How to Know You’re Ready to Start Performing in Public
When I was a kid, I constantly felt like there was more to learn before I could perform. I just needed to improve my volume, my stage presence, my range, and THEN I’d be a force to be reckoned with. I kept waiting for that teacher or authority figure to say, “Now you’re ready!” But how do you know when you’re ready to start performing in public?
Here’s the thing. There’s always more you can learn. If you’re a musician worth your salt, you know that you still have a lifetime’s worth of improvement you can make.
But you don’t need to reach your full potential as a musician before gathering some performance experience, and let me tell you, learning to perform in public is a skill all its own and one you can’t fully learn without, you know, performing in public. You can work on feeling the music all you want, but you won’t really feel the weight of what it’s like to have arms dangling at your sides until you’re singing in front of an audience trying to remember what to do with your appendages.
Even if all you or your child can do right now is get through a song partially on key, just get up there and do it, or encourage your child to. I’m not saying that you should take your 5-year-old’s off-key rendition of “Rudolph” and send her to her first Broadway audition, but I am saying that a recital or school talent show is a wonderful place to start. Don’t wait until her voice is flawless to let her get up there, because it’s a missed opportunity for her to improve at singing and improve at performing simultaneously. And you know what? She might suck when she goes up there the first bunch of times. But who cares? One of the best things you can do for yourself or your child if one of you wants to perform is to not be precious about performing and to rest easy knowing that not every performance will be great.
You may have already guessed the answer to the title of the post. Start performing right away. If you can memorize a song, or eke your way through some self-accompaniment on an instrument, get up there! There are so many valuable things to learn from performing that there’s no other way to simulate. Your voice or instrument playing will improve over time as you keep taking lessons, and when they do, you’ll already be a comfortable performer.
And to quote Sierra Boggess, of The Little Mermaid and Phantom of the Opera fame, “You are enough. You are so enough. It’s unbelievable how enough you are.” Even before you have that vocal riff down.