By Lorraine Lawson for CMM (Canadian Musician Magazine).
Learning how to plan, practice and execute a performance are the 3 key components the artist must master in order to confidently connect to the audience in a memorable way.
One of the most significant benefits of taking the time in the planning phase is that it helps the artist and the artist’s team, stay organized and focused on what is needed in the short term as well as have a strong vision for the future.
It’s important to first break down each goal into manageable steps, making them more achievable. This not only increases the likelihood of success, but it also helps individuals feel more in control and less overwhelmed by the list of tasks and to-do’s.
The plan is best when it is within a person's skill level. It may be challenging to achieve but making a goal that is too challenging can be frustrating, and disappointing and often leads to a lack of momentum. Keep in mind, it's tough to keep the big vision alive without lots of small wins along the way.
Many artists start out planning a live show that is beyond where they are not only in terms of their skill level but also their budget and the size of their fan base. They want to showcase their potential of where they want to go instead of concentrating on what they do really well right now.
For example, they may book a venue that is too big, hire a big band or maybe get dancers both of which require a lot of rehearsal time and big budgets. They sometimes choose repertoire that is too vocally challenging or performs a song they just recorded or simply lack the experience to confidently talk the audience between songs.
In my performance coaching sessions, I always start by asking a lot of questions including WHY do YOU love to perform? WHY do you want to perform for this audience? What do you want to achieve from this doing the show or tour? What does the audience, or agent or promoter expect from your performance? And simply how long is the show supposed to be?
We discover where the Artist really is, in terms of their vocal and physical performance abilities, and build from there. The worst thing an artist can do is work for a choreographer when they don’t know how to dance or don’t have the time to practice properly.
Asking questions like “How do you want the audience to feel as they are watching your show” and “What do you want the audience to say after watching the show?”
It’s so important to plan and practice what you want to say throughout your show that reflects your artist persona and ensures the audience knows exactly how to follow you and even more importantly, how to stay connected to you and you to them.
My coaching sessions are about digging deeply into how far an artist is willing to explore who they are and how we create something super exciting but completely predictable at the same time.
Every live performance is an opportunity to show who you are, where you are, and where you are going. People don’t pay money to see someone’s potential. They want to witness someone who is confident in their ability to deliver a great show and connect with the audience.
Asking important questions like “How much planning and practicing will it take to execute the show you envision?” And “How much time, effort, and money are you able to invest?” These 3 pillars directly affect where you are and what you can do now to move your career forward one show at a time.
An artist performing at a smaller venue that is full is way cooler than performing at a bigger venue that is empty. An artist that can command a stage alone or with just 1 or 2 musicians is always more impressive than a show that has a ton of people of the stage but is under-rehearsed and not confident in what they are doing.
No matter what the size of the show, the audience comes out to see and hear live music because of how the artist can make them feel! That is no joke. As cliché as that sounds, it’s totally true.
Think about what ‘feeling’ you want to guarantee the people who watch you perform and work really hard to consistently deceive it every time.
Our LVS Performance Bootcamps are designed not just to build vocal and physical performance skills, we also to make sure an artist is ready for any potential problems that inevitably will occur. It's important for people to be able to make necessary adjustments to their original plan, and roll with whatever might happen. This comes from practice and experience. For example, the singer's in-ear monitors or a microphone might stop working or there could be a massive rainstorm during an outdoor festival, or someone’s outfit could rip in front of hundreds if not thousands of people. Whatever the problem, the Artist who has put in the time to build their skills and experience can turn lemons into lemonade because they trust their skills to pull off the show no matter what happens.
After performing the same show over and over, the Artist develops muscle memory to be able to generate the emotions the audience comes to expect. This level of consistency is directly connected to how disciplined the Artist is in their planning and practice.
I am always honoured to help an artist accelerate their growth to becoming the artist they want to be on and off the stage through careful planning, enough practice, and of course the highest level of execution.