I was 13 years old the first time I was asked to perform live in front of somebody. I still remember it to this day.
In my room, I was rapping and singing and I had all the confidence in the world, but when it came to performing to somebody or an audience, stage fright kicked in.
My older cousin and neighbor asked me to rap a verse to him, there and then on my doorstep.
I was terrified and shaking- it was unreal. He told me that the more I practiced, the better I would get.
I didn’t believe him!
By the time I was 18, I was performing all around the city. I was charismatic, confident, comfortable, and charming!
The four C’s!
He was right. I practiced and practiced, taking every opportunity to perform for somebody, from open mic shows, to charity events and ultimately, at 19, performing at Glastonbury the biggest music festival in the UK.
The confidence I earned through being on the stage had a compound effect and that confidence has never left me.
Now I want to share some of these key tips that helped me build my stage presence, beyond the four C’s (which you should absolutely save for later)
- How to Develop Your Performance
- 1. Perform Things That Make You Feel More Comfortable.
- 2. Practice Your Performance.
- 3. Become Comfortable With The People Around You.
- 4. Create A Likeable On-Stage Persona.
- 5. Dress The Part.
- 6. Learn To Take Up Space.
- 7. Be Active On Stage.
- 8. Create Choreography For The Performance.
- 9. Engage Your Audience.
- 10. Learn To Take Risks.
- 11. Know Your Worth.
How to Develop Your Performance
Long story short, being confident begins with pretending to be confident.
It takes time to build up your own confidence, but if you practice experiencing the way that being confident feels then you can slowly become more and more comfortable in yourself and your skills.
Here are my 11 tips for developing your performance confidence by faking your way to the top.
- Perform things that make you feel comfortable.
- Practice your performance and charisma.
- Become comfortable with the people around you.
- Create a likable persona.
- Dress the part.
- Learn to take up space.
- Be active onstage.
- Create choreography for the performance.
- Engage your audience.
- Learn to take risks.
- Know your worth.
Now, this isn’t an exact recipe for becoming the most confident person on stage, but it is certainly a good start.
Let’s dive a little more into what each of these tips really means and how you can get the most out of them.
1. Perform Things That Make You Feel More Comfortable.
When you’re getting started with building your confidence and stage presence, it’s important to learn the way it feels to be on stage and in front of people.
You don’t want to start off by throwing yourself into all of the stressors, so get comfortable standing on stage while performing music that you know and enjoy performing.
Presenting your audience with music that already makes you feel good about yourself and your skills will help to assure them that you both know what you’re doing and that you are as invested in your music as you want your fans to be.
Once you’ve started to get more comfortable with being on stage and in front of people, then you can start getting into the newer and less comfortable songs.
This could be as you approach the end of your set, or at a later show entirely.
2. Practice Your Performance.
No matter what you’re doing, whether it is performing on stage or learning to paint a sunset, you’ve got to remember that practice makes progress.
If you want to get better at performing and become more comfortable in your performances you’ve got to practice all of the things you’re doing on stage.
This means you need to practice your music, and get it to the point where you are so comfortable with it that you don’t even need to think about what you’re doing.
This is going to be essential to you if you have any problems with stage fright.
While you’re getting comfortable with your music, you should also be working on performing for people, whether that is playing for your friends, at parties, or finding small gigs and open mic nights to perform at.
All of this paired with making sure that you get a good mic check and practice run at your actual performances will truly set you up for success.
3. Become Comfortable With The People Around You.
Whether you’re an independent singer-songwriter or part of a full 10 piece band, there is always going to be someone who is around you all of the time.
Take the time to get comfortable with them, whether that means having your own little retreat with them, working with them directly or anything else that it might take.
These people are going to be your closest support system and being able to utilize them is a must.
Also make sure to get comfortable with the people that you aren’t always going to be around.
This might be a little harder, but it is very worth it to make friends with the venue you’re performing at, in order to keep performing there and have more comfortable shows in the future.
4. Create A Likeable On-Stage Persona.
Creating a likeable on-stage persona can play a crucial part in pretending to be confident.
Whether that persona is simply the “stage confident” version of you or a total alter ego, deciding who you want to present to the world can help you immensely.
Doing this allows you to separate your fears and uncertainties about performing and being on stage from the act of performing itself.
It allows for you to justify the reasonable stress you have, while actually stepping away from it to truly enjoy just how fun and exciting it is to be on stage and share your music with the people around you.
Remember when Beyoncé said that she channeled Sasha Fierce?
This notion is all about investing in yourself and appearance so you feel good inside-out, using positive affirmations and building charisma in the mirror, and, paying attention to body positioning and how you hold yourself.
5. Dress The Part.
Similar to defining your own persona, dressing in a way that either makes you feel comfortable enough to act out more, or dressing in a way that draws attention to you can really help with your confidence on stage.
These are two main directions that you can take with your performance wardrobe.
Dress For Comfort
Dressing in a way that makes you feel the most like yourself can take away an extra stressor when you are on stage.
Whether comfortable feels like a hoodie or a sequined miniskirt is up to you, but just make sure it feels like something that you don’t have to worry about when running around, singing, or doing whatever it is that you do on stage.
Dress For A Wow Factor
If you are more interested in dressing to draw the attention of your fans, something that can make people feel more comfortable with messing up on stage, then feel free to go all out.
This can help you to boost your confidence in all kinds of ways. Just make sure it allows you to still physically do everything you need to do on stage.
Generally, I would suggest finding a happy medium between these two directions. Some people have brought themselves to the top of the top with one extreme or the other, though.
Just remember that whatever makes you feel the best is what’s right for you.
6. Learn To Take Up Space.
Once you have gotten to a point where you feel more comfortable and confident on stage, then you can start learning to exude that confidence into your fan base.
You can learn to make the stage feel like home and use every inch of it to create a show worth remembering.
Creating a presence for yourself, whether it is through having a cool, spread-out set, moving around, or simply having the confidence to make the stage feel like your own will do wonders for your show.
It can be a bit of a personal challenge but making yourself the center of attention is a great way to crank up your show.
7. Be Active On Stage.
Going further into taking up space, you’ve got to be active and really get into being on stage.
Depending on the genre you’re in, you may be doing intensely practiced choreography, or Rockstar level jumps with your guitar, but any sort of motion and action will take your show to the next level.
Filling the stage with your own creativity and motion can really help you to get all of your audience involved.
While there is certainly a time and place for sitting on your stool for the entire set, a show where you are all over and moving around is always going to be more visually appealing and fun to watch. Try it out and see what moves work best for you.
8. Create Choreography For The Performance.
Now this part can range from setting up a full dance routine to simply deciding what part of the stage you’re going to be on throughout the song.
The fact of the matter is that it’s meant to take away all of the extra thinking you might have to do throughout the show.
If you already know how it feels to perform the song, then you don’t have to be worried about whether or not one side of the audience is getting more attention than the other or if you look okay doing the moves you’re doing.
Once you’ve decided everything beforehand, then it’s all smooth sailing during the show.
9. Engage Your Audience.
This is another thing you can plan and choreograph. Add pieces to your set that your audience can join in on.
Whether it’s a chant, clapping, waving their arms or anything else you can think of, letting them be a part of the performance can make it all the more memorable for them and for you.
There are a lot of ways to get your audience involved with your show, and the more comfortable you are with them and with yourself, the more you’re really able to do it.
10. Learn To Take Risks.
Now, this is a step that you should wait to take until you have really found comfort on the stage.
Don’t feel the need to force risks if you can’t feel confident in your base-level skills on stage.
Once you are there, though, then you get to really do the things that make heads turn.
Whatever kind of risk you might want to take, whether it’s a new song, a new dance move, a different style, or anything else, making headlines on stage will always draw attention to you.
It’s a great way to gain new fans and really cement your older ones. Just know that sometimes risks don’t always work out, and be prepared to bounce back when they don’t.
11. Know Your Worth.
At the end of the day, if you are confident in your music and your ability to perform on stage, then everything else is going to come.
Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. Trust your own skills and your judgment, as well as the judgment of the people you know want to see you succeed.
There are so many ways to become confident and put on a good performance as a musician. Find what works best for you and run with the things that make you feel your best while playing the music that you love.
Good things always follow when you put in the time and effort to really perfect the work you’re doing.
It might not come quickly, but it will surely come in time.
Hopefully these 11 tips and tricks to developing performance confidence help you to become the best you can be as an artist.