Preparing for a Vocal Performance

Preparing for a Performance


The nerves! The energy! The excitement! So much to think about! How can you ensure a fabulous and fun performance? By following the exercises below, you can really carve out a deep connection to the songs you are singing, and the performance you want, and know you can, deliver!

Record yourself/Listen back

Do you “miss” any notes, or are you practically perfectly on pitch the whole time? If you missed a few, figure out where they were, what vowel is being sung, and see if you can better establish the “pitch center” of the word. If the note is in a bridge area of the voice, you may need to modify the vowel slightly to keep it in tune.

3-mics-performanceThe story: Who; What; Where; When; How; and Why?

Become the story teller. Establish who you are in the song, who is in the story, and who you are singing too. There is no limitation here – be creative! The more wild and adventurous your choices are, the more wild you can give your singing permission to be. What’s the story? Where are you when you’re telling the story? When is the story happening? How is the story being told (first, 2nd, or 3rd person)? Most importantly, WHY are you telling the story??? Why should your audience be interested in being interested?

The musical bluebrint

In light of the questions above, look at your song, and lay out the groundwork for how you will convey all the naunces of your story as it unfolds over musical time. Choose just 2 or 3 musical things you can do, that will shift your storytelling towards your personal interpretation: Where and how will you provide energetic and musical vocal accents, or pauses? Will you take away or add notes? How will you increase or decrease the vocal dynamic? What kind of vocal sounds can add to your story? Are there vocal things you are doing at any point that take away from the intention of your musical blueprint? Also, note where any difficult passages are, if any, and make a mental note to be present to that passage when it arrives in your practice. You may need to be more focused on executing that particular passage in the song, than putting your energy at that time into projecting your story, for instance… How can you better plan those precious few seconds?

performing-live-onstageAnxiety Management

As a performer, you need to be natural onstage. You need alot of energy, but not so much that you become overwhelmed with nervous energy, or negative thoughts. How can you find your “zone”, and be ready to step into it? Where does the anxiety come from? What are your thought processes? How can you compensate for them? You may need positive self-talk to re-orient yourself back to having a successful and fun performance! You may also want to use imagery or breathing exercises to reduce your anxiety, and reconnect you to your body, and the state of mind you require for your song.


This is taken from “Coaching The Artist Within”: Creating requires a centered presence. Here is my definition of the term CENTER:

  • Come to a complete stop.
  • Empty yourself of expectations.
  • Name your work.
  • Trust your resources.
  • Embrace the present moment.
  • Return with strength.

Practice AS IF you were performing

This means NO stopping and rewinding. You must put yourself in the moment of the performance, and practice existing in that moment, so it doesn’t surprise you as much when the moment happens. Use visualization. Completely immerse yourself in the experience, if you can. Where is the audience? How are your nerves? What are you feeling? What deters you from the focus of your performance?