Performing Techniques for Singers: How to “Own the Stage”

In this article I am going to talk about “owning the stage”, and it means exactly what it implies: the great singer is also a great performer, and the stage is her personal playground, while she performs on it. Unless you have a group of beautiful dancers surrounding you, it’s just you, your voice, your body and the stage.

So how do you “own” that scenario?

Well, first of all, you need to decide where your stage is. His stage changes for different songs. For example, if you’re singing a slow, sad ballad, you might want your stage to be an area that doesn’t exceed what you need to stand in front of the microphone. Or maybe you want to take the mic off the stand and move it around a bit… say a 5 square foot area.

This sounds easy, but it’s actually the most difficult of the “stages” to work through. It is much easier to move around a larger area than to be confined to a small space. Facial expressions and small gestures become very integral to the performance. Staying glued to a microphone throughout a song, keeping the interest and attention of the audience is very difficult. This requires practice.

If you plan on delivering a few songs this way, it would be smart to record yourself at home so you can critique and find ways to get the song across without a lot of area movement. Get family and friends to help you with your critique.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that just by standing in front of the microphone and using your excellent singing skills you will win them over and make them believers. The smaller your “stage,” the more you will have to search within yourself for powerful, yet subtle, feelings to communicate. Look at the professionals. Learn his stage moves.

Obviously, your alternate “scenario” is the full scenario. The entire area available to you while you play. Using this larger area makes it easier to give the impression of being a seasoned artist, but it has its own set of potential problems.

• Divide the space into 5 separate areas: center stage, bottom right (bottom toward the audience, but to their right), bottom left, and bottom center. Use all of these areas by moving through them during various parts of the song. When you move to a new area, stay there for a while. Don’t go too soon. Let the verses, the bridge and the choruses take you to different areas.

• The center down is the strongest space on stage and should be considered for the largest choruses and powerful ending.

• Center stage is the neutral zone and can be used for any part of the song. Just don’t get stuck there for too long.

• Bottom right is also very strong. Move there from your starting place and you can’t go wrong.

• Don’t forget bottom left. Those people over there will really enjoy you getting close to them.

I recommend that you practice your songs, deciding in advance where and when you are going to move. Seasoned performers have been doing this for so long that it becomes second nature, but the best still have a game plan before they hit the stage.

You can also use any of the five areas for a “stand in front of the microphone without moving” space.

Finally, don’t move once you’ve claimed your space. Plant your feet and only move them because you decide to… not because you don’t realize you’re doing it.

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