Learning to be a great performer takes years of experience. But getting a lot better very quickly is surprisingly simple. There are many helpful, easy tips you can read up on to instantly look more polished when you sing. To get you started, here are 5 basic tips to help you perform like a pro.
1. Know Where to Look
Sure, if you’re an experienced performer, you may have your own performance style–looking at various audience members and making eye contact with the accompanist or band members. But for most of us, it isn’t quite that comfortable. An easy rule of thumb you can use to immediately look more confident and professional is to gaze over the heads of your audience. You won’t have the anxiety of looking people in the eye, but you’ll really have a presence and look like you’re presenting your song to everyone. If you look at the front row, on the other hand, it’ll actually look to the majority of the audience as if you’re staring at the floor.
2. Don’t Let Mistakes Show on Your Face
Sometimes we make a mistake we can’t recover from, like completely blanking on how the song goes. No judgment implied either; nerves can do scary things to you. But most of the time, we can find a way to keep going. Hit a wrong note? I guarantee that if you just keep singing with confidence, a good portion of the audience won’t even notice. Even if you totally forget the lyrics, just make something up. If you’re on the second verse and have no clue what the words are, sing part of the first verse again. If you look like you know what you’re doing, people will assume that you know what you’re doing.
3. Have a Plan For Your Arms
No matter how easy it feels to perform a song at a voice lesson or in front of your mirror, when you’re performing and your sympathetic nervous system kicks in, all of a sudden you realize you have arms. And they’re just hanging there. And every gesture you make suddenly feels awkward. Have a plan ahead of time, even if that plan is that you’ll keep both hands on the mic the entire time. There’s nothing at all wrong with that choice. When you don’t have a plan, that’s when you’ll start doing things like uncomfortably passing the mic from hand to hand or playing with your skirt.
4. Keep Your Eyes Open
I know that when you’re moved by music, there’s an impulse to close your eyes and really feel it. But when you’re singing for an audience, you want them to feel it too. Typically, keeping your eyes open will communicate what you’re feeling more than closing your eyes will.
5. Make Your Steps Purposeful
There’s nothing wrong with just planting your feet and not moving when you’re singing. There’s also nothing wrong with walking around, if you have a good reason to take those steps and you feel it will add to your performance. It’s those in between steps you want to avoid. Don’t shift back and forth between your feet, or take a step forward for no real reason. If you’re going to stand still, stand still with confidence. If you’re going to move around, make each step intentional.