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How to give better live performances 🎸 (for the D.I.Y. Rock Star)

Loosely, Gab & Jam, episode 219. How to give better live performances 🎸

Not only is this a topic requested by members of our Facebook community, Be the Next D.I.Y. Rock Star, but it is a common concern for entertainers of ALL kinds, so that’s one reason we decided to talk about it. We hope to offer a slightly different approach.

Loosely, Gab & Jam, episode 219. How to give better live performances 🎸

It goes without saying that some of these principles are ripped straight from the standard playbook of how to give better presentations period, but there are some strategies that are unique to D.I.Y. Rock Stars of all kinds, so stay tuned for that. Some of these strategies won’t really surprise you, but since according to a recent statistic, 75% of people in the world fear public speaking MORE than death ( ), we thought we’d compile them anyway.


What we realize is the fear of performance is likely even higher if you’re trying to entertain folks. But these strategies will help.

1. Prepare as much as possible.

  • Have a rough plan of how you want things to go.

  • Get as much sleep as you can.

  • Eat enough, so that you aren’t starving, but not so much that you get an upset stomach.

  • Choose an outfit that is comfortable enough, but that showcases your brand—since MIGHT be your first impression and last impression).

  • Prepare that rock Star entrance. When I took a class at Detroit Institute of Music Education on performing, my instructor said stride into the stage, grab—or adjust—the mic, and boldly introduce yourself. She said that this was the FIRST important step to bringing the audience into your world. And that if you don’t do that, it becomes more difficult to connect with them. They need to know that you mean business, but that you are a human, so that they are drawn into you BEFORE you sing a note.

2. Recover quickly. Never apologize when things go wrong.

  • You can’t be “perfect,” but you CAN be memorable, but not for the WRONG things (like puking or passing out). People are more forgiving than you think, but ONLY if you don’t dwell there. It undercuts your credibility, if you don’t just proceed and usually acknowledging it only makes you less confident. Instead, just take a deep breath and continue on. If you are performing, you can even go as far as to start the song again and if you’re more matter of fact about it and let it roll off you, no one will hold it against you. However, if you can’t get past the idea that you’re not doing “perfectly,” you are LIKELY to torpedo the rest of your performance. You’re human, you’re GOING to mess up sometimes, so learn to recover quickly.

3. Start small, but practice as often as you can.

  • For speakers, I have heard that your local rotary club is the place to start. But for performers, start with open mics and livestreams. The more often you put yourself into those awkward positions that you want to know how to do better in, the more you will figure out your own personal style and methods for reading the room and pivoting, if necessary. As people who do public speaking and performances regularly, we know that the ONLY way you will figure out what works for you is to keep doing it and to keep trying things, so start small, so that you are ready when the BIG opportunity comes.


Additional tips from a vocalist peer, Sherelle Cary Smith, Shambrusky Music:

  • I do have a few tips. First with stage-fright: Let that adrenaline work in your favor. Your tip of being prepared was excellent! If you can hit that first note of that first song right (vocalist or musician), you can make it through the show...and it is a show. I was taught that your first song and your last song should be your best songs. Whatever flavor you are trying to put out, let your first song represent that. Grab their attention from the word go. Pull them in for the journey. Practice hitting the intro song correctly. It will help your nerves.

  • I loved the advice about preparing before the concert. Right on the money. Warm up your vocal chords and/or your fingers in advance. Warm tea and honey is excellent to soothe the throat for vocalists. Try to keep your voice calm beforehand. Many people even limit their conversation. Don't eat right before the show either unless it's something very light. Also hydrate.

  • You have to be prepared mentally as well. You actually take on a different persona when you step onto a stage. You get your adrenaline pumping as a band or artist on purpose. It's like the locker room pump up before the big game.

  • Lastly, once you're up there, enjoy yourself. Be on point, but enjoy yourself. Being prepared makes that an easier task. Get satisfaction from singing or performing your music. The audience can see and tap into it when you do.

Well, this is a really large, scary topic for MANY people, but we hope that, if you implement even ONE of these tips the next time you need to perform in front of people, you will do better.

What tips can you add to help people feel more confident when performing? We’d love to hear about it.

We’re going to South By Southwest in LESS than a month! Here’s our playlist from last time:

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· Funky Happy People (Who Listen to a Variety of Genres of Music) Facebook Group:

· Be the Next D.I.Y. Rock Star Facebook Group:




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