When you think about stage presence, you may be amazed at how many of your band members are afraid to make mistakes. It is very important to know how to phrase yourself so that you do not look like you are flubbing on stage or off the mic. I’ve been asked to give some of my advice on ‘how to make your mistakes discreetly’ and I naturally just shake my head and say no explanation is needed. It will work to your advantage if you simply repeat the ‘no explanation’ each time you make a mistake and turn it into something funny or surprising. The trick is to stay within the bounds of acceptability and stylistic norms and you may find that you get off the more you explain a musical choice or even phrase.
In turn, this may well affect how you present yourself on stage because being seen to be having fun will automatically raise your self-esteem and perceived need to do extra things on stage. laughter is infectious, so if you can learn to laugh at yourself you can spread the message of your musical choice even more, and your band will pick up the theme and become a lot more spontaneous and interesting to watch and listen to.
calibration of microphone levels and mic distances can be tricky when you are playing in a small space, as you want to balance the apparent size of the room with the sound of your instruments.
The obvious image of the singer and the instrumentalist standing together holding the mic in their hands is often the result of the mic being too close to their mouth. reduce the effect of this by aiming the mic slightly to the front of the guitar so that the singer’s face is in line with the mic up to the top of the head. If you have the capability of aiming the mic even further, do it. If you find that you are having trouble just finding the front of the mic, get the help of a friend or an assistant to get your mic position.
Live voices vary greatly so the ability to ‘remember the words’ to particular songs that you have to sing over and over again, is something that you will get quite used to. When you are aiming to learn songs by memory, use a different song to master first.
Taking care of your instrument, which is not going to sound good from a live show, is crucial. Moisture and excessive temperature are a danger to the health of your instrument, so make sure you keep it in its case when you are not playing it.
When you are using your accessories like mic stands and your music stand, make sure that they are secure and adjustable. There is nothing worse than a moon that falls out of the mic stand while you are singing! Always keep your microphone in the case when you are not playing it, because there is no way for the mic to ‘come back’ and inconvenient for everyone including you.
When you are using your pick, make sure that you don’t have your other fingers on the strings. This will make it difficult for you to strum freely. Keeping your fingers close to the strings will make it easier for you to play your guitar, but these are your own details you need to pay attention to.
For a beginner, you may well have to look at ways of improving your playing style. This might mean signing up for a class or getting one of your own. Whatever you decide, you will need to practice and sharpen your skills regularly. You need to set aside time for this, even if it means skipping past the parts that you don’t understand or are having trouble with. These are the things you need to remember; it’s no use coming to the notice of the instructor and performing perfectly because you flubbed something fundamental.
Whatever you do, remember that it is best to keep trying until you get it right. You may well make many mistakes during your first few attempts to play, but don’t worry. With determination and perseverance, you will soon be able to make near-perfect music.
Overall, developing your music ability is a gradual process. You will need to dedicate a lot of time to practice, but when you get it right, it is a great feeling. Just keep practicing and don’t give up. Eventually, you will be able to perform freely and express your music…
…like building a house.