Take time to get comfortable

Once on stage make sure to establish your space. Give yourself some time to take everything in and get used to the new environment. Be aware of the stage layout and where to stand or sit. Avoid standing in front of other band members and watch that you don’t bump into each other or your instruments. Face forward towards the audience and FIND THE LIGHT. The goal is to be clearly visible to the audience.

Relax your posture

Being on stage is an exhilarating experience. You’re adrenaline will be pumping, an your heart will be racing. It’s time to close your eyes and take a deep breath. Do your best to relax your posture and stand up nice and tall so everyone can see you clearly. Face forward – not sideways, backwards, or any other ‘wards’! And most importantly, remember to smile and have fun!

Make eye contact

This is a small touch that can bring great results. Scan across the room and establish a connection with your audience. Doing this lets them know you are there to give them a good show, and adds a nice personal touch to the whole event.

Exercise: While on stage, try to make eye contact with a person in the audience for 3-5 seconds (count if you have to), and then move on to a different person. Avoid staring at your instrument or hands the whole time and avoid looking at the ceiling or walls or exit etc.

Get your sound

How to Use a Microphone

  1. Adjust the stand to the appropriate height and angle. If you are playing an instrument while singing you will want the mic stand to be a little farther away so you have space.
  2. Checking the mic: Speak clearly into the mic at the same volume you plan to sing. Many people say “Check 1, 2” but you can even sing the ABCs.
  3. Microphone position:

How to Use a Microphone

Instrument Levels

If you instrument is being mic’d or plugged into the main system, make sure you stage volume is not too loud or too soft. Instruments should blend with the rest of the band.

Getting Your Sound

The sound that the audience hears is very different than what you hear on stage. The mixed sound goes through the mains, which are out in front of the stage. The sound that you will hear will be from your instrument/amp and what is being sent back through the monitors. Make sure to communicate with the sound engineer to get a proper level for both the mains and the monitors so you that you don’t get lost in the mix.

Mental Preparation


Just do it!!!!! Then do it again…and again. The more you perform the more comfortable you will become on stage. You will learn and grow from each experience, especially if you review your performance afterwards. Evaluated experience is the best teacher. If your performances are recorded you should watch/listen to them to learn what went well and what could be improved upon next time.


  • If you have time, warm up before performing. Practice scales or exercises that get your hands warmed up and stretched out so you can perform at your best. You wouldn’t want to run a marathon without warming up first, right?
  • TUNE! Always tune your instrument and double check that everything is set up properly before going on stage.
  • Setlist: if you are playing multiple songs, figure out the order ahead of time. That way when you are on stage you can be focused and efficient with your time. Long gaps between songs trying to figure out what to play next can bring down the energy of your set.

    If you practice your entire setlist at home from start to finish as a sort of mock performance, you will feel more prepared and confident when it comes time to do the real thing. You can even practice in front of a mirror to see what you look like on stage. Guitarist Steve Vai used to do this to work on making his playing look more smooth and relaxed.

Stage Fright and Nerves

Most people will experience some level of nervousness when getting on
stage. Like we said before, JUST DO IT! Your comfort zone will grow with each performance. The performance is the fruit of your practice effort. When you get on stage don’t think, just play. Most importantly, HAVE FUN!

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