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Mastering the Stage: Techniques to Take Your Playing to New Heights

Are you a musician who is uncomfortable playing on stage or in a performance? Do your palms get sweaty and your heart starts racing before you step on stage to perform? First of all this is perfectly normal, that is your adrenaline kicking in. However, the question we would like to ask is what are you doing to prepare yourself for a live performance? In this article, are three ways you can be better prepared to play live and improve your performances.

Below are 3 techniques to help you be more prepared on stage

  1. Know the music and play it confidently

  2. Keep your tools on stage with you

  3. Prepare yourself mentally

Let's take a deeper dive into these stage techniques...

Technique #1 - Know the music and play it confidently

Improve your live performances by being fluent in your music. If you are playing in a band or with a group, knowing your part is crucial to the outcome of the performance. Be confident in your ability to play the chart and if there are area’s in your music that are a little tricky- be sure to write or highlight those areas on your music chart to ensure you pay attention to those tricky parts. For example, if there is a key change that you miss frequently in rehearsal, make a notation on your sheet at that key change, so when you play the chart and that section comes up, you have it notated and you won’t miss it.

Bonus Video

Watch the video below to learn how to growl on the saxophone, subscribe to the Saxophone Workshop YouTube channel to learn more about the saxophone.

Technique #2 - Keep your tools on stage with you

This tactic will help you overcome obstacles that happen during the live performance.

Sometimes stuff comes up that you cannot plan for and you have to be ready to overcome the obstacle quickly to continue your performance. To combat these obstacles the saxophone player must be prepared and have the ability to pause during the performance, handle the obstacle and then get back to performing. One of the most important things to keep with you on stage while you perform are spare performing reeds. Sometimes, no matter how careful you are, your favorite reed may get chipped or cracked during a performance. Having extra performing reeds with you on stage will give you the ability to change the reed out and get back to playing your line quickly.

Technique #3 - Prepare yourself mentally

Putting yourself in the right mindset is key to having a good experience in a live performance. This involves creating and playing live in a concert with a group vs preparing for a solo in a concert. They have similar preparation tactics but are very different in your preparation. Playing a performance with a group of people, like a high school band, community band, etc. You have to put yourself in a comfortable and confident mindset and be prepared. Ensure your instrument is in proper working order and that you are warmed up properly. Review the music you will be playing and even run through some of the challenge spots in your music. You can take this a step further and practice the challenge spots with your entire section to prepare for the performance.

What is your secret to preparing for a performance?

Leave your answer below in the comments.


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