This morning, after playing for a group of people at church, I was struck how new the experience feels each time, even though I've been performing for ten years.
Here are some thoughts I want to recall and also share with you dear readers, about what to do when you are performing:
- Relax - if your shoulders, neck, arms and back are tense, it will greatly affect your playing. Deep breaths and finding ways to calm your nerves before stepping on stage are vital. Most of the time the mistakes I make while playing live are directly related to being too tense.
- Be Prepared - This will also play into my main point. Being unprepared will turn you into a bundle of nerves. Practice, practice, practice your set list until muscle memory kicks in. Know it blind. For a performer to do a solid job while playing the guitar and simultaneously singing, you must know your material front and back
- Enjoy the moment- some people get so freaked out by being on stage, they never experience the joy it is to interact and engage the audience. When people hear and respond to your music, it is one of the most energizing things. It's a natural high. So don't rob yourself by being so inward focused that you miss the connection with those you are playing for.
- Get into a groove- this one is very hard to pinpoint, but it's almost as if your entire body is in the rhythm of your instrument and you are in the players zone. Every lick sounds delicious, every chord rings true and all your notes are perfection. When you have a groove, you know it. You are relaxed, yet intent on your playing and you feel the music inside of you
- Be You - love what you are playing. Don't focus on the mechanics as much as the passion of playing itself. Singing and performing your own material or material that resonates is one of the best ways to connect with your audience.