Becoming a successful musician isn’t always about how well you can sing or play an instrument.

It is also important to be able to have a strong stage presence. This is sometimes easier said than done and often comes down to confidence. Shannon Brown is a former tenor and musical director for the internationally acclaimed group ‘The Ten Tenors’, has performed the Nation Anthem at the State of Origin and is also a Song Writing and Music lecturer here at JMC Academy. We have put together some of his top tips to help you improve your stage presence and performance. 

Look like you’re enjoying yourself. 

Smile. If you look like you are having fun, the audience will automatically pick up on your good vibe and bounce off of it! Don’t be afraid to show your excitement, you SHOULD love what you are doing!

Practise, then practise some more. 

As mentioned before, strong stage performance often comes down to confidence. The best way to gain confidence is to practise. Your playing, your band-mates, your moves and anything that might happen on stage, you should know it like the palm of your hand. That means countless hours of practising in the rehearsal place but also at home in front of the mirror.

"The habits that enable you to perform expressively on stage can only be instilled through practice and rehearsal. When you’re onstage, you should be able to feel secure and creative. If not, the reasons probably stem from the habits you reinforce in rehearsal."
Shannon Brown, Sydney Music Lecturer

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Practise in front of people

By accepting more gigs, you will lose some of the fear that comes with performing live. You may always have some nerves and jitters, but by gaining lots of experience performing in front of people, it will get easier and you will learn to overcome these and perhaps even use your nerves to enhance your music and performance. 

Keep Moving

It can be really awkward if a musician sits still and doesn’t move at all during a set. Even if it is just incorporating more arm movement and body expressions into your music, you want the audience to feel like they can also move to the music, which is hard when the musician is sat like a rock. Even just a little bit of a moment can attract the audience’s eyes. 

Connecting with your Audience.

The performers who connect from the stage help establish relationships with their audience. Remember that your role is to entertain and take your listeners on a journey.

Have confidence in what you are performing

Enjoy the songs you play. If you are playing songs you are unsure about or don’t enjoy, it will make you even more nervous and the likelihood is that it will show. However, don’t let this mean you settle. Get out of that comfort zone every now and then to try different things so you can build the confidence you need to bring into your stage performance.

Pictured: Kirsten Salty, Music Performance Alumni

Watch yourself on video

Being on stage and in the audience are two quite different experiences. Watching yourself on video can help you clarify where you need to improve. Maybe that move you thought looked super awesome maybe doesn’t look quite so good after all. Jot down what you need to improve on or maybe where you need to try something new. 

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Watch your idols

Take time to watch people performing on stage and see what you like that they do or how they do it to use for yourself. It’s not copying or stealing, it’s taking advice. Watch people you know you aspire to perform like, and see why you enjoy watching them so much. 

Be yourself

If being a crazy loud rockstar just isn’t you, then don’t pretend to be one. Work the audience in the best way you know- by being yourself. Try different things to figure out what you’re comfortable doing and most of all, enjoy your own style of performing!

Let's watch Shannon Perform and put his own advice into practice!

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