You've spent hours in the rehearsal room honing every song to perfection. Your lyrics are nailed, your chords are golden, and your playing is brilliance. And now it's time to bring it all to the stage – to thrill old fans and make new ones alike. But stagecraft is a lot different from the rehearsal room, and at times, a little harder to navigate. Here are five tips for stage performance.
Before you play a show, familiarize yourself with the space and its particulars. If you're part of a group that does dress rehearsals pre-show, ask the venue if you can do yours in its halls – this way, you can identify any potential problems or issues that need to be addressed at the performance, such as sound amplification or group arrangement. At the very least, show up in enough advance prior to the gig that you can check things out.
Use Space Wisely
If you have a lot of instruments, a lot of band members, or it's a big bill, make sure you're utilizing the space wisely. Work with the other bands present to load the stage appropriately so you can have room to move around and get equipment off the stage easily once your set is finished. Don't compete for space with other bands – a cooperative effort will make for a better show. Amongst the members of your act, get on the stage and decide where everyone will stand – and make sure no one's going to be tripping over each other or whacking each other with their instruments!
Balance Your Sound
Make sure your sound tech is well-versed with balancing different areas of sound and monitor it carefully – otherwise, it will sound like a wall of mud. If you're a classical act, ensure that the quieter instruments are amplified appropriately so that they're not drowned out by louder instruments – for example, flutes and guitars may need to be amplified, while brass and piano very likely won't need it. Use amplification sparingly but wisely to ensure a well-balanced sound.
Clean It Up
Before you get on stage, make things look nice – it should be inviting to those who will be playing on it and exciting to those who are viewing the performance. Pick up any trash or detritus that might be lurking around, and make sure any tripping hazards are moved off the stage or well out of the way. As they say, looking good is half the battle – and that's just as true of the stage as of the musicians themselves.
During a performance, don't hesitate to speak up to the sound tech if something doesn't sound right to your ear, and ask them to adjust. It's also totally okay to ask the audience if everything sounds good to them – they might give you some good feedback, like the vocalist being too quiet or the guitars being too loud, and in turn the tech can use that feedback to adjust the sound accordingly.
Whether this is your first gig or your hundredth, all of these tips will help you ensure that your show goes smoothly – cutting down on stress and leaving you with more energy to keep wowing your fans.