The Importance Of Live Music Performance
For the professional and student alike, performing is an integral part of being a musician. Learning to focus all the things we work on in the practice room into a cohesive performance can be overwhelming.
Sometimes every detail has been rehearsed and planned and yet when it comes time to get on stage nerves get the best of us. Don’t fret! Everyone experiences this at some point. Learning to channel this feeling helps us grow through music.
Taking slow deep breaths helps relax the body and focus the mind. Don’t wait until stage time to do this. Make relaxed breathing a part of your daily routine. Imagine yourself on an enormous stage and all you are doing is breathing. No tension, no stress. By visualizing being relaxed on stage you can teach yourself not to tense when the time comes. Mind over matter!
Performing often is also crucial to finding a quiet place on stage. Take EVERY opportunity to perform, there is no better teacher than experience. (Open Mic provides a weekly performance opportunity for students!) Even if you only know a few songs, feeling comfortable and confident in those tunes will make getting up in the future much easier. Your last chance to perform this year is at our first Student/Teacher Jam on Dec 30th.
Play with others! Many are intimidated by playing or performing with other musicians but getting on the bandstand is the way to getting better. Watch and absorb from more experienced players. Learn to ‘lay back’ and listen.
Music is a language and playing with even one other person should be like a conversation. Speaking the language in real life musical situations will allow you to become fluent very quickly.
Finally, know how to be relaxed at your instrument. Here are some starting points, talk to your teacher about specifics on your instrument.
Singers – Find an open stance, feet shoulder length apart, knees slightly bent with arms hanging loose at your sides. Adjust your mic stand accordingly or hold the mic in a loose grip.
Pianists – Center yourself in front of the keyboard. Sit with shoulders relaxed and arms loose. Back straight but not tight. Locate the pedal with your right foot keeping your right heel on the ground.
Guitar/Bass – Let your instrument hang comfortably on the strap or find a good balancing spot while sitting. Don’t lean on the guitar, let it breathe. Keep your picking hand loose and don’t squeeze the instrument.
Drummers – Sit up straight and find your center of gravity, make sure you can comfortably reach all drums without straining. Hold the sticks lightly, no death grips!
If you want to build a career as a working musician, there are additional things you can focus on to build necessary skills beyond performing!
About John Baptista
John has over 8 years of teaching experience, with Rick’s since 2010 plus more than 15 years of performance experience. A grad of Berklee College of Music with specialized training in Vocal Performance and advanced Jazz theory, John teaches all levels of Voice, Piano, Guitar, Bass and Music Theory.
He also heads up our Jam Camp Program and runs our A Cappella group, “The Crescendorks” His honest dedication to his students and his craft inspire his student to reach higher.