Any internet search on “stage presence” will get you a long list of repetitive common sense, surrounding a few gems of wisdom.  I’ll cut to the chase and give you a quick top five of tips I stumbled across through my experiences. Granted I’m no performing master or professional, but I’ve done enough shows to catch a few things I wish I’d known before the first one.

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1)  Record Yourself – This combines being prepared with gaining confidence in your movements.  I would bet my left leg that once you see the film and how you actually look, you’ll rethink a thing or two.

2)  Wear Light Colored Shoes – A minor detail yes, but if you’re the kinda guy who moves his feet a lot, the bright colors make your movements look even more exaggerated.

3)  Alter Song to Reengage Audience – Whether playing covers or originals, people will have expectations of what is next, and unless they are excited about it, will zone out.  So anything to alter the song from what they are expecting will recapture their attention, even if just for a moment.  You can…

  • Add a percussive element to the strumming pattern
  • Drop off everything, even if just for a moment
  • Ad lib melodies or integrate melodies from other songs
  • Alternate chords or voicings
  • Alter lyrics
  • Exaggerated changes in dynamics

4)  Interact With Other Band Members – “smiles are contagious”…yeah it’s cheesy, but it’s accurate.  If you’re throwing looks back to the drummer after a sick fill or grooving along with the bassist during his solo on the bridge people are gonna notice that, and be drawn in

5)  Show Emotions Through the Body – And not just your face.  If you’re excited about a guitar part, let your whole body show it…and this of course means getting away from the mic whenever necessary.  You want their eyes traveling with you, not stuck in the same spot for the whole song.

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Here are a few videos to slowly steal away your time and life

Justin Timberlake (points 2,3,4)

Muse (points 2,4,5)

John Mayer (points 3,5)

Mayer Full Band (points 3,4,5)

Jethro Tull (points 3,4,5)

Bruce Springsteen (points 3,4,5)…too much interaction at 3:55

In a sing off between Christina Aguilera and Aretha Franklin, Katy Perry would win

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