“If you can’t play live, you can’t play.”
Harsher (but truer) words have never been spoken. Pulling off a good live performance, both sonically and visually, is crucial to a band or artist’s development and advancement in today’s ultra-competitive music industry. There are many things that one should take into consideration in preparing for a show. This article will explore a few tips and techniques that everyone should strive to follow in order build that live performance up.
Eat A Small Meal Before Playing – A piece of fruit, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and some almonds are personal favorites of mine to chow down on a short while before a live performance. Healthy foods like these can help give and sustain energy, while not upsetting your stomach. Remember to eat these in small quantities – The Chinese Buffet probably isn’t a good idea if you’re one of those artists that likes to jump around and do backflips on stage!
Stay Sober(ish) – Yes, I know we’re talking about the music industry here, but we’re also professionals…so act like it. One beer or so is acceptable if you’re trying to calm nerves before a gig. Just be happy that musicians technically get to drink on the job and, many times, get paid for it! Don’t abuse this privilege.
Dress Appropriately – Depending on what style of music you’re playing, you are going to want to look the part. While your outfit might vary with the genre, you’re still going to want to look nice. As stated above, the visual aspect of a live performance in this day and age is almost as important as the music itself. Also, as strange as it sounds, make sure your shoes look nice. If you can’t afford new ones, polish the ones you do have. “Who looks at someone else’s shoes?” you may ask? The audience does…especially when they are eye-level with your feet while you are up onstage. It might even be the first thing they notice about you.
For Gosh Sakes, Have Fun!– This one is self-explanatory, but perhaps the most crucial. The audience knows when you’re happy and having fun, so keep your head up and remember to smile. Give out some energy to that crowd, and when they give it back, you’ll know all those hours you spent practicing in your room was well worth it.