How to Have An Entertaining Performance: Beyond the Music

Have you ever noticed the difference between a compelling performance and an inhibited one? Putting on a performance can be exciting and very intimidating, but these three subtle things should help make a captivating performance:

1. Presentation

How you present yourself is more than how you dress, it is how you walk, talk, stand, bow, even hold your instrument. There is another word for this, confidence. Your presence begins from the moment you walk on stage; if you shuffle on stage with your head down, maybe arms crossed, and no eye contact with the audience, you show that your either not confident in your playing ability or what you are wearing or you don’t want to be here performing for the people that came to watch you. When you walk on stage with a strong stride, your head held up, feet planted on the ground you show that your confident and excited for your performance, and when you glance at the audience, that makes them feel included in the excitement. Keep your feet planted while performing, but allow your body to move with the music. It looks unnatural when you’re stiff as a statue, and putting all your weight on one foot could imply unsteadiness. Finally, make a nice bow with your face and torso parallel to the floor, then exit the same way you came in. The thing to remember is that “the whole performance is an act, and when you act confident, the audience feels confident in your ability.”

2. Engagement

Engaging in the music, ensemble members, and the audience makes a performance that much more entertaining. It can be as simple as eye contact. Now, some people get extremely nervous when they see the faces of audience members, but if you come out on stage and just look in the audiences direction (let’s say the back wall), it makes them feel included in this event. Also, taking a little time before the last piece to tell the audience how much you appreciate them being there gives them a positive experience for taking the time to see you perform. Also, when you move your body to the music you’re playing, you show that you are engaged with the music you are playing. Finally, when you engage with your accompanist or other ensemble members through eye contact, it not only shows that you’re engaged with the music, but making sure your on the same page and acknowledging their participation in the performance.

3. Have fun!

It is perfectly normal to be at least a little nervous for a performance. Just make sure that you are having fun. Some of my best performances were when I got so into the music and playing with my friends and colleagues, that it almost seemed like the audience was not even there. I’m not saying that you should ignore the audience, but when you are having fun, it eliminates some of your anxiety and manifests a happy, engaging, and entertaining performance that captivates everyone in the room. You worked hard, so have fun with it!

So just remember to present yourself confidently the whole time you are on stage, engage with the music and everyone in the hall, and have fun with the music you worked so hard on. This will spawn an entertaining performance.

This is what I have observed, feel free to leave your comments below.

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