As a musician, performing live for the first time is a kind of life-changing experience. You feel it both ways; the exhilaration of being able to perform, as well as the nerve-wracking thought of standing in front of people ready to applaud or boo you at a moment’s notice.

In fact, I doubt there’s been any musician in history (without taking any ‘relaxant’) that went on stage for the first time without having the jitters (no matter how slight). Little wonder why many people with musical ambitions don’t bother pursuing it because of the thought of having to perform in front of so many people.

The nerves will always be there, so will the jitters, whether you are performing for the first or the thousandth time. However, there are a few things (like the four things below) that you can do to help even the odds of your live performances.

Make sure you are ready to perform

Before you agree to perform or book your first show, it is extremely important that you are prepared for it. Many musicians owe their disastrous first performances to the fact that they weren’t ready; both in mindset and in props.

Make sure you have enough songs to perform during the time allocated to you. Don’t assume you can sing cover songs and expect the crowd to take it lightly, nor should you come on stage and sing the same song repeatedly. Talk to the organiser or the manager and find how long you are expected to perform for. If they expect a 30-minute performance from you and you’ve got just a song or two, then it’s better you hold off, or you may perform your songs and then do a few freestyles to make up for it.

Practice makes perfect

Honestly, you can’t and shouldn’t even think of doing a freestyle performance (going on stage without prior practice). You have to practice, and practice some more before going on stage. A freestyle performance is seriously prone to error and most times, extremely boring.


Remember, the people who paid good money to see a good performance will expect nothing short of that. If you don’t give them that, then expect bottles of water to fly on stage.

Practice makes perfect. I’m sure you know this. Even though some people may not notice if you mess up on stage, it only takes a good eye and a relevant person to notice and then break your career before it has even begun to bud. Practice, and practice as much as possible before going on stage.


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