How To Master Your Live Performance

Putting on an amazing show is imperative to the success of your music career. Performing is not only one of the best ways to get your name out there and gain new fans, but as album sales for artists have dramatically decreased, touring has become one of the main sources of income for artists. Perfecting your performance definitely takes trial and error but there are a few things that you should always pay attention to and do your best to master. In this article, I am going to give you a few tips to help you put on the best show ever.

  • Mic Control –  The microphone can be your best friend or your enemy. It’s your job to be able to make the mic your friend. You don’t want to grip the entire microphone by the tip because it makes your voice sound muffled. You also don’t want to put your lips directly on the microphone for that same reason. You want to keep the mic at a very healthy distance from your mouth (a few inches away). It is good to rehearse with a microphone so that you can get used to it. Another problem that I’ve seen is that artists get so hype while performing that they don’t always sing/rap into the mic. You need to have complete control of the microphone and wherever your mouth goes, the mic follows right along with it. You don’t want to perform and your fans only hear a choppy version of your song because you keep moving the mic away from your mouth. Last but not least, if you are a singer, you need to distance the microphone from your mouth when you are belting out them high notes. Nothing worse than a singer yelling into the microphone, it takes away a lot from the music.

  • Connect/Engage Your Audience – Have you ever been to a performance where the artist performs at you and not for you? This happens more often than not. As an artist, it is your job to engage your fans. If you involve the audience, they will be forced to pay attention. Make everyone in the audience feel like they are involved. If the crowd seems a bit low energy, get creative, hype them up! And don’t just stand there, move around (don’t overdo it, but definitely don’t just stand there the whole time). The whole stage is yours, use it.

  • Hype Man – You ever go to a show and then can’t even find the person with the mic in their hand because there’s so many other people on stage with them? Having a hype man is one thing, but bringing your whole crew on stage is distracting and can take away from your performance as a whole. Instead of having everyone on stage, how about you send them into the audience to keep everyone hype and into the show? If you are a major artist and want to bring your crew on stage, you can do that because you are already known and everyone already loves you. However if you are an indie artist that is trying to build your buzz, you need to keep the focus on YOU and not bring a million people on stage with you.

  • Show Tracks/Live Band – Having a live band is always a great way to engage the audience. The band is able to keep everyone entertained between songs and can really help give your music a dope feel. If you don’t have a band that’s perfectly fine, not all artists use one, but always make sure your sound is on point. Do not sing over your actual radio edited record. You need to get show tracks that you can use for your performance. The audience came to hear your natural voice over the music, not to listen to you singing over the track that they already have on their iPod.

  • Be Prepared, Anything Can Happen – There’s lots of things that can happen at a live show so you need to be prepared for the worst. Whatever you do, never freak out when something goes wrong. It is always better to have a sound check before the show starts to avoid as many issues as possible, but if there are technical difficulties during your performance, you must be professional about it! The crowd will appreciate an artist that can improvise and not lose their cool. And whether you have an audience of 50 people or 5000 people, the audience came for a great show and you need to be sure to deliver. Never let the size of a crowd intimidate you.

  • Go Out With a Bang –  Be sure to thank your audience! They gave you time to perform for them! And if you are an indie artist trying to get your brand out there, you should always stay after your performance and interact with everyone around you. Bring merchandise and music to give away or sell at your show. Ask people how your performance was. Take out the time to introduce yourself to people, sign them up to your mailing list, follow them on Twitter, etc.

Whatever you do, be sure that every performance is always better than your last. In order to get people to keep coming to your shows, you have to bring something different and keep everyone entertained. A great way to improve your performing skills is by video taping every show and then analyzing the footage. Find out what worked and what didn’t. Think about shows that you have been to, what did you like about them? Try to give the audience everything that you loved when you were in the audience at one point. Your goal should be to leave everyone with that ‘wow’ feeling.


  1. Great advice. . .taking it all in!