Feedback and playtime are critical to honing your skills and growing your gifts. You’ll never know how you come off or what’s working or falling flat, if nobody ever hears you.
One of the ideal teaching experiences is to book a live gig, especially if you’re playing a venue that you’re not familiar with, and in a town where you know very few people, if any at all. The opportunity to realize that ideal is often hard to come by, of course. But, whether it’s a handful or a jam-packed stadium, the more you perform in front of others, the more you grow and learn as a singer, singer-songwriter, or singing musician.
Here’s the challenge, and it’s one you must meet. You should perform live for an audience on a weekly basis, at least, even if it’s only for twenty minutes or so, and you can! There are opportunities to perform live all around you, just as you likely have at least a few handfuls of potential audience members at your disposal.
Find Your Audience
In addition to family members, there are coworkers, classmates or former classmates, and friends. There are places in the community where live music is welcomed such as nursing homes, senior citizens centers, youth group organizations, and others. Of course, there are also open-mic nights at many clubs and music venues.
If your goal is to simply have the experience of playing live and getting feedback, you can start simple and small. You can invite a group of friends, coworkers, or fellow artists to hear you play in your home, in the park, at the beach – whatever is easily accessible and comfortable for those you wish to play for.
Your weekly mini-concerts might require a audience of three to five friends or it might be a bigger event where you get together with another singer, singer-songwriter, or singing musician and pool your resources.
Imagine a block party, backyard picnic, or garage concert involving you and two or a few others. The diverse audience would include strangers along with those familiar with your work. That would help with getting feedback from people that have no preconceived notion of who you are, what you sound like, and all that falls in between.
Clip + Share
Once you’re confident, you can record performances for sites like YouTube and MySpace and then link the clips to Facebook and other social networking resources. This will help to broaden your perspective and will give you more information to sort through and process.
So what do you do with the information you gather? The first thing is to carefully consider the information and comments you receive. Then, make note of those suggestions, criticisms, and compliments that are repeated frequently. Look for related comments that come from a variety of sources and differing demographics.
Trust your instincts for follow up with any feedback you receive. It may be that you need clarification, more information, or there might be an opportunity to do some networking or get more training.
Play to Learn
The more you play out, even if it’s for a friendly, forgiving crowd, the more you will learn about how you’re perceived by others. You’ll also get a feel for any issues you need to work on such as timing, rhythm, tempo, phrasing, use of the microphone, rapport with the audience, nervous habits, as well as technique and interpretive skills. You’ll come face to face with levels of comfort and confidence that will probably need some adjustment.
But by stepping into the light and bearing your soul at the mic, you’ll discover a rising desire to spread your wings and fly. Performing live will energize and stimulate areas in you creatively that don’t always sit up to be noticed when you’re practicing by yourself. You’ll learn to sing and play in solitude as if you were performing for millions. And you’ll learn how to project and share those private vulnerable moments in front of a crowd just like you are there by yourself for each of them one on one.
Share the results of your weekly concerts with others at www.SingingSuccess.TV through our forums. Exchange clips of your performances and invite pointers from others that share your dreams and goals and passion for singing.
Indulge your weekly concerts so that your live performance becomes as natural and life-affirming as breathing. That ability to be completely vulnerable with comfort and confidence will communicate volumes in sharing the story of your singing success.