How to Make the Most of Your Live Performances

Live performance is at the heartbeat of our music industry, not only as a source of entertainment but also as an income stream…  

The sector is expected to be worth as much as £1.56 billion by 2025, almost as much as the £1.58 billion it was valued at pre-pandemic in 2019.  

With live gigs now very much back on the agenda, it’s important for artists, bands and performers to ensure they are ready to maximise any opportunities created. Here are some essential tips for anyone looking to take centre stage in 2022…

Think about what you want to get from your gig 

Before plotting a live performance, consider how this event will factor into your musical journey. Are you looking to just get out there and hone your live abilities? Or is it to celebrate the launch of new music? Perhaps you are looking to impress some industry tastemakers or influencers or it could be part of a gig exchange with another band from out of town. Make sure you can define why you’re playing, then you can plot accordingly about how you promote the night.  

You can also apply this way of thinking to your performance – how do you want your audience to feel on the night? What are your intentions from your set? By doing so, you can create a deeper connection with whoever is watching you in the room and hopefully you and your crowd will have an enhanced, shared experience.

Practice, practice, practice

This sounds obvious but do what you can to ensure you are gig-ready. Make sure you practise your parts and your performance as a whole band. Take the time to understand your equipment, the songs and their arrangements and go over any tricky parts or complex songs. Not only will this help you give your all when on stage but should enable you to take to the stage feeling confident. It’s a cliche but true: ‘failing to prepare is preparing to fail’.

Give yourself time for a soundcheck

If you want to sound as great as possible on the night, then try and give yourself plenty of time for a soundcheck. Each room can sound different so get to the venue early and work with the engineer on getting the levels for each instrument just right.  

It’s also important to remember that this shouldn’t be seen as an opportunity for you to practise or show off your skills. Instead, play or sing as you will be doing on the night itself. You want to be able to give the engineer the most realistic take on how you will sound so the audio can be adjusted accordingly. Be as patient and as collaborative as you can be and everyone will benefit.

Rehearse on the day of the gig

This can be an effective way of ironing out any last minute nerves alongside making sure all the gear you need is ready for your performance. By running through your set ahead of the performance, then you’ll be able to check all your equipment is gig ready and you know the parts to each song.  

Once the rehearsal is over, you can pack everything up and take it to the venue with you. This way, you can minimise the risks of forgetting any vital piece of gear. Providing yourself with peace of mind should provide you with the confidence to focus on your performance.

Embrace any errors and keep your performance going

If you believe everything you see on Instagram, then you’d be forgiven for thinking that some artists manage to achieve perfection when it comes to their gigs.  

In some instances this might be true, but you need to remember that in the real world, you are human and mistakes can happen. Don’t let this put you off from your performance. Instead go with the flow and focus on bringing your energy and passion. Audiences don’t usually want perfect performances. This is the nature of live music – instead embrace any errors and keep going!

Engage with your audience on stage

For your audience to enjoy the gig, you want them to be as engaged as possible with your performance. It’s all well and good to be lost in the music (and this might be part of your identity as a band) but it’s always worthwhile acknowledging your crowd. This can take the form of eye contact, introducing the band during the gig or interacting with the audience from the stage.

Sell merch and collect email addresses

On the night, your live performance is a vital part of your event. But don’t forget other opportunities to engage with potential fans. Take this chance to sell any merch or music you might have, get email addresses for your newsletter and meet fans face to face. If you have other events in the diary or new music on the way, then don’t forget to mention it.

Enjoy the moment

Performing live is one of the most exciting aspects for many music makers. This is a chance for you to play your songs (hopefully) in front of a crowd of people. So remember to try and enjoy the moment and have fun. Good luck!

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