Connecting with your audience when singing for them is one of the most exhilarating things a singer gets to experience during this life. The feeling of holding an audience in the palm of your hand, the joy of hearing them sing along with you on the songs they love, the excitement and energy in a room full of people coming together to celebrate life through the gift of music, all combined with the humbling knowledge that you have been given a precious gift…well, it’s just one of the greatest times to be had. Don’t you agree?
Have you ever been to a concert and noticed there is no connection between the band and the audience? It seems that they are just playing music for their own benefit, without paying much attention to the people gathered to listen and participate? Did they only look at one another, or keep their eyes closed the whole time, or did they just seem closed off emotionally? Maybe they didn’t even seem to connect to the music they were performing? Did you feel like you were on the outside looking in and that the performers had no idea or didn’t even seem to care that you were there to hear their music? Did it leave you feeling disappointed and unfulfilled? Would you want to hear them play and sing again?
Connecting to the audience is right up there with being musically prepared. People gather to listen to music because they are looking for an experience and it is the performer’s job to create the best opportunity for that to happen.
People gather to listen to a band or other performers because they love music and are looking to experience something special. Perhaps they have spent money to hear their favorite band, or they have gathered to hear several bands and expect to be entertained, or maybe they have gathered to worship and need to be brought close to God through music. Whatever the circumstance, the singer must not leave them disappointed.
Let’s talk about a few ways to be sure that you, the singer, can better connect with your audience when you are given the wonderful opportunity to share your gift.
1. Do your homework and be fully prepared.
Concert time is not the time to be worried about technicalities. Be sure that you have worked out all of your transitions, instrument changes, vocals, tempos,and keys, and have set all of your levels before the show starts. Everything should be well rehearsed and the songs sung many times so that you have proper muscle memory and no vocal issues to worry about. Get plenty of sleep the nights leading up to your performance so that you will be in optimum voice. It is always a good idea to work your songs with a great vocal coach to be sure you are singing your very best and that you are staying healthy vocally. A long career is a great idea! Practice practice practice!
2. Think about the lyrics – and be expressive!
You would think this is a no brainer, but you would be amazed at the vast number of singers I have worked with that had no idea what the lyrics they were singing meant. It’s not really possible to connect with people unless you know what you are saying. Just like in a conversation, if you don’t know what you are saying, neither will the person you are talking to. Think of singing as if you are speaking on pitch. Use natural inflections, rise and fall, just like a conversation. Your voice will sound more authentic and believable. When you express the lyrics, the music will flow from you and your audience will hear your heart and believe what you are singing. The heart connection will be made and you will draw them in. That is such an exhilarating moment!
3. Make it about your audience, and NOT about you.
This one is the magic key to complete connection to the people gathered to hear you sing/play. You must get out of the way and let your heart and your emotion carry the song to them and all around them. Make this performance be about them. Let them know that you care about each one one make them feel as if you know that they are there, that each one matters to you. Wrap them up in your music and bring them back to you. Engage them with a smile, or a hello, or just an acknowledgment that you are so glad that they have come, and invite them to be a part of what you are doing. Talk to them a little bit. Let down your walls, be vulnerable and transparent. I know that it is much easier said than done, but you can do it if you remember that this is about the people, and not about you. That removes so much pressure. You will be free to let go and deliver a beautiful performance that is moving and engaging, and will keep them coming back for more!
You can do it! I would love to help!