Preparing for performances and auditions
All professional musicians have rituals and rules to help prepare them for the stage, regardless if they are performing for two people or 2,000. These dos and don’ts will give you some solid preparation tips for auditions and performances:
- Practice your music often enough that you feel comfortable with it and can perform it without any technical mistakes.
- Expect to be nervous, and if you will be performing in a bar or club, prepare for background noise. Practice your song or piece with the radio or TV blaring or with kids around. This will help improve your focus during your performance.
- Try to connect with your audience, even if that means concentrating on just one person. A larger crowd will command more of your energy than a smaller group.
- It’s always a great idea to take a music lesson from a professional, or to have a pro listen and observe you as you perform. Feedback is always helpful.
- Take criticism as encouragement from those you trust professionally. Believe they want you to succeed. Try not to take it personally!
- Get as much rest as you can in the days leading up to your performance.
- Exercise of any kind will help you reduce your stress level and help you sleep well so that you won’t be up at night worrying about your music or your abilities.
- Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse! The more you practice your entire set or concert, the better you will feel. Plus, rehearsing helps you work on your energy and flow for the entire performance.
- Be yourself, and have fun. People are here to see you, and they want you to do your best.
- Trying to “wing it” will never work out well.
- Don’t drink any alcohol at all before you perform. You may feel relaxed, but you will look and sound sloppy.
- If you think your performance at home is perfect, you are probably failing to notice important work that’s to be done. There is always something to improve on.
- Don’t keep singing or practicing if you start experiencing physical pain. Consult with a professional musician and/or see your doctor right away.
- Don’t close your eyes and pretend the audience isn’t there. They will miss out on your individuality and miss the sense of connection. Practice being present and available.
- Don’t show up at the venue without talking to the people who manage the equipment and space. You want to have everything you need to make your performance seamless.
- Don’t arrive late to your soundcheck or rehearsals. Being rushed will make you feel stressed, and it’s just plain unprofessional.
- Don’t leave home without any supplies you may need to maintain your voice or your instrument. Anything can happen on stage!
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Rebecca Cherry is an accomplished musician, writer, and creative seeker. She is enjoying her new role as a Solo Mom to her baby girl. You can follow her on Twitter at @CherryRebecca and Facebook at Rebecca Cherry.
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