Singing on Stage is a
Performance Art!

It takes skill for a singer to look good while singing on stage for singing contests, competitions or concert performances.

In fact, it takes more than just skill, but lots of preparation and hard work, as well as experience too!

One well-known Mandarin saying goes like this: “5 minutes on the glamorous stage, 10 years of hard work offstage!”

This is certainly true and all singers and perfomers would definitely vouch for that!

Of course, we must already look good in terms of image and styling when we take part in singing contests or competitions.

Also, when we go for our first singing audition, we may be required to sing on a proper stage, and this may lead to some serious stagefright which we would definitely need to learn to overcome!

In order to help you look better when you are performing or singing on stage, here are some stage performance tips that i have amassed from my time as a performer:

Stage Performance Tip # 1: Know Your Stage and Use It Well!

Know and Understand the stage that you will be performing on.

Is it a small stage or a huge stage? Is it a platform stage or a solid structural stage?

Does it have glaring spotlights that shine on you while you are performing? Is it going to be slippery on stage? (This is important if you will be singing and dancing.)

If possible, step onto the stage and walk around. Feel the stage and how you should move on it.

Look towards the audience area from the stage and start planning where you should look when you are performing.

You should also plan your stage movements while you are singing on stage, and make sure you cover stage left, right and center during your entire song!

Stage directions are usually given from the singer’s point-of-view, so if I say stage right, it means your right side when you are facing the audience onstage. (These are the basics of stage movement…)

Be sure to utilize the entire stage, and be confident when you are on the stage!

Also, make sure that when you are looking at your audience, stay at a certain section for a while before moving on to the next.

This will avoid your performance looking haphazard or rushed, and will help to stabilize your eye contact with the audience when singing on stage!

Stage Performance Tip # 2: To Sit or to Stand?

Sometimes singers opt to sit on a high chair when they are singing on stage. This gives the entire performance a more cosy or laid-back feel, and is often used during unplugged performances, or during soulful jazz performances too!

Unplugged performances refer to a singer performing on stage with only his instrumentalist, or the singer may choose to sing and play his or her songs!

In this case, backing music is not required, and all the music comes from the live instrument being played, and the effect is a simpler and touching feel to the performance.

So, if you are going to perform a song that is probably slower and leaning towards ballad-style, then you may consider choosing to sit on a high chair when you sing.

Or if you are going to sing and play your song on a grand piano, then certainly you would have to sit and perform.

(Unless you choose to be like Jamie Cullum, who has even jumped on pianos during performances…)

However, if you are going to perform a fast number, certainly you would need to dance around when singing on stage, and will have absolutely no need for a chair when you are performing!

Certainly if you are in a singing contest, you would need to do a great variety of song repertoire, and mixing your performances with some unplugged elements will help you to keep impressing your judges during the competition!

Use your stage tools wisely, because when done well, they can add to the overall effect of your performance on stage!

Stage Performance Tip # 3: Microphone Techniques

Microphone technique covers a great variety of aspects, but let me just give you some simple pointers here.

Firstly, never point your microphone directly towards the speakers on stage! This will cause some serious feedback noise and in some cases even spoil the sound system too!

Always try to hold your microphone with the head pointing upwards in order to avoid any accidental pointing of the microphone towards speakers. Also, try to keep it close to your body so that you can shield it from the surrounding speakers.

Secondly, try to put your microphone close to your mouth when you are singing softer sections of your song, and pull your microphone away more when you are projecting your voice during the climax sections of your performance!

This is to make the overall song performance more coherent, and not shock your audience with sudden loud parts followed by soft sections that can’t be heard!

A good distance for your microphone would be around 2 – 3 inches away from your mouth, but it also depends on how much sound you are getting from the sound system too.

Thirdly, decide whether you should use a microphone stand for your performance. Many rock singers use and even move with their mic stands for added effect!

As a ballad singer, you may also choose to use the mic stand when you are singing on stage. This will help make your performance seem more grand and polished.

Of course, you can choose to take your microphone out of its stand during the later part of your song, so that you can move around more on stage and give more variety to your overall performance!

There are more tips available in other sections of this website that will show you how to overcome your stagefright or performance anxiety, as well as how to get through that all-important first audition for your singing contest!

Do make sure you read through all of these tips and apply them during your next singing contest or competition!

You will find that you will be much more prepared to sing on stage than most of the other contestants, and this will be your greatest advantage in the contest!

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1 Comment

  • Very helpful, specific and well presented!

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