How do you measure a great performance?
A great performance is not measured simply by how you feel at the end of it; more to the point is the response of your audience and how they feel when they leave your gig at the end of the night. Let’s look at it from the perspective of you throwing a party. The success of the party is based upon how your guests feel about the time that they had. You may have spilled a drink or even had to run out to buy more food, but if they had a good time, that’s what matters.
A successful performance is measured similarly. You may have forgotten lyrics, or even cracked on a high note, but if you kept your audience emotionally involved with each song you sang and made their hearts sing, you succeeded.
Filling Your Performance Area
Otherwise known as stage projection, presence or charisma, the ability to take command of your performance space is an essential ingredient for skillful song delivery and performance success. If, when you perform, you are closed-in to yourself, you will not be able to give out any effective or compelling energy from the stage. Consequently, you won’t be able to make much, if any, impact on your audience.
Conversely, extroverting your attention outward to your audience can help to give you a sense of space and certainty into which you can project yourself and communicate your music. Being a dynamic performer does not necessarily mean jumping all over the stage. It does mean that you fill the performance area (rather than shrink from it) and that you give to your audience rather than being focused on taking from them.
I’m not saying that you won’t get anything back, just that while singing and performing, you are placing yourself in the position of the one who puts out rather than takes in. Of course developing a voice that you can trust and through which your emotion can flow is the flip side of the coin. To accomplish all of these factors, having a pro vocal coach can be essential – you need to have someone who is both objective as well as knowledgeable in how to bring out the best in you, your voice and your performance.
Choosing the Right Song
You may have an excellent voice but if you have not picked the right songs, you start with a big strike against you. If you’re not singing your own material it can be a real challenge to take a song that is well known and turn it into something distinct enough to give it your own signature. The songs you select must include several factors:
“Selling” Your Song
Having selected the right song(s), you need to know how to sell it; how to really bring out your voice and take the risks that will make this song the most memorable performance your audience or judges have heard to date. This in no small part depends upon your ability to commit to the song and the delivery of its communication.
You need to know how to bring out the best of yourself and put it on the line.
When you practice, focus first on resolving any technical details; then, practice for the performance of the song. Your audience’s attention will be guided by what your attention is on. If you are not fully engaged in your song, its meaning and message neither will your audience. If your attention goes to something other than the delivery of the song, your audience will also lose focus. As the performer you are the travel guide.
Most successful performers develop their skills from experience over a long period of time. But if you work on each aspect of performance as you do your voice, you’ll be able to acquire these skills faster than by hit or miss experiences.