Playing live and performing is one of the most exciting things you can ever do as a musician. The rush of hearing the crowd applaud, the feeling of live instruments at loud volumes, the thrill of knowing that the performance could be incredible or disastrous… it’s all part of the thrill.

This article has been written for Rockschool on behalf of by Leigh Fuge

If you’re new to performing, or you’re thinking about getting started and you want to improve your confidence, here are a few simple tips and tricks you can do to help you own the stage.

Eye Contact With Audience Members

At the most basic level, a performer's job is to connect with the audience. The easiest way to do this is to simply look people in the eye. Make that connection with the people watching you perform. It creates a bond between you and the audience that helps sell your performance.

Project Confidence

Suffering stage fright? Not feeling confident? We’ve all been there.

Even if you are not confident, when you step on that stage you have to be larger than life. Try to project confidence and make people think you’re a confident performer. Try to imagine yourself playing to your ideal crowd, or perhaps focus on performing to one person to ease the nerves.

You may even consider creating a stage name/alter ego for yourself to perform as, so you can leave the real you backstage for after the show.

Study the Greats

Make a list of your 10 favourite performers and then study them. Watch live footage to see how they perform, how they move, how they connect with people and how they act on stage. You can learn from studying the giants of the stage.

Trust Your Bandmates

You want the on-stage zone to be as stress free as possible. A big part of this is trust. You need to enter a performance with full trust in your bandmates that they will do the right thing and hold down their parts without you needing to worry about them. Develop that trust with each other as musicians and it will really help your performance bloom.

Trust Your Gear

As with trusting your bandmates, you also have to trust your equipment. If you’re a guitar player and you have a cable that you know sometimes crackles and cuts out, replace it! You have to have full trust in every person and item on that stage. You have to know it won’t fail you in the heat of the moment.

Have Fun and Plan for the Unexpected

The most important thing is just have fun. Things will go wrong, it's inevitable. You may hit a wrong chord, or sing the wrong line, but don’t worry. Enjoy it and embrace it. I used to stress about nailing a note perfect gig every night until I saw one of my favourite bands, Aerosmith, completely mess up the intro to one of their biggest hits, 'Dream On', live on stage at a festival in front of 88,000 people.

You know what they did?

They laughed, exchanged smiles and carried on with the job at hand and no one in the audience cared. They embraced their mistake and the audience loved it.

Don’t let one bad note ruin a thousand good ones.

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About the Author:

This article has been written for Rockschool on behalf of by Leigh Fuge, an experienced guitarist, tutor and journalist from Wales. Leigh is part of a community of professional guitar teachers offering guitar lessons to students around the world. Read more of Leigh's pieces relating to Rockschool here...