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3 Ways to Dominate Your Next Performance

Well, "It's the most wonderful time of the year" !

This December, millions of people around the world will have an opportunity to participate in some type of Holiday program at school, church, or in their community.

And for myself, it's RECITAL TIME!

The other day I announced the 5th recital in my teaching career, and I must say, this is the first time I am completely stress free about my students and their performance level.

And Here's why!

We have worked more on perfecting the art of performance than the actual performance pieces.

Recitals are not just about singing a few songs you've learned over the course of a year. It's really about PERFORMING!

Performing in front of "real people", and not just singing in the shower. For some of my students this is the first time they will get to be in front of a "real" audience.

In my studio, recitals are not mandatory, but I do believe in giving everyone the equal opportunity to perfect their performance skills.

When you know how to perform, you can sing a wrong note, and no one will ever notice but you. When you know how to perform, you can skip an entire line in the song, and people will still clap. When you know how to perform, no one is paying attention to whether or not you took a breath in the middle of a phrase.

Performing is about more than singing! Performing requires THINKING!

Some singers are born to dominate the stage. They are "naturals". But for the rest of us, we need to learn how to perform with ease!

Take a look at these 3 Ways to Dominate Your Next Performance!

1. Choose Appropriate Material

Before performing any song, the first question you need to ask yourself is: "Is this the right song for me?" For example, would you sing Auld Lang Syne at a funeral? The answer should be absolutely not.

Singers come to me all the time desiring to sing songs that are inappropriate for their desired performance. A song can be deemed inappropriate for a singer for several reasons, including AGE! Yes even AGE has its limitations!

I won't go into details, but a 5 year old probably shouldn't perform Sam Smith's "Stay With Me" for several obvious reasons. Choosing the proper song can make or break a performance.

Here are some more practical questions to ask yourself when choosing the appropriate material for your performance: Is it in my range?, Will this display the best quality of my voice?, Is this the right occasion?

2. Plan and Prepare

This should be self-explanatory.

If you know that you are prone to forget the words to a song, you probably should PLAN to sing something really easy, and PREPARE for your performance weeks in advance.

Planning is taking the time to weigh your options with more than one song. Planning is also making provisions for vocal coaching, live musicians, dance instructors, wardrobe stylists or whatever else will be needed for your big day.

For starters, an easy way to prepare for singing a song is to simply listen to the song several times. It's easier to sing something that you have studied versus something you have not.

3. Lastly, you must PRACTICE!

PRACTICE should seem like a no brainer, but many great performers lack good practice skills.

We have all heard before that "Practice Makes Perfect." Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but PRACTICE DOES NOT MAKE PERFECT!

I often tell my students that practice makes improvement. Certain levels of performance will take a higher degree of practicing.

I am not one to tell people how long they should practice, but I can always tell who has practiced and who has not.

Practicing should be consistent and intentional. You should not focus on the parts of a song you already know, but you should focus on those you don't know.

I hear singers tell me all the time that they will get it when they hit the stage, but this is simply not true! Very few people just "get it" when they hit the stage. Great performances take hard work and much PRACTICE.

If you don't normally walk and sing, the day of the performance is not the day to start. You should not wait until the day of the performance to incorporate any movements you have never done!

Maybe you are gearing up for a big performance, and you can't seem to master the art of effective practice. I recommend making a practice journal. In your journal you will keep up with what you practice each day. In extreme cases, I even require some of my students to record what they are eating.

Whatever it takes to take your performance to the next level!

Voice lessons are not always focused on mastering vocal acrobatics, but also mastering the art of performance!


Phylicia Hollis is a professionally trained musician, singer, and educator. She is a highly sought after vocal coach that has worked in various capacities of the music and entertainment industry.


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