( Top 10 ) Tips for performing on stage for the first time

Every singer no matter how famous and successful they are they will remember their first stage performance for the rest of their lives, for some it went ok while for others it wasn’t that big of a success. No matter how your first stage performance turns out you should give all you got and be proud of yourself as it takes a lot of courage to walk upon a stage, no matter what anybody else might say.

The tips for performing on stage for the first time are to practice the song as much as you can before the performance. In addition to this, you have to make sure that you are well-rested and calm before you perform on stage. Once you are on stage for the first time search for familiar faces like family and friends, keep eye contact with them while you are singing, as this will make your first stage performance a lot less stressful.

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Performing on stage for the first time can be extremely scary and in some cases, it could even be traumatizing. Most singers do not actually get the chance to sing on stage ever in their lives, and the ones who do have to overcome all of their fears. Generally speaking, most singers do have some kind of stage fright and for all of them, it manifests in different ways. While some forget their own lyrics, others will outright begin to stutter, and neither of these makes for a great first time on stage impression.

First impressions matter, I do not want to put on more pressure on you but the truth is that your first stage performance is the most important performance of your life. If you are fortunate enough to be invited to an event to sing on the stage then you have to grab this opportunity, no matter how scared or shy you might be, who knows if another opportunity like this will ever come. While most singers consider it an actual opportunity, some of them think that is something that they do not want to do ever in their lives.

The problem is if you want to become a successful singer one day then you will have to go on a stage and sing. As with everything in life no matter what you do the first steps will be the hardest ones, you just simply have to go through the process. Believe it or not all successful singers had their first time performing in front of an audience. While some are natural stage performers, but odds are that you are not one among them, and this is where I come in, below you will find the necessary steps which will make your first-ever performance a lot easier.

Performing on a stage is not all about singing, there are a lot of things you can do in order to engage your audience if you want to find out what extra things you can do on stage then check out my recent article ( Top 11 ) Cool things to do on stage while performing. Although my recommendation is if this is your first time singing on a stage is to keep it simple and focus on singing your heart out.

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Practice the song before performing it on stage

Generally speaking, you will be notified when you will perform a couple of weeks or even months in advance. Talk to the organizers about what kind of songs you should sing and at what points during the event. This way you will have a clear idea of what is expected of you, far too often singers are not prepared adequately for stage performance and they might find that they are required to sing for a lot longer period of time than previously expected.

You might think that you have plenty of time to practice and that there is no rush. The problem is that most singers do no take into consideration that they will be flooded with emotions once they walk upon the stage and they might even forget the lyrics temporarily. This is why it is a good idea to start practicing the songs which you will sing at your performance as soon as possible. After you know which songs you will sing just focus on practicing the whole time till it is time for your first stage performance.

Find your safe spot while performing on stage

The safe spot is where to look when performing on stage, while most people will tell you that you should keep eye contact with your audience while singing on stage, the problem is that for the first time singing on stage you could be overwhelmed with emotions if the person with which you are having eye contact isn’t impressed of your singing. It is generally a good idea to have somebody from your family or friends in the audience so you can look at them, this will make it a lot easier to sing on stage.

If you have read my previously mentioned article you already know that eye contact with the audience is great for engaging with the audience, but you should try to avoid it especially if you are a shy singer and especially for your first performance. Your goal for the first performance on stage should be to simply sing the song and that is it, no need to overly complicate things as there is plenty of pressure on you already.

Practice your breathing technique before performing on stage

Singing is all about your ability to breathe correctly while you sing, the problem is not that you do not know how to breathe, but when you go on stage for the first time, your chest will pound and your breathing will become a lot faster. This not only will limit your ability to sing correctly but will actually make the stage even scarier for some singers. If you are a beginner singer and you still do not know how important breathing is for singing, then check out my article Why is breathing important in singing? ( Top 6 Reasons ).

You will definitely need to take into consideration how the first time on stage will impact your breathing, for this, I highly recommend you to do a lot of breathing exercises before the actual stage performance. This way you will have a lot more stamina and once you will start singing your breathing technique will kick in instinctively even if you are scared while you are on the stage.

Control your emotions while you are performing on stage

By far one of the best ways on how to perform on stage singing is by controlling your emotions. I know that this sounds a lot easier than it actually is, but the truth is that you will have to control your emotions. Once you go on the stage, every cell of your body will want to run and in the worst-case scenario, you will simply freeze. My goal is for you to avoid at all costs this freezing on stage effect as this can have an extremely negative impact on your singing career.

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My personal recommendation is that as soon as you know that you will be performing on stage in a couple of weeks is to start meditating, trust me on this one. Other people will give you different advice, what to drink or what to eat to control your emotions better, the truth is that these will actually hinder your performance as a singer. Simply start meditating for 10-15 minutes every day, and right before you go on stage, at that point you should have enough experience in meditation to be able to meditate even if there isn’t a silent place nearby.

Use the stage to your advantage while you are performing

There are some rules for how to be a good performer on stage, this is general advice which the event organizers should also give you, but just in case they do not here is what you should and should not do on the stage.

  • Always face your audience, never turn your back on them
  • Always assume the microphone is live and working well
  • Do not start tapping in the microphone to see if it is working
  • Do not make that testing 1,2,3 thing which some singers do as it is annoying
  • Always keep your head up, never look down
  • If you look down only do so to look at the audience
  • Do not turn around and talk to staff
  • Smile
  • Do not try to tell the audience your personal message, nobody knows you and nobody cares

Take stage presence lessons

Yes, there is such a thing as stage presence lessons, the problem is that these are fairly expensive. However, if you think that the only thing that can help your first performance is to actually learn stage presence from somebody then go ahead. My recommendation is to ask for some advice from fellow singers who had already their first-time stage performance, they usually could give you more in-depth information based on the location where you are performing.

If you want to know how to develop stage presence then the simple answer is with experience, you simply can not develop stage presence without ever being on stage. The more you perform on stage the easier it will get and sooner or later you will start developing stage presence which hopefully is unique. If your first time on stage will be to sing a solo, then check out my article How to sing a solo confidently? ( In 6 Easy Steps ).

Warm-up your voice before performing on stage

It is vital that you warm p your voice before the stage performance. Far too often singers forget to warm up their voices before their first stage performance and you can actually hear the crackling sound their voice is making and see on their faces that they have just realized that they didn’t warm up. The problem is that even some singers do not think that warming up is necessary, as the vocal cords and throat will warm up while simply singing.

Although this is true to some extent, the problem is that most songs are not that easy to sing, especially if you will have to sing high notes, as this is where everybody will either notice that you haven’t warmed up or they will think that you actually can not sing high notes.

Get plenty of rest before your first stage performance

For your first stage performance, you will have to be rested, have a good night’s sleep and a good meal a couple of hours before singing. If the event is in another town or city then plan ahead, in such a way that you can have a good night’s sleep before your stage performance. A lot of singers hop into their cars drive for hours and then almost immediately start singing on stage, while some can get away with it as they know the limits of their bodies, it is not recommended to do so for your first stage performance.

Make sure you sleep 8 hours, preferably during the night, if you are having a longer flight where you can sleep for only a couple of hours before the stage performance then my recommendation is to wake up 2-3 hours before the performance. The main reason for this is that everybody has a different sounding voice after they wake up and you will need to get rid of that deeper voice after you have slept.

Hydrate yourself before performing on stage

You can not believe how many singers actually forget to hydrate themselves before a performance. While some prepare in advance and bring their own water bottle, but some will expect the event organizers to take care of them. As this is your first performance then my recommendation is not to overly rely on the staff and event organizers, bring your own water and food. Things can get chaotic behind a stage and the event organizers have probably better things to do than to figure out from where to get you water.

A lot of singers actually go right in the opposite direction, which is overly hydrating themselves which will result in them being more at the bathroom than actually socializing behind the stage. Do not drink big gulps of water, instead take smaller gulps more frequently. Make sure that you stop drinking water 10 minutes before your performance and also get a bathroom break, believe me, the last thing you want to do on your first stage performance is to pee yourself.

Socialize with staff members before you perform on stage for the first time

Yes, you have heard it right, you should socialize with staff members, organizers, and other singers, basically with everybody behind the stage. You have to keep in mind that these people have invited you to sing at their event, no matter if they are paying you or not you should still treat everybody with kindness. Most of these people behind the stage are working in the music industry and some will make it big, even if they are just part of the staff now.

Remember this as there are plenty of people who can give you new opportunities, and even invite you back to sing at their next event.

In conclusion

The first time performing on stage will be fairly tough, especially if you are a shy singer. The problem is that you will have to set aside your shyness and all your emotions and take advantage of this opportunity. Consider it as your firsts step towards becoming a real singer, once you get through your first stage performance it will get a lot easier I promise. Good luck!