by Jesse Austin, with thanks to Tearaway.
When beginning to perform your own music live with a band or by yourself, on of the most daunting things can be stepping onto the stage in front of other people. What can be even more daunting is doing it with confidence and with stage presence.
Stage presence is the way you portray yourself to your audience, is the way your audience sees you and it is essentially the most important thing after your music. Stage presence provides you with the means to connect with those watching your show and give them an experience rather than just some songs.
Like your songs, stage presence is something that needs to be crafted. It is something that needs to be thought about when leading up to a gig and is key to make sure your performance is remembered.
There are two main trains of thought when it comes to preparing your stage presence for a show. The first is that you rehearse it until it is slick and polished. This may range from practicing jumping at certain points in your song like many pop punk bands (hello 5 Seconds of Summer!) or crafting your dance moves until they are tight as Bruno Mars and his backing band.
The second idea is that you don’t do anything and let your on stage actions reflect however you are feeling. This is quite a popular way to do things, as it feels more sincere and authentic to most musicians. It also can come across a lot less cheesy than the previous method, and depending on your genre, that is preferable. However, it is still hugely important to think about your stage presence even if you go down this route. Think about where you will position yourself in relation to the rest of your bandmates, think about how you will talk to the audience, think about the way you will hold and play your instrument. While you may not want to rehearse these elements, it is important to give them some thought and talk about them with your bandmates, as you will really add to the performance if you are all on the same page.
Whatever way you go about crafting your stage presence, here are some small tips to get you started:
- Look confident – No matter how scared you are on the inside!
- Own the stage – The stage is yours to move around on and do your thing. Make use of the space you have.
- Lock in with your music – Headbanging suits metal and doesn’t suit soft acoustic ballads. Think about how your stage presence reflects your music.
- Look up – While you might be doing the pedal dance to get the best guitar tone, your audience want to see you. Give them what they want!
- Have fun! – You have worked hard to be up on that stage. Enjoy your time there and the audience will have a good time too.
Stage presence is going to mean something different for every artist and every artist is going to have a different approach to it. But it is important to think about it and craft it for your performances. It is how you will take your show to the next level and it is the only way for you to truly connect with your audience and make you stand out from the crowd.