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Stage Presence For Musicians: 12 Key Performing Tips

  • Damian Keyes
    Damian Keyes
  • Mar 21st 2022

If you want your live show to be remembered, you have to blow minds.

Having an electric on-stage presence and demonstrating a captivating charisma throughout your performances is how you really get more music fans from gigs.

Getting to grips with a few performance techniques can help you level up your band's live performances from entertaining to absolutely unforgettable.

The aim is to get to the point where your live shows can win over any crowd, anywhere.

Up and coming musicians are often performing in front of people who have likely never heard or seen them before. It's for this reason that you need to utilize a good stage presence and perform your heart out so you can make them notice you!

Here are 12 stage presence tips that bands and musicians can use to take performances to a whole new level.

1. Look The Part With Your Outfit

When performing on stage, you need to make an effort with what you decide to wear.

It's all about the visual.

To keep the audience engaged in your live show, yes you've got to sound great. But you also have to look like you are meant to be there! You need to be the coolest person in the room.

If you are a solo performer, think about your identity as a musician and what you want to convey visually. It should be matched in what you wear.

If you are in a band, you all need to be on the same page and have a cohesive dress code.

You can be as outlandish or simple as you like, as long as it fits with the sound and persona of your group.

Think about Slipknot or KISS for example. Not only do they put on incredible live shows, but they also match that stage energy with unified visuals that are related to their music.

Slipknot costumes

2. Use All Of The Space Available To You

When you look at the stage you will be performing on, you need to make it your playground.

Too many musicians spend their entire show rooted to the same spot and not moving around enough.

A huge part of good stage presence is movement and activity whilst performing on stage.

The audience members are there to watch you, not just to hear you. This is why it's important to give them something incredible to watch! This is where group music lessons can benefit musicians at a younger age, giving them an idea of how to perform with other musicians.

It's tempting to stay in your designated spot or be glued to your microphone, but you need to break out of that rhythm.

If you have a wireless microphone or equipment, get off the stage and into the crowd too!

This can really break the 4th wall and it's something that audiences will remember for a long time.

Crowdsurfing literally

3. Remove Awkward Gaps In Between Songs

One of the key components of writing a good band set list for your live shows is the ability to ensure you've cut out unnecessary silences.

A real indication of an amateur band or singer is what happens in between the songs.

Every second you are not keeping the crowd engaged feels like an eternity, and your stage presence will suffer.

With stage presence, you are always performing, even when you aren't singing. Your presence, body language, and actions in between tracks are just as important!

Factor in these gaps when writing your set and make sure it flows.

You also need to plan your key messages during shows so you have something important to say during the gaps. You might want to promote another concert, tell fans about your new single, or even push for merch sales.

Spend time at band rehearsals making sure transitions in between songs and how you will start the next song are as smooth as possible.

4. Practice Like It's A Real Show

Talking of band rehearsals, how seriously are you taking them?

Planning a good band rehearsal doesn't just mean turning up, plugging in, and going through a song or two.

Different practices have different aims, but you should be practicing your entire set and live show in rehearsals.

Most bands set up in band practice so they can make eye contact with each other whilst they perform.

This is fine when learning tracks, but it's not what you'll be doing when on stage in front of fans.

Before a run of shows, it's a good idea to have one or two rehearsals that bring the same energy as a live show.

Set up how you would at a gig. Perform how you would on stage. Go into your next song without hesitation. Bring energy and fill the silence between tracks. Focus on your stage presence when performing music at rehearsals.

It's great for your confidence.

The rehearsal room is a safe space where you can try these things out in safety before doing it on stage in front of an audience!

5. Interact With The Crowd When Performing On Stage

A successful live music show is all about creating a connection.

You need to be able to create a unique experience that the audience will never forget.

You might feel at home performing your music and singing live, but engaging with the crowd takes a different level of confidence.

Make eye contact with the crowd whilst you talk with them and create multiple individual connections.

Show them that you are entirely present in the moment and invested in their experience, as well as yours as a musician.

Outside of your key messages, it's best to plan a couple of 'moments' during the set where you'll really ramp up the crowd interaction.

Watching videos like this that show off crowd participation moments at gigs can give you a real sense of the energy and excitement it brings.

You can get the crowd to sing along or follow a certain instruction to create something truly unforgettable!

6. Film Your Performances And Watch Them Back

Have you ever actually watched a performance from yourself and assessed your own stage presence?

Getting videos of your gigs is one of the best ways of seeing what your performance is actually like from the eyes of an audience.

The ability to watch yourself perform and reflect on what you can improve on is so useful.

A friend of the band or a music manager if you have one can set up a camera and record your entire set.

When watching your performances back, look out for certain things.

For singers and performers, it's common for them to think they are moving around a lot on stage and giving off lots of energy.

When watching yourself back you'll realize, you're never moving around as much as you think you are.

Accentuate every movement for a better stage presence and be larger than life.

Also, look out for lulls in the set. At what point did people stop paying as much attention? Is there a big gap in the song transitions?

Identify your weaknesses and aim to improve upon those at your next gig.

7. Watch Performances Of Favourite Bands

Aside from watching yourself back, you should also watch videos of seasoned performers and bands you admire with a killer stage presence.

Get inspired.

Seeing your favourite band or artist perform can give you that real buzz and remind you why you chose to pursue a career in the music industry to begin with.

It also pays to be continually watching other bands and singers live, not just on video.

By immersing yourself with these experiences first hand, you'll be able to get a real sense of what makes a crowd tick, what a certain band might do to level up their stage presence, and even get some ideas yourself of audience interaction tricks and band performance tips.

The more artists you can see play live, the better.

Live band festival

8. Pay Attention To Your Body Language

Again, watching yourself back on video is so important for assessing this.

When we talk about body language, it's much more than just how much you are moving about or talking with the crowd.

It's your charisma. Style. Confidence.

Your stage presence is made up of this and so much more.

The best music performers have a certain magnetism.

Practice being open and accentuating your gestures. Remember, your movements are never as big as you think they are.

10x everything you do whilst playing and be larger than life.

When you do move around the stage, own it. Do it with confidence and be huge!

9. Have Fun Whilst Playing Live

This one might sound super obvious but it really does matter.

Having a good stage presence does take some work.

But your body language and the way you come across on stage can mostly be improved by just having an awesome time.

When thinking about your performance, one of the best tips for improving upon them is to approach gigs with a positive mindset.

It's easier said than done but rocking out live on stage to an audience full of music lovers is one of the most incredible things you can do as a performer.

Never take these moments for granted and completely involve yourself in every second of your live music.

When you are having fun on stage, it's easy for everyone to have fun with you.

This kind of energy is infectious and is sure to rub off on the audience whilst they enjoy watching your band play.

Live band guitarist

10. Practice Visualisation To Manifest Good Stage Presence

Mental imagery and visualization techniques have been used for years in sports psychology and other high-performance industries.

Whether it's athletes looking to improve confidence or enhance their performance for greater success, or to manifest a desired outcome, it's a proven technique that can play a central role in improving your own stage presence.

Visualization or mental imagery is essentially a mental rehearsal for what is to come.

Imagine yourself on stage.

Really embody the feeling of what it's actually like to take to the stage as a professional musician.

Imagine each detail and visualize the best version of yourself. Simply mentally rehearse yourself on stage with incredible stage presence. Visualize the perfect gig.

This feeling is great for psyching yourself up and creating a sense of familiarity before you actually perform. Athletes and sports professionals use this technique to make themselves feel like they have done this before, thus making it that bit easier for them to recreate this in reality.

It can help calm nerves and allow you to enter a new state of focus.

11. Interact With Your Band Members Too

We've already talked about how important interacting with the audience is for your stage presence, but don't forget about your bandmates!

Try and engage with your fellow musicians in a confident way on stage.

Rock out with your friends and create a great atmosphere with each other.

Again, having fun is the key here and the audience will feed off of that energy.

Interacting with each other can also help you level up each other's performance overall, creating a better stage presence as a band, not just as individuals.

Stage presence band interaction

12. Develop Your On Stage Stamina

If you're going to be gigging frequently, you need to keep fit if you want to maintain a good stage presence.

Musician burnout is real and it can manifest itself in many forms. Often, it's a mental burnout, but you can hit physical burnout if you're body isn't in the best shape when gigging!

For artists to consistently deliver a killer performance time after time, they need to be able to do so without completely breaking themselves.

Staying fit allows you to leave some in the tank for future gigs, as well as being able to move around a lot on stage without feeling gassed!

If you are singing, this is even more important as you won't want to be sounding out of breath whilst trying to sing live!