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Theory & Business

How To Improve Your Live Show As A Musician

Here are 4 tips you can’t do without.

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By Mike Romero

As a musician, it’s important to not only have a great sound but also to put on a killer live show. After all, what’s the point of pouring your heart and soul into creating music if you’re just going to stand there on stage like a statue? So, what can you do to take your live show to the next level?

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1. Invest In The Right Gear

First and foremost, it’s important to invest in the right gear. This means having high-quality instruments and equipment that can withstand the rigors of touring and performing. You may be tempted to go the cheap route. For performers in their early days this may be the smartest move. But once you’re getting paid to perform, you need to make sure your tones are top notch and you have everything you need at your fingertips in order to manifest your sonic vision. You wouldn’t expect a football player to hit the field with half a helmet or a sculptor to use Play-Doh.

It’s also a good idea to have backup gear on hand in case something goes wrong. Do you have extra picks in case yours tear or fall into the sound hole of your guitar? Is your stick bag full of extra drum sticks in case you slam the snare a little too hard? What about extra quarter inch cables or patch cables in case your pedal board stops working? Whenever something goes wrong in a show gear-wise, make a careful note of it. Then go out and buy what you need, and bring it with you next time.

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2. Plan Out The Technical Aspects of Your Show

Gear is just the beginning. It’s also essential to spend time rehearsing and practicing the technical aspects of your live show. This includes planning out things like stage presence, stage banter, and crowd interaction. It’s important to be able to engage and connect with your audience, and a little bit of humor or telling a quality story can go a long way in making your show more enjoyable for everyone. Don’t try to wing this. Plan what you’re going to do in advance.

Another important aspect to consider is lighting and stage design. A well-thought-out lighting setup can really enhance the overall atmosphere of your show, and it’s worth investing in a good lighting engineer or designer to help bring your vision to life.

3. Refine Your Performance

After planning out the flow of your show, you should spend ample time rehearsing the technical aspects surrounding the music. This includes things like facial expressions, body language, and stage movements. It’s important to put on a dynamic and engaging show, and that means moving around and interacting with the crowd.

Seattle native Josiah Johnson is a perfect example of executing a well-planned performance that feels natural and organic.
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One way to improve your stage presence is to study other musicians who are known for their live performances. Take note of what they do and how they engage with the audience, and try to incorporate some of those techniques into your own show. It can also be helpful to take acting or performance classes to help you develop your stage presence and performance skills.

In addition to all of this, it’s important to take care of yourself physically and mentally. This means getting plenty of rest, staying hydrated, and eating well before a show. This can be a real struggle while you’re on tour especially. If you’ve had gas station food more than 3 times in a week, it’s time to reconsider your road diet. It’s also a good idea to do some stretching or warm-up exercises before hitting the stage to help prevent injury, especially after sitting in a crowded van all day.

4. Build Out Your Team

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Finally, it’s crucial to have a good support team behind you. In the early days of your music career, you’ll wear a lot of hats. As you start playing more tour dates, traveling further, and getting in front of larger crowds, you’ll soon find that this is no longer sustainable. After being a low budget, starving musician for so long, it’s tempting to hoard your funds and to hang on to every last penny. But hiring good help will make all the difference.

Build out a solid team, including a reliable and professional tour manager, sound engineer, and lighting engineer. These people can help take the stress off of you so that you can focus on putting on the best show possible. After years of being the marketing manager, graphic designer, wardrobe coordinator, and bus driver, you can lose sight of what you originally set out to be: a musician. Getting a team around you can help you refocus on your creative purpose.

In conclusion, there are many factors that go into creating a great live show. From investing in the right gear and practicing the technical aspects, to working on your stage presence and performance skills, there’s always room for improvement. By putting in the time and effort and maybe spending a few extra dollars, you can take your live show to the next level and truly connect with your audience.

Make sure to follow Provo Music Magazine on Instagram. You can also listen to “Human Right” by The Strike – a band who consistently wows Provo with their engaging live shows.

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