Learn how to get better at singing by performing at every chance you get! Hicksville, FL voice teacher Kimberly F. shares her ideas for where to look and how to get started…
So, you’ve started taking voice lessons and you’ve gotten pretty good. The next step? Performing in front of others!
Performance experience can help you get better at singing in a few different ways. First of all, the more you perform, the easier it becomes. There’s something to be said for “practice makes perfect.” If not perfect, practice definitely makes things more fluid and, in turn, more enjoyable. Secondly, performing for an audience teaches a singer how to connect with the public on an emotional level. A great singer must be a great performer, and that requires the ability to convey the feelings of the song to your audience. This is only learned through experience.
All of these elements combined create stage presence, which you need in order to command the attention of your listeners. Through practice and performing, stage presence evolves and this can make or break a performer. Therefore, stage presence and an emotional connection to the audience are essential skills to cultivate.
If you want to show off your stuff, but you don’t know where to start looking for performance opportunities, fear not! There are plenty of easy ways to get your feet wet.
• Open Mic Nights: Many coffeehouses and restaurants have open mic nights. This is where performers can come and show off a few minutes of their work for a casual audience. Check out your local hangouts and see if they host this type of event. If so, find out when they’re being held and sign up!
• Singing Competitions: Throughout the year, there are singing competitions for every age and experience level. Usually, these competitions are for classical or Broadway music only. However, you can show off your rock voice at a Battle of the Bands event, if that interests you. These are typically listed online, in singing magazines, and in your local paper.
• Talent Shows: These are similar to competitions, but singing at a talent show is often more flexible in terms of musical style. Also, they’re slightly less intensive, since you usually aren’t competing for money. This type of venue allows you to sing for an audience instead of a panel of judges.
• Live Music: Similar to open mic nights, some restaurants and coffeehouses host live music for their patrons. This is a more extensive undertaking, allowing you to play an entire set or for an entire night. It’s usually a bit harder to break into, but it has a much bigger payoff.
• School Productions: High schools and colleges usually put on annual shows. If you’re still in school, check out what yours has to offer. Don’t forget to check to see if there are clubs that put on shows separate from the school’s productions.
• Community Theater: Productions of musicals happen all over and they’re usually performed by amateur, but dedicated, individuals. Not only will you get stage experience, but you’ll meet others who are interested in music and theater.
• Local Choirs: Most communities have choirs of different levels of expertise and with varying degrees of competitive admittance. Singing with a choir not only improves your musicality and exposes you to different types of music, but allows for the possibility of singing solos. Some choirs focus on specific genres and others can be found in religious institutions.
These are all great places to start if you want to get better at singing, but don’t forget about the option to make your own opportunities. It’s fun (and not too difficult) to put on your own concerts and open mic nights. It’s even more fun to do it with friends. You can advertise your event in the local paper and online to attract an audience. Once you’ve gained some experience, you can get hired for weddings, funerals, and other types of gigs.
Another great way to find opportunities is through networking. Meeting people who run open mic nights or who perform at them is a good way to get information about openings in the area. Your voice teacher is also another crucial resource for finding new venues for performance. Your teacher might hold a studio recital or have connections with people offering performance time for singers.
Voice lessons are the best way to start your journey toward being a singer and performing is the final step in the process. Get out there and show off your stuff!
Kimberly F. teaches singing in Hicksville, NY. She received her Bachelor of Science in Music Performance from Hofstra University, and her Master of Music from Bard College. Kimberly has been teaching students since 2007. Learn more about Kimberly here!
Photo by jus10h