Think about a time you witnessed an amazing singer perform live. They most likely hit all the right notes, had great pitch accuracy, their tone was no doubt amazing too. But often the performances that stand out to us are not necessarily the most ‘amazing’ performances, but perhaps the ones that are raw, heartfelt and connect with the audiences. Today we thought it may be helpful for our students to consider how they can connect with their audience – because singing is so much more than just hitting all the right notes!
Consider the lyrics
You would be surprised by how many students launch into learning a song without actually having any prior knowledge of what the song is about! However, here at SVA we think it is so important to know the true meaning behind a song (this can often also help to consider if a song is age-appropriate too). But before singing a song, consider if it is a sad or happy song. Think about the character – are they confused, angry, perhaps even crazy?! Once you know the meaning behind a song, you can then successfully attempt to channel this emotion and convey to the audience how you think the character would feel according to the lyrics. This deep reflection not only makes us more aware of what we are singing to, but subsequently helps you to perform in a way that is much more real and authentic, channeling the true emotional meaning of the song.
Acknowledge the audience
It is easy to forget that the performance actually starts the moment that you walk on the stage, not when you start singing! With this in mind, walk onto the stage confidently, giving the audience a smile. Say your name and the name of a song and perhaps even ask them if they are enjoying the show so far – it will no doubt engage them! If your song permits, why not get them to join in on your performance? Get them clapping or singing along to the lyrics – this will make it just as fun for them as it is for you!
Have positive energy to you
From the moment you hit the stage make sure you radiate positive energy – the audience will feed off this. Instead of focussing on the nervousness you are experiencing, try to focus your energy on being bubbly and upbeat. This will also help to minimise, and hopefully remove, feelings of nervousness too!
Your face says it all
Whilst it can be really scary to look to the audience, it is so important that you don’t have your eyes closed for the whole performance (which can be easy to do when you are nervous!). Every now and then it can be helpful to look as though you are connecting with the song, but doing it too frequently won’t help in connecting with your audience. If you have a bit of anxiety about making eye contact, maybe start by looking at people you are more comfortable with – mum, dad, grandma! Another helpful tip may be to look at someone’s forehead instead of their eyes. Don’t worry, they won’t realise – so why not give it a go?
Make your facial expressions and body language match the lyrics
As tempting as it may be to get on stage, sing the song and quickly exit, it is of great importance that you engage with the audience and change your facial expressions. We presume that when you talk to someone, you usually change your expression according to the nature of the conversation? Well, the same applies to singing! Make sure you know the content of the lyrics so that you can change your facial expressions and communicate accordingly to the nature of the song. If you are not overly sure of how to communicate with your facial expressions, try singing your song in front of the mirror at home. This way, you can be certain of how you will perform on the day.