How to prepare to the (first) singing performance
Your first concert is coming soon. Wow! I’m sure you’re feeling excited, as well as insecure about it. Is that normal? of course! in this article I will help you prepare to your stage debiut and reduce the feeling of anxiety and stage fright.
Study lyrics until you know them well
I would even say: until you know them VERY WELL.
I used to keep company performers participating in concerts, like my students or my colleagues’ students. And I asked them: why are so afraid of? 80% of the answers was: I might forget lyrics when I’m on stage. Actually, 80% of mistakes on stage were connected with lyrics blind spots.
Follow this learn-the-lyrics-check-list while preparing to the concert:
- Start memorising as soon as possible! do not wait till the day before. It is too late!
- Print out the lyrics and read them out loud a couple of times, as you would read a book.
- Read the lyrics out loud again, this time follow the rhythm of the song, as you are a rap singer.
- Sing from different moments in the song, not always from the beginning.
- Find the associations with the first words in each part in the song (image, story, other words, situations) : 1st verse, chorus, 2nd verse, bridge.
- Sing the whole song correctly at least 5 times in a row.
Find out what your song is about
Remember, a song is not only melody and a beautiful voice. All songs carry either a story, a purpose or a message.
Spend time to translate the song (if it’s not in your native language), find out what happened to the author when he/she wrote it.
Answer all the questions below, relating them to your song:
- What is this song about?
- What is the purpose of this song: a story, a message, a confession (you can add more)?
- What emotion(s) does your song bring: happiness, regrets, sadness, loneliness, love, anger, energy (for example a party vibe)…? you can add more
- How would you imagine someone singing this song? how is she/he acting, what is she/he going through emotionally, physically, is the singer standing still, or dancing, walking? is she/he sitting, standing?
- Find on YouTube an artist (or a couple of artists) performing live the same song you study. Write down at least 5 characteristics that you could “steal” into your performance. It can be associated with a behaviour, movement, face mimics, voice etc.
Get to know the instrumental/ background music of your song
50% of your performance is your voice. The other half is the background music.
Make sure that you know well your instrumental track and that you know exactly how and when to start singing to it.
If you sing with the accompanist, ask him/her to send you a recording of how he/she is playing your song, even from the phone recorder.
Don’t expect your accompanist to play accompaniment exactly like it is in the original version of your song! it takes a huge amount of time to write the song down, as it is in the original version. Beside that, it’s not really developing your musical abilities, as well as your accompanist’s to play the same song, the same way as it’s been created already.
Before you send the mp3 track, make sure it is working. Listen to the whole track before sending, if the sound is right, if there are no errors. Most of the organisers will not check your track, as it is about 2 hours work to check 15-20 sent tracks, from all performing artists. At the end of the day, it is in your own interest to have a track working perfectly while you’re on stage.
Free your voice while practising
So, looks like all is set! You know exactly how you want to sing, in each second of the song.
I do not want to freak you out, but you have to be prepare in case of anything. Also, in case you forget the melody in a particular part of the song, or that you start singing from a wrong note (wrong pitch).
The best exercise for it is improvising while exercising. Sing a different melody on purpose, in a way that it’s harmonically composing well into the song. Improvise and go back to the correct, original melody. Repeat it couple of times.
Record yourself on your phone (video)
Even if you think that everything is prepared, you’re not standing like a twig, you’re moving freely… even too much; what’s in your conviction as “too much”, in reality can look like “nothing”. Especially in a stage reality.
Place your phone far away, so it can shoot your all body, or at least till your knees. Sing as you were already on stage. There are not many people that like to listen to their voice and watch them singing. You got to be objective: am I moving relaxed and natural enough? am I not having a weird face mimic, is my back straight, my arm loose… etc.
Work with the microphone before the concert
Especially if you’ve never been holding a microphone before.
Your teacher should take care of it during the lessons.
A microphone must be in a close position to your lips. Do not “eat” the microphone, but do not hold it further than 5-7 centimetres from the lips. It might feel like you’re very loud while singing to the mic, especially for the first time. Do not move your microphone away! the sound guy or your teacher will put your voice down on the mixer if the volume is not comfortable to listen to.
Picture yourself on stage. In every detail.
How you’re going to look and behave on stage has to be related to your song.
For example: if you sing a ballad song you wouldn’t like to wear a gothic/rock ripped clothing and dance like Beyonce ;)
Think how your outfit can support the story and the vibe of your song. Whatever you choose, it should be more than just a casual look.
Do not wear sweat pants, dirty or creased clothing.
Think about an outfit that will present you well and that you will feel comfortable with.
Ladies often want to wear high heels on stage. Comfort and stability are very important to make a good quality performance.
It might feel right and stable at home. But when your legs will start shaking on stage, it’s going to be quite of a challenge to stand still till the end of a song ;)
Think about the set up on stage. Would you like to sit, for example on a bar chair, or stand? Do you want to hold the microphone or keep it on a stand? it all depends on you!
Think positive :)
You are a singer with enough abilities that someone else asked you to perform, or your teacher gave you a pass to perform at the school’s concert. There will be people coming to listen to you, some of them will come only for you! that means you already have fans and maybe you will gain more after your performance :)
Have fun on stage! are you happy when you’re singing? show how much you love to sing on stage! When you feel good, your audience feel good as well!