Playing guitar in the comfort of your own home can be a relaxing and rewarding experience. But if you're looking to upskill beyond the praise of your Youtube fans and family pets, it might be time to start thinking about performing in front of a live audience.
Making the transition from the comfort of your home studio to the public stage can be intimidating enough to make you want to crawl under your bed, but with a bit of preparation and practice, you can become a confident and engaging performer. Here are some tips to get you started:
Start small: One of the best ways to get comfortable performing in front of others is to take an incremental approach. Look for local open mic nights, parties, church functions or join a group already playing small venues. Finding low-pressure opportunities where you can perform in front of small, supportive audiences will help you build your confidence over time.
- Become a student of live performances: Take every opportunity to watch other performers in different settings and take note of what connects with audiences. Try to think about how you might develop your own stage presence and when possible, record and observe your own live performances.
- Be genuine: It’s OK to be exactly wherever you are in your journey as an artist. Don’t try to “fake it until you make it” - just be yourself. Make eye contact with audience members, smile, and project confidence in who you are. Live performances are one of the most genuine ways to build trust and rapport with your fans; don’t be afraid to let them know the real you.
- Practice being prepared: It goes without saying that you need to rehearse and practice your sets to be more confident. But you should also make sure you have all the equipment you need for your performance, including the appropriate amplification, cables, and power support. And then, practice setting up and breaking down your gear so that you're comfortable doing it quickly and efficiently. You never know when you might get a call for a last-minute gig.
- Network: Making connections with other musicians and industry professionals can be key to advancing your career as a performer. After your performance, stick around to chat with other musicians and introduce yourself to people in the audience. You never know where these connections might lead, and they can often open up new opportunities for session work, collaborations, and life-long friendships.
Once you summon the courage to step off the shag carpet and onto the stage, there’s no turning back. Most musicians would tell you that nothing compares to the energy and satisfaction of playing in a live setting. Playing live will upskill your playing faster than you thought possible, and challenge you to expand your song repertoire.
Share your own tips and thoughts with us.