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So, you have a show coming up. There are lots of things on your mind. What should you focus your attention on? Most importantly, ‘prepping’ the music will be the first thing you address. Next, you must prep your mind and body for the rigorous challenge of meeting the audience’s standards. This leads us to the final challenge of prepping the audience.

Hoping that the music is written and structured properly, with good musicians it shouldn’t take long to get the songs together. As the songs have become more familiarized by the band, run the set from beginning to end. This will not only help build cohesion amongst band members, but it will also help the on-stage flow of the music. It is normal for a couple of songs to stick out as ‘sore thumbs’, where something doesn’t seem right, or the energy doesn’t seem as high as it does in the rest of the set. With dischord kept to a minimum, hit those songs where they need it the most. Usually transitions between different parts of the songs are the roughest at first. As a vocalist, never forget that your vocals are your primary instrument. While everyone in the band will work on these songs individually at some point, it’s up to you to be as familiar and comfortable with the melody and lyrics of the songs as you can possibly be. While rehearsing with the band, never be afraid to try some inflections and some tasteful runs. This being said, always make sure you ‘sing for the song’. Sometimes taking out a word or a certain note can dramatically enhance a song’s flow.

As a vocalist, you are usually the primary focus of the audience. This can be a double edged sword. It is normal to feel nervous and be a little stressed about something you feel heavily responsible for. Even though you are singing with people behind you, you’re still the ‘front man’. With this power comes great responsibility. Many vocalists struggle with this responsibility and take care of it in numerous ways. Lots of popular bands have turned to drugs and alcohol to help battle this responsibility. Some of the best nerve-calming remedies include practice and being comfortable with the material. This will lead to a confident stage presence and a riveting performance. Proper diet is always good, especially prior to a show. Eating a copious amount of food before a show will slow you down. On the contrary, limiting your food intake before a show will increase focus and improve stage performance. Proper hydration is also integral before a show. Too much caffeine and sugar, along with alcohol, may lead you to crash before the set is complete. Some people make the mistake of drinking too much water while on stage. This leads to a negative affect on your vocal chords by washing out some of the natural coating in your throat, which leaves your vocal cords more susceptible to long term damage.

Most people that perform live are attracted to the spotlight. While confidence and ego play an important role in this performance, there is a fine line between the two. The audience likes an air of confidence that they can relate to but not one that overrides their ego. As the audience sees you as ‘larger than life’ on stage, they too are ‘larger than life’ for witnessing what they want to think as an amazing performance. Treat your friends and audience with the utmost respect to let them know how much you appreciate their attendance. Make contact with as many fans as you personally can. Don’t sound desperate by any means, but let them know, you know, they’re there.

Chris Keller

Author Chris Keller

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