Stage presence makes a huge difference in how your audience will respond to you. Take a look at these performance tips from NY music teacher Nadia B...
You’ve practiced, rehearsed, and it’s finally time to share your vocal arts with others. Sometimes, though, components of a successful performance can be overlooked after you’ve spent so much time mastering the music. Key elements of stage presence for singers include setting a unique musical intention, making use of physical space and gestures, and creating connection in the moments directly before and after you sing, all of which will guarantee that you create an unforgettable and enjoyable performance.
Establishing Your Musical Intention
What makes live performance enjoyable is the spontaneity created by the performer-audience connection. It can never be the same twice. You can take advantage of this fact by taking a moment before your performance, or in the rehearsals leading up to your performance, to set a unique musical intention. What is a desired feeling you want to convey in each piece, in this performance? You can take into account the audience makeup (is it children, friends and family, judges of a singing competition, or the general public?), and the personal significance of the music for you. Setting this intention will ensure that your performance is meaningful and spontaneous, since you are interacting with the aesthetic of the music in a current and engaged way.
Making Use of Physical Space
Another element that differentiates stage presence for singers from other musicians is that singers are in a unique position to make use of physical space, both within their own bodies and in the environment. For this reason, an important part of your performance as a singer is to consider the physical possibilities. Are there certain times that movement would emphasize the musical setting or mood? Also consider physical gestures as a way to underline the key musical characteristics of each piece. If you’re not sure what to do with your hands or body while singing, check out the helpful tips in this video:
Sometimes simply becoming aware of the space around you is enough – even if you don’t incorporate movement or gestures, this awareness can allow you to fully expand into the space physically, energetically, and vocally.
Creating a Connection With Your Audience
Lastly, consider the first and last things you do in your singing performance: you greet and express your gratitude toward the audience for sharing your musical journey with you. These moments play a key part in creating a well-rounded performance. When you enter the stage, a sincere bow can establish an immediate connection with your listeners, and taking your time as you walk along the stage, bow, and prepare to begin singing can allow your audience to settle in and join your journey with ease. A rushed or nervous entrance can draw the attention away from the music and unsettle the audience.
At the end of the performance, a gracious bow allows the audience to fully savor and participate in your performance. They are thrilled that you have performed for them, and it is a sign of respect to acknowledge the pleasure and gratitude that they express with their applause. If you are unsure of how your stage presence is, try turning on an applause track on YouTube at home and working on entering and exiting the room. You can also watch performances of famous singers to see how they interact with the audience to get ideas.
Remember that your musical preparation and practice will help you have your best performance possible. Keeping in mind these other elements will only serve to showcase your hard work and skill, and developing a confident stage presence can make the difference between a good performance and an unforgettable performance, both for you and your listeners!
Don’t forget — a professional voice coach can also help you develop your tone and stage presence! Find a teacher near you here.
Nadia B. teaches flute and piano in New York, NY, as well as through online lessons. She acted as principal flutist of the orchestra and wind ensemble at California State University, Sacramento, and then went on to receive her degree in Music Performance from New York University. Learn more about Nadia here!
Photo by Boelseye – Lisa Boels