As featured in The Harmonizer.
Get prepared for your next performance
As the BHS judging community’s new Performance Category charges into the 2017 season, many continue to ask, "What are the Performance judges looking for as we move ahead?” or “Do we need to change our approach to become relevant?” or “How should we prepare our performances to conform to the new category?”
The short answer to all these questions and more remains consistent, transcending time parameters: Stage-worthy, stunning performances rooted in authenticity require one special component—you!
Let’s clarify to ease your mind. Good is always good. Two plus two will always equal four and you will always be you! By definition, authentic is being true to yourself and your beliefs. A performer actually gains audience acceptance based on the ability to communicate reliable truth and experiences. If you convey these in a genuine fashion, your performance will speak authentically.
Audience perception is performance reality!
No matter how sincere or heartfelt you are on “the inside,” if it does not genuinely speak to or reach the audience, it lacks connection. The audience must perceive, or the performer’s reality is a missed opportunity. Forget about judges and ask, “Have my performances been authentic and real?” and “have I given to the audience in a way that connects my beliefs?”
Based on experience including success, failure and everything in between, we offer this piece of coaching—prepare. Prepare to engage your audience every time you have
the privilege to perform. Prepare to deliver extraordinary, remarkable and yes even phenomenal performances that change lives. Prepare to be the best you can be—worthy of the stage!
When you dare to prepare, you place the responsibility squarely on your own shoulders to create, dream and deliver amazing performances. This requires eliminating interference. Daring to be prepared holds the performer accountable for greatness.
Here is a toolbox of performance preparation tips we’ve compiled and condensed that transcend performance/musical styles and genres. Each point here can and should be expanded to include extensive dialog and discussion, but the following is a start.
The 5 keys to performance preparedness:
Effective rehearsal time. Practice effectively and efficiently—plan. Map your rehearsal goals out in advance. Create a performance plan, identifying the desired purpose and outcome and embrace the why behind the goal. What does the performance look like? Can you visualize an excellent outcome?
• Rehearse at “game speed”: Attention to both the creative and technical aspects is essential to development—and it is essential to do both at the same time. Improve vocal skills in lock-step with facial and body complement. On stage, you’ll never want to only sing well or only visually sell your performance. Rehearse both the notes and the emotional content the way you plan to perform—always together—honing the “complete” performance skill set.
• Tools: What tools are being used? Is there an app, software or computing device? Is there a particular piece of clothing critical to the performer/performance you should rehearse with?
• Time: Perhaps the greatest resource of all—and the sooner you can get busy preparing, the better the likelihood of great success.
Energy management. Learn to control your body’s response to adrenaline. Do not believe the myth that reducing performance anxiety is always a good thing. Singers are always searching for the magical combination of bananas, turkey, tea, anxiety medicine, etc., to eliminate the edge and perform better. Statistically, one out of every three people who try something swear that it worked, even if it was completely bogus—the placebo effect. Look back on your own performance history and recall situations when you were calm and relaxed instead of connecting to the audience with authentic passion and energy. Your performance suffered. Moderating or eliminating anxiety may make you more comfortable, but won’t necessarily help you perform better or authentically connect with audiences. Learn how to control and channel anxiety into more dynamic and powerful performances.
Confidence & courage. Build confidence and play courageously (vs. tentatively and worrying about mistakes). Some of the greatest moments in history were born out of mistakes, refined and incorporated into the routine. Overcoming performance setbacks breeds confidence. Dare to be bold and fearless.
Concentration & focus. By definition, concentration means to collect energy. Gather requisite information. Find the best articles, posts, books, podcasts, people (coaches), videos, lessons, classes, etc., and lay a foundation of knowledge. Ponder these good and true ideas as you prepare for performance. When the moment comes you’ll be able to slow down and regain control—even under pressure—by quieting the mind, looking beyond distractions and staying in the moment.
Resilience & Determination. Prepare to recover quickly from miscues (avoiding a negative domino effect.) Keep yourself motivated and relentlessly pursue your goals. To be great you need both skill and will. To be your best, your will must be greater than your skill.
The key to your best performance. The take-aways are simple yet powerful.The key to life-changing performances is you! Be true to yourself. No one has the right to tell you how your heart feels … but… you have the privilege and responsibility to connect with the audience in a genuine manner, using your life experiences so they can understand and receive. Preparation is the key, eliminating obstacles that block greatness.
-George Gipp firstname.lastname@example.org