A lot of people think that the stage performance is all about singing, while this is true for the most part but at concerts or different events, the singer has to entertain the audience even when they are not singing. During the downtime between songs, it is a good idea to incorporate stage banter into your performance, this way your audience will know you a lot better and you will get to know your audience also.
The cool things to do on stage while performing are being unique, having stage presence, knowing your audience, use your hands, dance, stage banter, compliment others, use cue cards, point, and wave, have fun and smile, and project your emotions. Even if you are a beginner singer for the first time singing on stage, as you walk upon the stage have a big smile and wave to your audience, it will make you instantly more likable.
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Most singers would give anything just to have a chance to sing on stage at least once, if you are already there then you should consider yourself as an actual singer. The stage can be a frightening place for a lot of singers, even successful singers do have a certain amount of stage fright. Once you are comfortable on stage there are a lot of cool things that you can do to connect and engage with your audience.
However, if it is your first time singing on the stage I do not recommend trying the below cool tips and tricks, as you are probably flooded with emotions, and doing several things on stage before you are ready, will probably mess up the performance. If you are on stage for the first time then keep it simple, focus on singing, and nothing else. Once you are comfortable on stage and you do not have stage fright anymore then you should start using the below tips.
Believe it or not but there are even some classes which you can take like stage presence lessons which will make you a better perform. Although generally speaking these stage presence lessons are mostly used by already established singers who make a living from singing as these lessons do cost a lot of money, but if you have the budget for it then go ahead. If you want to know how to perform live on stage then the first thing you should keep in mind is that your main goal as a singer is to entertain people and even to provoke some emotions from them.
Once you are able to singe a solo in front of a crowd you will be able to do a lot of cool things which will engage the audience, on the other hand, if you are singing in a band as a lead singer you can still do some of these stage performing tips. If you are a beginner singer and you still did not sing a solo in front of a crowd then my personal recommendation is to read my recent article How to sing a solo confidently? ( In 6 Easy Steps ).
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It is fairly hard to actually be a unique singer in this crowded world, almost anything which you can imagine has probably already been done. While some singer’s uniqueness comes from their outfits or stage presence, some extremely talented singers’ uniqueness is actually their own voice, although these singers are far and few between. Your uniqueness could come from your stage presence, character, or even from your charisma, just try to find a way that makes you stick out of the crowd.
Have a stage presence
Generally speaking, most beginner singers have almost no stage presence, once they walk upon the stage they look like a gush of wind could topple them over. This is normal as there are a lot of emotions that go through a singer as he walks upon the stage. Singers who have experience in singing on a stage are already comfortable and once they walk up on stage they simply dominate the stage.
These singers are usually very confident when they are on stage, some of them will even walk in with their arms held up high and wide as trying to give a metaphorical hug to the audience. If you have ever seen a singer do this you probably noticed that the crowd goes wild, although there are some situations where the crowd is fairly difficult, and no matter what the singer does it will not engage them at all. However, if you are a fairly shy person then this might be difficult for you, although there are some things you can do, my recommendation is to read my article Tips for shy singers ( How to get rid of it? ).
Know your audience
If you want to know how to be a good performer on stage then my first tip is to know your audience. While this can be fairly easy if you are an established singer and you are at your own concert, the problem is that most singers start singing on stage at different events and festivals. In this case, knowing your audience can be fairly difficult as there will be so many singers who will sing on stage and you will never know what percentage of the audience is there for you or for the other singers.
In this case, my personal recommendation is to look at the other singers who performed before and right after you. If they are all singers in the same niche as you like R&B, rap, etc. then you should also sing a song similar to them. The problem is that most of these festivals do not have an actual musical cohesion, meaning an R&B singer could come right after a rock band. In this case, try to watch recordings of previous years from the same festival.
Use your hands
A lot of singers do not know what to do with their hands when singing on stage, the answer for this is fairly simple, just act out the emotions of the song. There are far too many singers who latch on to the microphone with two hands as it is their lifeline, while there is nothing wrong with doing this, the problem is that stage performance is both visual and audio at the same place. Meaning the people in your audience have not only come to listen to you, but also to see how you perform.
You will find it extremely hard to engage with your audience if you do not use your hands. As most of our communication is with our body language you as a singer should use it, simple movements with your hands are all it takes and you will see that the audience will be a lot more engaged with your performance.
Not all singers are comfortable dancing on stage, especially solo singers. The truth is that as a solo singer it is extremely difficult to dance and to sing at the same time if you have never tried it then give it a go and listen to your voice change as you are gasping for air. Some singers do use backup dancers which will animate their performance, if you are using backup dancers then it is a good idea that on some parts of the song to actually join them and dance just for a short few seconds.
The truth is that if you are a singer with backup dancers then your performance will cost a lot more money, as you will probably making a much bigger show than most solo singers. If you want to know how much money gets a singer from a concert then check out my recent article How much do singers make per concert? ( Thousands or Millions? ).
Stage banter is a great way to connect and engage with your audience. While some singers between songs remain silent, which isn’t a good idea, on the other hand, there are singers which fill in the time between songs with stage banter. As for what kind of stage banter you should do as a singer, it depends on your personality and character. If you are mainly singing love songs, then maybe tell a love story, if your singing more joyful songs then tell some jokes.
There are plenty of stage banter examples on youtube, check them out and make your own stage banters. Although the best stage banters are fairly impulsive, but you have to keep in mind what you actually say as there are a lot of people who actually get triggered by something silly as a joke.
Simply compliment the singing of the previous performer, this makes you a lot more approachable and friendly towards the crowd. You should do this for any singer who sang before you, even if you have never heard them before and even if their performance is fairly bad. On the other hand, if you sing in a band you should introduce them one by one, this way the audience can actually learn something about the band.
There are some singers who actually thank their audience for being present at their performance, and I do highly recommend it for any singer to do this. You should even do this if you are a beginner singer of whom nobody has ever heard of, this way they will probably remember your name.
Use cue cards
If you will be performing several songs one after the other then it is a good idea to use cue cards, even if it kind of looks amateurish. The cue cards will not be about what songs you will sing or the lyrics of your song, as hopefully you already know your own lyrics. These cue cards should be there to help you with the downtime between songs, with some banter examples, stories on why you have written the song, and so on.
Some singers actually write these down on the palm of their hands, it has the same purpose and it even might look funny for your audience, whatever works use it.
Point and wave
Now you might think what the reason is for pointing at random people and waving at them, the answer is simple, it shows the audience that you have friends in the audience and you instantly become more relatable and approachable. If you have ever watched a political speech or debate you will often see the politicians pointing at random people and waving at them, this is a simple trick to look a lot friendlier.
Have fun and smile
As a singer it is extremely important to have fun on stage, or else the audience will notice that you look uncomfortable on stage and they will not like it. In addition to this make sure that you also smile, smile right at some random people and they will instinctively smile back at you. This is not only a good way to seem a lot friendlier but it also a good way to engage with your audience. People go to a festival or to a concert to have fun, and they will expect you to make their time spent listening to you to be fun, so make it happen.
Project your emotions
You as a singer have to be able to actually project your emotions while you are singing. Some singers before singing a sad song will actually tell a sad story, and once they start singing while projecting their emotions you will see a lot of people with tears in their eyes. This is extremely powerful if you are able to project your emotions so that it provokes an emotion in your audience then they will definitely remember your performance for the rest of their lives.
There are a lot of cool things you can do on stage during your performance, however, the one thing you should keep in mind is that no matter what you do, you will have to entertain the audience. While some singers simply sing a couple of songs and remain silent, my recommendation is to take advantage of this time, get to know your audience, or tell them your message.