Unsigned Advice

Live performance tips to help you put on a great show

Live performance tips to help you put on a great show
October 26, 2023
Whether you're an established artist with hundreds of gigs under your belt, or a new band looking for your first gig, perfecting a live music performance can be nerve-racking and challenging. That's why we've put together this list of essential tips and tricks to make sure that you get the best out of all your live shows.

Looking to start playing more gigs and festivals near you? Check out our map of the best music festivals you can apply to play at. All over the world. All for free.

Top tips for performing music live on stage

Every top performer started somewhere. No matter how confident or prepared some of your favourite acts might look on stage, they'll all have been in a similar position to you at some point or another. They might still even be - they're just great at hiding it!

To help you reach new heights, here are some top tips to get the most out of your live performances.

Live performance tips to help you put on a great show


1. Practice makes perfect.

The oldest cliche in the book. But it really does work.

Setting out dedicated time each week is vital to success - especially in the run up to special gigs or recordings.

Most bands will have had the same weekly practice times pretty much set in stone for years. This'll become second-nature to you, so you just know that on Monday nights, it's band night.

Individual practice is also required too. An important thing about being in a band is understanding that just playing the songs at band practice won’t cut it. All the members need to be invested and in love with your project.

Live performance tips to help you put on a great show


2. Shake off the nerves.

Nerves are normal. Everyone gets nervous before performing. It's a big deal!

Some choose to meditate before going on stage. Some choose to have a couple of beers. Whatever works for you, go for it, but we would suggest at least taking a little bit of time out by yourself to relax pre-gig.

Investing in high quality kit that you can rely on, such as a top notch live mic for your vocals can also help calm those nerves. At least this'll give you one less thing to worry about.


3. Choose a well-respected venue.

Chances are if you're playing locally, you'll know the venue you're performing at. If you haven't been before though, make sure to check this out beforehand. You should be pretty open to performing anywhere, but if you've had a bad show or experience there in the past due to rude staff or bad sound, you should blacklist it. Don't just say yes to everything if you aren't happy.

Live performance tips to help you put on a great show


4. Don't get drunk.

Ok so we touched upon this earlier. As helpful as a bit of Dutch courage might be to some, you should absolutely not get drunk before or while playing.

It’s not funny or cool. This is a huge and difficult one, seeing as alcohol and gigs are so intertwined.

Melbourne-based band Frida have this to add:

"I have never been drunk while performing, but when I was younger I didn’t see having a glass of wine on stage with me as such a big deal - heaps of well-respected and wonderful people do it and are not drunk or rowdy or anything. Very recently, though, I’ve been speaking to a few other professional musicians and also my Dad (who has lots of things to say on the matter), and the one thought that keeps coming back is: I do not drink at my office job. Why should I drink at my music-job?"

Something to think about.


5. Always warm-up.

Tip number 5. Warm-up!!! If you’re a singer, don’t be embarrassed to go into the band room and do your funny vocal warm-ups. It's way more embarrassing to sound rusty on stage than to be caught singing “Bella Signora” by the bar staff.

Live performance tips to help you put on a great show


6. Plan out your set list carefully.

Write set lists, and write when you’re going to speak to the audience and even write down exactly what you’re going to say, too. This prevents embarrassing anecdote sharing and other various miscommunications.

Another tip we'd suggest sticking to is don’t crack inside jokes while performing with audience members that you know personally. As much as this might be a bit of fun, it alienates those who don’t know you (your potential new fans).


7. Never stop in the middle of your show.

Mistakes happen. To everyone.

If you do make a mistake though, keep going. If you forget the lyrics, make them up. Also, make it your number one priority to be interesting. Your job is to make people stop talking over you so they can listen with their jaws on the ground.

Don't let a silly little mistake that most of the audience won't even pick up on anyway affect the rest of your set.


8. Look good, play good.

Yes, your music is the most important thing. But looking the part and sticking to your artist brand image is sometimes just as vital to growing your fan base at live shows. Make sure to align with your band mates on what you're all wearing and what style you're going for on each gig. It might sound superficial but it does matter!

Live performance tips to help you put on a great show

Solo artist, band member, or even DJ. These 8 tips can all help you start smashing your live performances and growing your following. What are you waiting for?! Get out there and start building up more hype around your shows.

Live performance tips to help you put on a great show

Music Promo
Want to get amazing distribution, industry standard features and career boosting advice? Join Ditto Music the truly independent solution for musicians.
Join Now


Get the latest unsigned advice, straight to your inbox.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Our newsletter is packed full of tips, tricks and hacks to take your music career to the next level! 

Related Posts

++ Comments

Back to top