Experienced singers wake up on the day of the performance with a plan. They’ve done their homework, know their bodies’ responses to stress and nerves, and have taken steps to ensure their success. With the groundwork laid, there’s no question that the show will go off without a hitch. But, how did they get this smoothly oiled machine to work in their favor?
As a beginning performer, you might feel lost, overwhelmed, or even surprised at the complexity of presenting in the performing arts. The act of performance itself is a big hurdle to clear– no matter how much you’ve planned out your material and practiced the perfect execution, things are liable to change under the circumstances of performance. Here are some influential elements that the pros plan for that might have escaped your notice:
- Inside vs. Outside: vocal performers may be sensitive to the heat of stage lights or sunshine, the dryness of air conditioning or cold outside air, irritants like dust or other allergens, etc.
- Acoustics: The size, shape, and capacity of the space you perform in will affect the way you hear yourself and your bandmates. Monitors can help, as can singing guided by sensation instead of sound (a pivotal skill covered in singing lessons).
- Adrenaline: Even the most prepared, polished performer will likely experience a spike in adrenaline before taking the stage. Whether from nervousness or excitement, chemical changes in the body will have effects that you didn’t have to account for in the practice room. Watch out for more shallow breathing, greater thirst/dehydration, even muscle tension or cold extremities!
Every body is different so the only way to plan for physical changes related to performing is to put yourself in performance settings as often as possible. Eventually, you’ll know what to expect and will be able to adapt on the fly without throwing yourself off! Muscle memory is your friend: during performance preparation and practicing, listen to your body and practice each phrase of your songs in isolation rather than singing the entire song straight through. Be sure to reinforce the action of singing each phrase in the exact way you want to so that your body remembers the coordination to pull it off.
Learning what questions to ask before accepting a gig can be part of your planning process. What matters to your success? If you need to ensure there won’t be air conditioning blowing in your face, do it! Be the lead singer who demands water; this is your vocal health we’re talking about! It’s not uncommon for singers to bring their own microphone to eliminate one more factor that could sway their performance. If your goal is to market the product of your voice and performance, your job needs to be to protect the comfort, health, and success thereof!
Cardon Voice offers students frequent performance opportunities to ensure that this area of your vocal development is not neglected. Sign up today to start tackling your goals with the support of encouraging peers and knowledgeable teachers.