The Dos and Don’ts of Performing Live


Dos before the Performance

Practice and Rehearse

Practice and Rehearse:

One of the most important aspects of performing live is to practice and rehearse beforehand. This not only helps you to perfect your performance but also builds your confidence. Make sure to practice your setlist multiple times, paying attention to transitions between songs and any technical aspects such as sound levels or instrument tuning. Rehearsing with your band or accompanist is also crucial to ensure everyone is on the same page and the performance is cohesive. Don’t forget to also practice your stage presence and any choreography or movements you plan to incorporate into your performance. The more you practice and rehearse, the more comfortable and prepared you will feel when it’s time to take the stage.

Prepare your Equipment

Preparing your equipment is crucial to a successful live performance. Make sure you have all the necessary gear, such as instruments, microphones, cables, and amplifiers. Test everything beforehand to ensure that it is in good working condition. Bring extra batteries, strings, and other accessories in case of emergencies. Label your equipment with your name or band name to avoid confusion with other performers. Finally, pack everything securely in cases or bags to prevent damage during transportation. By taking the time to properly prepare your equipment, you can avoid technical difficulties and focus on delivering a great performance.

Stay Hydrated and Rested

Staying hydrated and well-rested is crucial for any performer, whether you’re a singer, dancer, or musician. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, dizziness, and even vocal strain, while lack of sleep can affect your energy levels and overall performance. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day and avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can dehydrate you. Additionally, try to get a good night’s sleep before your performance and take breaks as needed to rest and recharge. By taking care of your body, you’ll be able to give your best performance and connect with your audience in a meaningful way.

Dos during the Performance

Engage with the Audience

Engaging with the audience is one of the most important aspects of performing live. It’s not just about playing your music or delivering your speech, but also about connecting with the people who are there to see you. To engage with your audience, you need to be confident, approachable, and authentic. You can start by introducing yourself and your band, telling a story, or cracking a joke. You can also ask the audience questions, encourage them to sing along, or even invite them to dance. Remember, the more you engage with your audience, the more memorable your performance will be.

Be Confident and Authentic

Being confident and authentic is crucial when performing live. It’s important to remember that the audience is there to see you, and they want to feel your energy and passion. Don’t be afraid to make eye contact with the crowd and engage with them. However, it’s also important to be true to yourself and your style. Don’t try to be someone you’re not or imitate another artist. The audience can sense when someone is being fake, and it can ruin the performance. So, be confident in who you are and what you have to offer, and let your authenticity shine through in your performance.

Stay Focused and Professional

When performing live, it’s important to stay focused and professional at all times. This means avoiding distractions such as checking your phone or engaging in conversations with audience members. It’s also important to maintain a professional demeanor on stage, even if you encounter technical difficulties or other unexpected challenges. Remember that your audience is there to see you perform, and they expect a high level of professionalism from you. By staying focused and professional, you can ensure that your performance is memorable for all the right reasons.

Dos after the Performance

Thank the Audience and the Venue

After you’ve finished your performance, it’s important to take a moment to thank the audience and the venue. This not only shows your appreciation for their support, but it also helps to build a positive relationship with them. Make sure to thank the audience for coming out to see you and for their enthusiasm throughout the performance. Additionally, thank the venue for hosting you and for providing a space for you to showcase your talents. Remember to be gracious and sincere in your thanks, as it will leave a lasting impression on those who were in attendance.

Collect Feedback and Learn from Mistakes

Collecting feedback and learning from mistakes is crucial for any performer looking to improve their craft. After a live performance, it’s important to take the time to reflect on what went well and what could have been better. This can be done by asking for feedback from audience members, bandmates, or even recording the performance to watch back later. It’s important to approach feedback with an open mind and a willingness to learn and grow. Don’t take criticism personally, but instead use it as an opportunity to identify areas for improvement. By taking the time to reflect and learn from mistakes, performers can continue to grow and develop their skills, ultimately leading to better and more successful performances in the future.

Network with Other Musicians and Industry Professionals

Networking with other musicians and industry professionals is crucial for any musician looking to make a name for themselves in the music industry. Attending industry events, such as conferences and festivals, is a great way to meet other musicians and industry professionals. It’s also important to utilize social media platforms to connect with other musicians and industry professionals. Collaborating with other musicians can also help expand your fan base and increase your exposure. Remember to always be professional and respectful when networking, as your reputation can go a long way in the music industry.

Don’ts before the Performance

Procrastinate or Overthink

Procrastination and overthinking are two common pitfalls that can hinder a live performance. While it’s important to prepare and practice, it’s equally important not to overdo it. Overthinking can lead to anxiety and self-doubt, which can negatively impact your performance. On the other hand, procrastination can lead to a lack of preparation and confidence, which can also affect your performance. The key is to find a balance between preparation and relaxation. Give yourself enough time to practice and prepare, but also allow yourself to relax and trust in your abilities. Remember, the audience is there to enjoy the show, so don’t let procrastination or overthinking get in the way of giving them a great performance.

Neglect your Health or Appearance

Neglecting your health or appearance can have a negative impact on your live performance. It’s important to take care of yourself both physically and mentally to ensure that you can give your best performance. This includes getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, staying hydrated, and exercising regularly. Additionally, taking care of your appearance can boost your confidence and make you feel more comfortable on stage. This doesn’t mean you need to spend hours getting ready, but taking the time to groom yourself and wear appropriate clothing can make a big difference. Remember, your audience is there to see and hear you, so it’s important to present yourself in the best possible way.

Forget your Lyrics or Chords

Forgetting your lyrics or chords during a live performance can be a nightmare for any musician. However, it’s important to remember that mistakes happen and it’s how you handle them that counts. If you forget your lyrics, try to improvise and make up new ones on the spot. If you forget your chords, take a deep breath and try to find your way back into the song. Don’t let the mistake throw you off your game, and remember that the audience is there to enjoy the music, not judge you for a slip-up. Practice and preparation can help minimize the chances of forgetting, but if it does happen, stay calm and carry on.

Don’ts during the Performance

Get Distracted or Intoxicated

One of the biggest mistakes a performer can make is getting distracted or intoxicated before a live performance. It’s important to stay focused and clear-headed in order to give your best performance. Avoid drinking alcohol or taking drugs before going on stage, as it can impair your judgment and affect your ability to connect with the audience. Additionally, distractions such as checking your phone or engaging in conversations with others can also take away from the quality of your performance. Stay focused and present in the moment to ensure a successful live show.

Rush or Panic

Rush or Panic: It’s natural to feel a rush of adrenaline before a live performance, but it’s important not to let it turn into panic. Take a few deep breaths and remind yourself that you’ve rehearsed and prepared for this moment. If you do make a mistake, don’t dwell on it or let it throw you off course. Keep going and stay focused on the present moment. Remember, the audience is there to enjoy the show, not to judge you harshly. So, stay calm, stay focused, and enjoy the experience of performing live.

Disrespect the Audience or the Venue

One of the biggest mistakes a performer can make is disrespecting the audience or the venue. This can include using offensive language or gestures, insulting the audience, or damaging the venue. Not only is this behavior unprofessional, but it can also harm the performer’s reputation and future opportunities. It’s important to remember that the audience and venue are crucial to a successful performance, and treating them with respect can go a long way in building a positive relationship. Always be mindful of your actions and words, and strive to create a welcoming and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

Don’ts after the Performance

Leave without Cleaning up or Packing up

Leaving without cleaning up or packing up after a live performance is a big no-no. Not only is it unprofessional, but it can also cause inconvenience to the venue staff and other performers who may be using the same space after you. Always make sure to clean up your equipment, remove any trash, and pack up your gear before leaving. This shows respect for the venue and helps maintain a positive relationship with the staff. Additionally, it ensures that you are ready to move on to your next gig without any unnecessary delays or complications. Remember, leaving a clean and tidy space is not only courteous, but it also reflects positively on your professionalism as a performer.

Blame Others or Make Excuses

Blaming others or making excuses is a common mistake that performers make when things don’t go as planned during a live performance. It’s important to remember that mistakes happen, and it’s how you handle them that counts. Instead of pointing fingers or making excuses, take responsibility for your actions and focus on finding a solution. This will not only show professionalism but also help you grow as a performer. Remember, the audience is there to enjoy the show, not to hear excuses. So, take ownership of your mistakes and move on with confidence.

Miss Opportunities or Follow-ups

Miss Opportunities or Follow-ups:

One of the biggest mistakes performers make is not taking advantage of opportunities or following up after a performance. For example, if you perform at a festival or event, make sure to network with other artists, organizers, and attendees. Exchange contact information and follow up with them after the event. You never know where these connections may lead. Additionally, if you receive positive feedback or interest from someone in the industry, make sure to follow up with them and keep them updated on your progress. Don’t miss out on potential opportunities by failing to follow up or make connections.

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