25 Ways To Improve Your Performance Skills

singer w guitar© 2010 Vinny Ribas

  1. Take acting lessons. Acting lessons will help you to communicate better with your audiences. You will learn how to use the stage better, when to look at or away from an audience, how to use facial expressions and much more. They can also assist you in overcoming stage fright.
  2. Hire a performance coach. Performance coaches help you make every song and every movement you make on stage visually and auditorily attractive. Everything you do should be pre-planned and have a purpose to it, but rehearsed so well that it looks 100% spontaneous and natural.
  3. Study and emulate great performers. Pay close attention to the performers you admire most and determine what it was that attracted you to them. Was it their timing? Their appearance? The way they interacted with the audience? Read their biographies to find out where their inspiration came from. Scrutinize their performances, and then try to copy their techniques while still making the product your own.
  4. Take vocal lessons. – Even if you are a skilled vocalist, you should always be taking vocal lessons. It is the only way to continue to improve as well as maintain your voice over the long term. Even the most famous and revered singers in the world have vocal coaches. Find a coach who will challenge you.
  5. Do your vocal exercises. This will help your voice be warmed up and sounding its best from the first note you sing. Don’t forget your cooling down exercises as well to protect your voice.
  6. Take instrument lessons. Even the best musicians take advanced lessons. This doesn’t just keep your skill level up to par; it enables you to get even better. There is no limit on how proficient and skilled you can be. Find a teacher who will challenge you. 
  7. Practice your instrument. In order to be the best, you need to do what all other revered entertainers do – practice incessantly. This keeps you at the top of your game. 
  8. Learn from training books, CDs, DVDs, workshops and seminars. There are many amazing teaching tools and online resources that can help you be a better performer. Research the best teachers in your area of interest, and chances are they have some teaching materials available.
  9. Follow blogs.
  10. Rehearse everything as a group. Every movement, note and word of your performances should be rehearsed. This means that the entire act needs to rehearse together so that the interactions on stage are seamless.
  11. Rehearse individually. Practice and learn your songs and anything else you need to know for your shows until they are second nature to you. Don’t rely on lyric sheets or chord charts. Be able to fill your role in your sleep! The more natural and effortless you appear on stage, the more comfortable the audience is.
  12. Practice in front of a mirror. Use this technique to rehearse and perfect your facial expressions and body movements. You may be surprised at how many times you look awkward without realizing it.
  13. Videotape and study your rehearsals and shows. A sports coach reviews the video of team’s last game to know what needs to be worked on in practice all week. You should be doing the same thing. It is the only way that you can see how your overall act looks, how everyone on stage is interacting with each other and with the audience, what looks great and should be remembered and what looks awkward and needs to be changed. Constantly strive to make the next show your absolute best ever.
  14. Get performance critiques. Ask other great performers who you respect to critique your performances. Ask for honest feedback, and take their suggestions to heart.
  15. Pay attention to media reviews. You may disagree with something one reporter says about your performance, but if you’re hearing the same thing from multiple sources, they may be seeing something you missed, or not seeing something they expected.
  16. Track the buzz about you online. Use Google Alerts or other online programs to find out what is being said about your shows so you know what is working and what is not. You can learn a lot from things other people say when they don’t think you’re listening
  17. Take dance lessons. Of course this is important if you are actually going to be dancing on stage. But if you even move a little bit awkwardly, dance lessons can be a tremendous benefit to you!
  18. Perform with great entertainers. Find ways to share the stage with great entertainers. Nothing can beat learning from a master as they are doing what they do best. Surround yourself with greatness and then rise to their level.
  19. Find a mentor. Ask around and find someone who is a great performer who will personally coach you. Someone who really believes in you will do everything in his or her power to help you succeed as long as you are teachable.
  20. Study comedy. Taking a class or 2 in comedy can help your banter with the audience. It can also add an entirely new dimension to your act.
  21. Practice your banter and jokes. Know what you are going to say before you say it so that you know what works and what doesn’t. It also keeps you from getting in trouble saying something you shouldn’t have.
  22. Take a speech class or join Toastmasters. Again, improving your before and after song communications with your audience adds variety and a personal touch to your show. Learn how to deliver your banter without mumbling, saying ‘um’ after every word or getting nervous.
  23. Hire a choreographer. Choreographers plan out all of the dance-related movements on stage. If you want to incorporate dance into your show, your choreographer will map out each step. He or she will also coordinate things like swaying, kicks or other rhythm-based moves.
  24. Hire an image consultant. Of course you want to look great on stage, even if that means jeans and a t-shirt. Knowing that you look your best means that you will also feel good about yourself. That translates into more confidence on stage.
  25. Keep your show fresh. Do whatever it takes to keep from getting bored with your shows. Add new music or a new musical style. Challenge yourself to do something better than you’ve ever done it. Leave room for improvisation, but only if you are really good at it. The more you are enjoying your shows, the more your audience will!

About The Author

Vinny Ribas

Vinny Ribas is the founder and CEO of Indie Connect, an artist management, consulting and training company. The company also hosts networking and educational events and has published an app that connects people to the Nashville Music Industry. During his 40+ year career, Vinny has been a full time musician, artist manager, booking agent, songwriter, studio owner, producer and the Entertainment Director for the NV State Fair. He has also coached over 1000 artists and songwriters. He is a sought after speaker and has authored over 400 music industry articles. Vinny is also the CEO of Top 4M Entertainment, an independent film and television production company.