How To Master The Stage

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I remembered starting off pretty well as i was playing the guitar and singing in pubs since the age of 19. I was blessed to have my mentor, who was an experienced musician to play alongside me in my first ‘paid’ public performance. It was such an unforgettable experience. My music performances were fine throughout the decades until I had my first speech during a company event. I FROZE. I was blank and was bursting with cold sweat. It was horrible. I thought I could speak spontaneously and casually but I failed simply because I didn’t practice over the content that I wanted to say. Performing or even speaking on stage for the first few times can be very traumatic. I have seen many kids and teens in my music school, going up the stage trembling. Some kids even hide away or quit the recital. Well If you want make the stage as your workplace, you must first master the stage. Here is how you can learn to do so.

1. What is your role on stage?

You need to be clear long before you set foot on stage, what is your role? Are you the solo singer in a competition? Will you be giving a speech? Are you a backup dancer? Are you the drummer of the band or the Emcee of the day? Once you are clear of your role, be sure that everything that you do will serve the purpose of your. If you are a singer in a competition, be sure that you will amaze your audience with your skills, emotions, costume or gimmicks. If you are the the drummer, make sure you play to supplement the song and do not drown out the melody.

2. What is the intention you are on stage?

Whenever you are on stage, you are conveying either a message, a feeling or delivering entertainment. If you are singing in the house of worship, make sure your pronunciation is clear and that your heart is in the right place. If you are sharing a testimony, make sure you express your emotions too. Having the wrong intention may lead to you acting unnaturally or your audience may question the event. If you are singing in competition, be sure to do all you can to impress the judge and audience.

3. How much is your task

When you are performing, let’s say you play guitar and sing with the band, your brain and body are actually doing many things at one time. You are singing while trying to recall what is the next lyrics, remembering the chords, play some guitar lines, change pedal sound, communicate with audience, following drummer’s tempo, making sure your sound is balance and so on. This is super multitasking. No other activity that makes you do so much at one time. Your senses are all heightened. Now let’s ask yourself. Can you able to do all these task smoothly during the day of the event? How much time do you need to practice over it? Do you need to simplified your task? But please don’t take it lightly. If you are not willing to push hard, you will never improve. The point is to strike a balance so that your performance can goes smoothly with less stress and good enough to amaze your audience.

4. How to be prepared?

You can take away your worries by simply practicing over it. Repetition builds your muscle memory. When you practice enough, you do not need to remember the chords, scripts, or lyrics as they would come out naturally. 

Having sufficient rest from the day before and having a calm mind before any performance is crucial. The best remedy is sleep enough but meditation or joking around with friends can help. Remember, anxiety is your biggest enemy, so you should find your own way to overcome it.

Sometimes, people can get overwhelmed by being on stage. When you are standing on stage, you are practically a few feet higher from the ground and it can be scary as you don’t usually see things in that angle. The loud, amplified sound and the intense lighting can be intimidating too. However, there is no other way but to get used to it. You may practice your song at louder volume at home or in studio. You may also imagine how it it feels like being on stage before the actual event. Your imagination will help you get rid of some anxiety too. You can start by familiarising yourself with the stage during rehearsal time.  All in all, the more you perform, the better you will become.

5. How to perform better?

Be familiar with your song, playing, speech or moves. When you are practicing, try practicing with a louder volume with a microphone, or even in front of people as you can get feedback from them. Don’t be shy and don’t be afraid. You are also learning to control your singing better because at a louder volume, you can hear more details especially the little mistakes like pronunciation, pitching, tone and rhythm. Fix up as much flaws before you go on stage.

You need to know who is the sound engineer and where are the stage handymen in case of any technical issues. You should know where are the floor monitors because you will need to hear yourself and the music from those monitor speakers. These speakers will help you make sure you deliver the quality you have been practicing for.

Be comfortable in your clothes. If your costume isn’t so comfy, especially the high heels, you should practice in them to get used to it. Put away your phone and don’t let it distract you.

Finally be sure to enjoy the performance. Performing on stage is a good form of stress as it makes you handle situations in life more calmly. Once you have mastered the stage, your speech, dance, music, etc will impact the audience and bring great satisfaction and fun.

Poven Goh
8th June 2019

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