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How to Master Confidence On-Stage in 3 Easy Steps

If you have ever held back in a performance and left the stage feeling that you know you could have done better and can’t understand why you didn’t just go for it, then you will get what I mean when I say that confidence on stage can be the difference between a fantastic performance and a lacklustre one.

Yet confidence is one of the things that so many singers struggle with and it is something that is never really talked about. You’re just expected to be born awesome and put on a great show and not doubt yourself, but there isn’t a musician alive who wouldn’t doubt at least one aspect of their performance.

Just as stage craft, musicianship and songwriting are skills that are learned, confidence is no different. Let’s have a closer look at how you can master confidence on stage if you break it down into three easy steps:


STEP ONE: Preparation

Picture this… it’s the Super Bowl and the batter steps up to the pitch. The ball comes flying towards him at lightning speed. He swings; the bat and ball connect in an almighty crack! The ball goes flying, the crowd roars…. and the rest is history.

Now, do you think that batter got up that morning, rolled out of bed and straight onto the pitch? No way. He would have gone through a pre game routine that would have included things like stretching, envisioning the ball soaring over left field and practicing his swing. It’s the exact same thing for you as a musician.

Preparation is the key to ensuring you have confidence on stage and the best way to prepare for a live performance is to know your material. Whatever you intend to perform; make sure you know it inside out. The last thing you want to think about when you step up on stage in front of a sea of expectant faces is what the lyrics are, or worry about whether you’re going to be able to nail that riff in a particular passage.

Nothing will suck your confidence more than not knowing your stuff, so take the time to get it right by yourself before you share your material with others.

Another thing you can do is practice your set at home first. Set up your equipment and have a go playing ‘live’ to see how it feels when you’re singing into the microphone and get comfortable with the position that you need to hold the mic and play your instrument.

This includes practicing what you’re going to ‘ad lib’ in-between songs. Have a think about what your message is. What are you going to say to your audience during those silent periods? Don’t expect anyone else to speak up for you; you’ve got the mic, so use it to build a relationship with your audience.


STAGE TWO: It’s Just a Job

Forget what you’re like in ‘real life’ and remember that you have a job to do when you get up there on stage. Imagine if you were working in an office job and you said to your boss “Er… nah I can’t see myself doing that report today. I’m just not feeling the vibe”. What do you think your boss would say?

At the end of the day, you are getting paid to entertain people. Sure your message might be deep and meaningful but the bottom line is that people are there because they want you to do well, they want to be entertained. So don’t let them down.

If you find this difficult to wrap your head around, then take a leaf out of an actor’s playbook and take on an on-stage persona if you have to. Many stars (read: Beyonce/Sasha Fierce) do this all the time. Characterisation is how actors get into a role emotionally. You can use this technique too.



Tap into the emotion of what you’re delivering and you’ll have the full attention of the audience. Have a look at Bob Dylan for example. He didn’t have the greatest voice but people clung to his every word. Why? Because he meant what he said. His words resonated with his audience at the time and when you’re focused on delivering the song in its full emotional intensity then the confidence will just flow naturally from within.

Lastly, remember that performing is not actually about you. It’s about your audience… and they think so too! People watch live music not so much for you as they do for themselves and the way you make them feel.

So next time you are performing, just focus outward on making sure each and every person in your audience feels special and has a great time, and if you do this, take the time to watch how people silently connect to you through the music. Once that connection occurs, not only will your confidence woes be a thing of the past but your audience will be putty in your hands.

Nicola Milan is a professional singer, recording artist and vocal coach. Nicola has had her songs placed in feature length films, written music for a popular web series, released two studio albums and toured internationally.

Her website Singer’s Secret is dedicated to helping others learn how to sing and build a creative, fulfilling life.

Visit Singer’s Secret for tips on how to sing, get gigs and follow your dreams.

Reader Comments (1)

Hey, nice article, but you might want to change "Super Bowl" in Part One to "World Series" since it's a baseball analogy. The Super Bowl is a football game.

May 7 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

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