Avoid a Performance Disaster
Life doesn’t stop, even when we are having a larger than life experience on stage things can and do go wrong. Here is just one example of not-so-ideal situation on stage, when Adele felt that she needed to start again during the 2017 GRAMMYS. She stays true to herself whilst dealing with a technical mishap and powered on in the second take, in a remarkably controlled and executed performance. We want to give you our top tips for avoiding stage mistakes, and for handling them when they are unavoidable.
1. Practice with a live audience
Simulate the nerve-racking environment by organizing a few live audience rehearsals. Perform your song, your set, or your entire show to a random audience such as your neighbors; or your parents’ friends; or your close friends and their families; or even your co-workers. Try to practice in front of a small audience first! Chose your audience by asking yourself this question: Who will make me the most nervous? By creating this trying situation in advance, you will be learning how your body reacts to pressure. By the time you hit the stage, you will be much more self-aware. This is a great tool.
If you’ve repeated this simulation exercise a few times it will become second nature to recognize if you’re suffering from a touch of nerves. This knowledge will calm you down and allow you to take back control of your body and voice. You’ll say to yourself, “I got this. I know my voice feels shaky right now, but when it felt like this before, I still hit the note. So, I’ll be able to hit it now!”
2. Rehearse your timing
We recommend practising with your accompaniment at a very low volume to see if you can still sing and/or play in rhythm and tempo. Consider video taping yourself and be honest about what you see and hear when you play it back. If you’re struggling to stay in time, work with a metronome or drum loop. If you have practised in this way, and end up having any technical difficulties during the performance itself, you’ll still deliver a great performance because you will trust yourself more.
3. Hand-write lyrics for memorization
If you are iffy on the words and know deep down that they won’t roll off your tongue readily, write the words down. And I mean, properly write them out old-school on a piece of paper with your fingers physically gripping a pen or pencil. This technique will solidify those words into your brain. Write out each verse until you get it correctly. The same goes for the chorus and bridge. And then, go back and write out the entire lyric to the song. You’re way less likely to forget words in moments of distraction or technical difficulties if you use this trick. Don’t stop, get it, get it (even after messing up). Remember, that no matter what happens on stage, you need to keep going. You’d be surprised how your audience will go with things as long as you believe it. Act as if it was exactly how it was supposed to go.
4. Train to keep your energy up
Keep your energy up. You may think this is obvious advice and with a roll of your eyes, be thinking; of course I’d keep my energy up. Yet, you’d be surprised and We caution you against underestimating the power that comes from preparing this skill in advance. Rehearsing with enthusiasm can go a long way. Training yourself to perform with energy also goes a long way. And practising to maintain a good attitude most definitely goes a long way.
If you watched Mariah Carey’s performance New Year’s Eve 2017, you noticed that it was riddled with technical challenges. No one knows exactly what went wrong up there except for her and the crew. And yet, to our surprise, she chose to focus her energy on what was going wrong, instead of using her vast experience and the platform of a world stage to create a positive spin. Regardless of the sound complications, she could have displayed enthusiasm and excitement through both her voice and body language.
5. You can’t plan for everything
Sure, you can do your best to: rehearse and make sure your crew and your band members are well informed; have a solid sound check; ensure your set lists are perfectly organized; your batteries newly replaced; and your voice wonderfully warmed up. Of course, you should do all these things as this is your best chance for success on stage. But, in the event that something goes wrong, just do your utmost to stay in the moment, don’t draw attention to the mistake, and remember to smile, because… you got this!