Article by: Costis de Viant
VQS Advice Blog | Cover Image by Sebastian Ervi
Music is one of the most powerful languages in this world. And musicians are the gifted ones who deliver beautiful messages directly to the heart.
4 Tips to Connect Deeper With Your Audience
The best and most effective way to do that is through live performances. Even though the primary objective is to enthrall the audience, that is not always an easy task. Noises, nervousness, lack of concentration, a distracted crowd, technical issues, mistakes, bad quality sound equipment, and countless other issues can interfere with that goal and distance your audience even further from the desired emotional connection.
However, when that connection is achieved, the reward is truly invaluable. Your audience remembers your performance, your songs, your voice, and adds you to their “favorites” list. Consequently, you grow your fan base through the most effective marketing method of all: word of mouth. So here’s:
1. Practice Makes Perfect
Extensive practicing is a vital component to any musician’s performance. And here is why: it will help you feel more ready and more comfortable while performing. Even if you are nervous before and during the show, if you have thoroughly practiced your songs, that can help you zone in to your performance and filter out any unwanted “noises”. In addition, by spending time practicing your songs before a show, you allow yourself the chance to experiment with their sound, their tempo, and their unique characteristics, and determine how to best present them to your audience.
If you are playing with other musicians, practicing solo or altogether ensures you are all on the same page and trust each other to deliver a great performance. It also helps you put specific cues in place so that “guessing” and mistakes can be avoided while on stage, ensuring a more optimal performance.
Another way of using practice as a way to connect with your audience is by making your practice sessions as “realistic” as possible. One trick is to project your audience in your mind: think of a specific friend who is coming, or of your partner, or a family member.
Pretend you are playing in front of them, and for them; think of their reactions.
That will create a familiar feeling when you are on stage. In addition, you can intentionally make a couple of mistakes during practice, to train yourself to recover from them while onstage. That will help you turn a negative situation into a positive one, when it’s most needed.
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2. Build a Rapport
Before playing each song, it really helps to provide a brief introduction about it for your audience, even for the cover songs. When the audience hears the story behind each song, they not only listen to the songs more attentively but also connect with you on a more personal and deeper level.
By opening a window into your “composing psyche”, you allow them to understand you and your journey up until that point.
It is always inspiring to see an audience actively participating during the performance. Allow your audience to sing with you, or encourage them to clap along or participate in other ways, like making accompanying sounds when you need them to. That will make them feel included and involved, and will consequently increase your connection with them. Draw inspiration and support from your most enthusiastic supporters, and channel that into your performance.
DON’T RUSH IN
Another helpful piece of advice here is to only start when you are 100% ready – don’t rush! Make sure that your sound is the way you want it, even if that means sacrificing a few songs from your playlist.
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3. Be Grateful
We always hope for bigger audiences, and when that expectation is not met, it can be easy to feel disappointed, which can negatively impact our performance and connection.
Keep in mind that even if no one comes, you are still on that stage, and that is special. Accept every performance as a “trial” and a new chance to improve your skills and style. So, be grateful for the opportunity you have been given, and always thank your audience after every song.
4. How to Play with Purpose
When you are on stage (even a virtual one) instead of allowing the thought “all eyes are on me” to break you down, try focusing on why you are there. It’s because you are special and you do have something your audience needs to hear. And even though that can be a difficult task to accomplish while performing, remember to live in the moment – your moment.
A useful method is closing your eyes to block out the external stimuli. This does not disconnect you from your audience. On the contrary, it promotes a deeper connection – one that allows you to dive deeper into yourself and channel your emotions more purely.
And your audience can certainly sense that. To achieve this, it is essential to acknowledge the state and mood you are in. If you are sad, try making a song slower or more melancholic; if you are in an ecstatic mood, try changing the tempo of the song or hitting specific notes vividly.
Be playful, be bold, and most of all, be you. Your audience is there to see and hear you perform. And what better way of showing them how grateful you are by sharing with them your music.
Article by: Costis de Viant
VQS ADVICE BLOG | MINDSET TOOLS FOR CREATORS