How I Prepare My Voice For A Big Show

My tips for getting your voice performance ready

I threw a huge themed Swing Night show a couple of weekends ago and I wanted to share with you a few things that I do to prepare myself for a major show like this.

For me, these shows are a big deal. They help raise my profile the most out of all the gigs I do and they are the ones I throw the most advertising dollars behind. 

They really are a lot of work because as an independent artist, I have to do everything myself. I book the musicians, the venue, organise rehearsals (and believe me when I tell you what a pain in the arse it is to get six musicians to commit to a rehearsal time… and stick to it.)

I do all of the promotions including my own graphics PLUS I do all the jobs a singer would normally do like writing the songs, getting all of the charts ready and practicing my own performance.

It really feels as though everything else on my schedule gets pushed aside when one of these shows comes along but after doing them for years, there are a few things I always do to prepare myself (that is my vocals and my actual performance) which you can use when you are putting on a show of your own, or for any big performance you have coming up.

1. I increase my water intake. 

I have mentioned before that I increase my water intake before a recording session but I also do this a couple of days before a big show. It really does make a difference in that it reduces my phlegm production.

Given that eight glasses of water a day is the recommended daily water intake amount, I increase this by about three glasses two days before a show and on the day as well.

2. I sing a lot in the week leading up to the show.

The idea of not singing to ‘save’ your voice doesn’t work. In fact is the opposite. Being a singer is like being an athlete in many respects and your voice will like the daily work out. Make time to sing every day leading up to a big show.

3. I run through my set list as if I am performing on stage.

Every time you do a performance that involves singing more than one song, you will need to work out what order you are going to sing those songs in. This is your ‘Set List’.

I spend quite a lot of time on mine making sure the rise and fall of energy is just how I like it throughout the show and I work out what I am going to say before songs and leading into others. Stories about the songs you are singing is an excellent ‘space filler’ to use.

4. I do an outfit run through.

I theme my shows and people expect me to hit the stage all dressed up. Its just the nature of the music I perform and the style of my shows. The last thing I want to do is to have to stress about what I’m going to wear the-day-of.

So I do a test run. I suss out what dress I’m going to wear, which accessories, I look at the weather forecast to see if I need to take a glamorous coat or not and I also run through my hairstyle.

Yep. It takes a bit of extra effort but if I’m doing a 1920’s show for example, those sorts of hairstyles take time and practice to get looking half decent, so a dry run is worth it.

(It might sound a little superficial but I have a ‘thing’ now that if I do my hair well and it looks good then it will be a good show. If not, well then…)

5. I practice my repertoire.

If I have any new songs that I’m running on the night (which is often the case because I’m a prolific songwriter) then I rehearse them solo before the show.

I go as far as making backing tracks on my iPhone and I sing along to them instead of playing my keyboard. This is because on the night I know I will be using a piano player and so singing to backing tracks gives me more of a ‘real-time’ rehearsal.

Phew! And that’s it! Then I know I’m all set and ready for my big show and I can get excited about it rather than stressed (well, less stressed anyway!)

Lots of love,

Nicola x

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