Your audience wants to respond, they just don’t know what you want them to do – they don’t know what’s going through your head when you’re on the stage – so you have to use verbal, visual, and musical cues to lead them where you want them to go. Read More.
Your music audience is at your show for different reasons, and one is to experience moments – emotional and musical. Let them relive those moments with your CDs and merch. Read More.
A good intro will set up what is going to happen next. With most artists and most songs, it’s one of the first parts of a song I need to rearrange. We want to capture and engage the audience, make sure people are with you. I use the analogy of a mother hen gathering her chicks, making sure they are with her and together before she crosses the street, rather than just taking off and hoping they follow. Read more.
The moments after the song is over present a crucial opportunity to build momentum for your show, and it’s one that many music performers tend to miss. You need to learn how to put pressure on the audience and accept applause. This means that the ending should intentionally ask the audience to applaud – you’ll use non-verbal cues. Read more.
If you are a creative artist, you’ll probably put an original and clever ending on some of your songs – fade outs, unresolved chord progressions, or bleed-ins to the next song, for example. In a recording studio, I say go for it! But live, more often than not, it’s a mistake. Putting a clever ending on a song can sometimes confuse your audience. They don’t know for sure if the song’s over, so you only get a small smattering of hesitant applause. Read more.
If you watched a video of your live music show with the sound muted, would it be hard to tell which song you’re playing? Your live music show should be as creative as your music. One of the keys to a great visual show is to keep the integrity of the song. The music should tell you what the song should look like. There should never be movement just for the sake of movement! The song, in a sense, is the script. Read more.
Artists who appear to be most confident from the stage are those who are prepared. They’ve developed a vision for their show and planned it out, their show is creative musically and visually, and they’ve developed the musical themes in their songs into “moments” for their audience. They’ve arranged their songs so they can pour their uniqueness into the show. Read more.
When I help an artist plan their show, I try to get a vision as I listen to their songs. I want to actually imagine the audience’s response to a song in my head. For one song, I’ll see the audience jumping up and down, for another, I envision them laughing and high-fiving because they’re having so much fun. And on yet another, I may see the audience with tears in their eyes and a hush come over the crowd as they are moved by what you’re singing. Read more.
Working on the music, the visual, and most of the transitions for a show usually takes up most of a rehearsal time. So when I first started working with artists on their live show, and we’d get to places where the front man needed to introduce the band, tell a story, do a song intro or verbal transition, I’d go along with them when they said, "I’ll talk here," or "I’ll put some stage banter here." Then I saw those artists onstage. Read more.
Your first song needs energy – but not too much, and not too little. That’s how we like to meet people, after all. Unfortunately, a lot of artists start a live performance with an overwhelming intro, then blaze through their first few songs without stopping or giving the audience a chance to respond. The result: the artist has no idea what the audience thinks of them. Not a good way to start a relationship. Read more.
As musicians, we are emotionally attached to our music. With that attachment, we often lose perspective. I’m not asking you to emotionally detach from your songs when you perform live, but I am asking you to look at it from the audience’s point of view. Why does your audience show up? What are they hoping to get out of the evening? Why do they go to a coffee house, a club, a church, a concert hall? To hear you play your songs? Not really. Read more.