Music Etiquette: 10 Rules for Effective / Ineffective Stage Performance
Your name gets called. It’s time for you to jump on that stage and show the world what you’re made of. *Hands clap* The audience is looking at you, anxious - or impatient- at the prospect of you performing. You now have the chance to either A) leave with the audience eating out the palm of your hand, FB’n and TW’n about their new discovery. Or B) Get accused of grand larceny by an audience bent out of shape cause you just stole 7min of their lives. Here now is mixture of thing consider, and avoid, next time you hit that stage.
1. Introduce yourself
This simple little trait is the most overlooked little trait. Folks have a tendency to hit the stage with a mind state that’s flooded with a mix of emotions ranging from nervous to anxiousness, which in turn finds them forgetting to let the audience know who they are, where they hail from and where they can find they’re music.
Extra credit: Get in the habit of briefly promoting your online properties before during and after performance.
2. Engage the crowd
Look at that audience in the eye and deliver your music with conviction. Make them feel you and the music you’re showcasing. Other wise, you’re just a human body on the stage, giving the audience something look at while their beer gets warm.
3. DO NOT lip-sync
It’s weak will devalue your performance leading to both loss of points from judges and respect from your audience, who just found out the venue ran out of Coronas.
Extra Credit: Cut a “TV track” version of the song you’ll be performing. It’s the instrumental version featuring the adlibs and background vocals of the original recording. This will help you focus on your main performance vocals while the background plays the role of cushion to enhance your performance.
4. Beat it
Producers, if your showcasing production, don’t just stand there knotting your head to those pots and pans you call a track, like its the hottest s**t in the world. Announce your contact info through out the track as it plays. Let the beat breath, but speak for yourself.
Figure out your mic stance. Too close leaves you muffled, too far is not clear enough.
6. Lovin’ the crew?
Why, why, why are there 15 dudes on the stage for your one song? If they aren’t part of the song or add anything new and unique to enhance your performance, get em the f*** off the stage. They drown you out and nobody wants to see your cousin with Napoleon complex throw up gang signs at college kids.
7. Three for Five
Most showcases allow a 5-min opportunity for you to showcase. Yourself. Naturally, most people spend that entire 300 seconds chance on two songs. If you know your music well enough and are up for a new challenge, try doing 3 songs snippets in 5min. It’ll give you a chance to showcase your versatility while stimulating the audiences senses, who usually tune you out by the first 16 bars anyways.
8. Avoid freestyle instrumentals.
There’s just no way you’re going to out-yell Meek Millz on “I’m a Boss”. You cannot out-YOLO Drake on “The Motto”. Unless you’re doing something completely different from the original author (i.e.: singing over a rap banger or vice versa), then leave the popular instrumentals alone. Its waste of time and the money you spent on these 5 minute showcase why your so special…or was.
When you get off the stage, roll up to the judges’ table, shake his/her hand, drop off your music and thank them for checking you out. If you’re up for a gut check, ask for quick feedback. If they were paying attention, you’ll be able to tell by the response. If they weren’t paying attention, then you clearly didn’t make the memorable impression, other wise they’d make note of it.
10. Go all out.
Whether its 5 people or 500, give it your best. You never know who’s in that audience looking tow work with you: a producer, an A&R or the hottie with the last cold beer.
Steal the show.