To create a show that packs the house, you have to do more than just play your recorded music live. You have an entire stage to create a spectacle that draws people in and makes an emotional connection. Read the post.
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.
Being intentional with different visual presentations for the variety of moods your songs invoke is part of what Tom Jackson calls changing the pressure on your audience during your live performances. “I’m not talking about acting or choreography, I’m talking about thinking, “What should this song look like?'” Read more.
When people come to me for band practice tips, one of the questions I get asked a lot is, “What’s too much rehearsal? We want to keep it spontaneous.” Well, spontaneous is one thing, and winging it is another. And most people wing it. When you’re making it up as you go onstage, instead of in rehearsal, you’ll never be great, consistently. Read more.
Most bands, when they rehearse, even for a big show, will rehearse for a couple of days, run through the songs to make sure they’re “tight,” work out the musical parts, and then go out onstage and hope something good will happen. They have no idea what they’re trying to accomplish. 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.
In part two of Echoes’ interview with renowned live performance producer Tom Jackson, we learn a simple rule: sing fewer songs, create more moments. When asked to play a half hour set, most bands immediately think, "How many songs can we fit in?" Instead, if they thought "How many moments can we develop?" they’d be much further along. Read more.
In part one of our interview with live performance producer Tom Jackson, we learn that most artists never learn to see themselves from the audience perspective. Once a record is done, the focus shifts to hitting the road. When that artist hits the stage, adrenaline is pumping, the band sounds tight, everyone is locked in, so it’s natural to think, “Everything is good.” That’s not always the case. 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.