sometimes) be easier to get (and keep) gigs, plus you don’t have to split the money into multiple tiny pieces. You also don’t have to worry about band members who don’t show up, are difficult to deal with, or can’t remember how to play the songs you rehearsed.
Here are a few more tips from an article on the website bandsonabudget.com:
-Take yourself seriously. If you don’t take yourself seriously because you’re a solo musician and not in a band, you should probably stop now. Less is more sometimes, and a one person performance can certainly be EPIC if not more epic than a full band performance. People are used to seeing rock bands play, and they’re use to seeing boring acoustic gigs as well. Make sure you take it up a notch. Play with heart, and deliver. This leads us to…
-Practice. Why do you need to practice? It’s only you, right? Well, there’s a million of you. No matter how good your songs are, it’s going to take a little something extra to get people to really pay attention. Know your setlist front to back. Try not to wing it. Fluidity, professionalism, and a well tuned guitar are all going to make room for your personality onstage. If you’re nervous and fumbling, it’s going to be obvious almost immediately. Practice in the mirror if you have to. Close your eyes if you have to. Just get INTO IT. Believe what you are saying, and others will believe you as well.
-Sell merch. Don’t spend a ton of money, but remember lots of people buy merch for lots of different reasons. The venue crowd is going to want to see an incredibly convicting, emotional gig to be convinced. The coffeehouse crowd is likely to support you just because you came out, and you’re busting your ass on the road (hopefully they’re buying it for the right reasons, but unfortunately there’s no way for you to know so swallow your pride and stop caring about it, now). Merch will help you look professional and together. Since you’re probably traveling with less, set it up in a suitcase or something compact and fun. It lets people know you showed up for a reason- to spread the word about your music.
-Don’t be afraid to let people know you need money for gas because, well, you do. If you’re cool with a tip jar, do it. Depending on the setting, it may or may not work. If you’re on a legit stage, don’t. Save this for more intimate performances. Making people aware that you HAVE merchandise that you NEED to sell isn’t always a bad thing, just make sure you’ve gained the trust of the audience already… or, just make sure it’s not the first thing you say when you get up onstage.
For more of the article, go to bandsonabudget.com