Jun 23, 2020
There are so many talented performers — maybe you, reading this now — who, due to a lack of confidence, may never put themselves in the spotlight. So, we collaborated with Joel Baker, to bring you a helpful guide to building up the confidence to perform, whether to your friends via video call, or in front of a sea of adoring fans. Grab your journal (the one you’ve been writing songs in) and take note. Over to you, Joel…
Last year I did an arena tour to 12,000 every night supporting a German band Revolverheld (it was special). The week after I gigged in Paris to 12 people. The truth is, it takes the same confidence to perform to 12 as it does to 12,000.
Building confidence - Before You Perform
Tip 1: Practice & Prepare
A great deal of the success of your performance will be based upon your preparation for it. You need to practice the songs to death! That’s the way to bring them to life in the show.
Recreate the show in your room and go through the motions, all the details. The more in control you are on the day, the more you can focus your energy on emotion and confidence.
In the days leading up the performance, try and prepare yourself mentally for the day ahead. If you can, visit the room you’re performing in. The less surprises the more confident you can be and focussed on your performance only.
Tip 2: Have Faith in Yourself
The week before a performance, the way you introduce yourself to a stranger is going to impact the way you are on stage. Are you going to introduce yourself as a barista, wanting to get into music someday? Or are you going to introduce yourself as a singer, a performer! It’s not about “faking it till you make it” it’s about fundamentally shifting the way you see your identity. It’s a daily battle, but it is important for confidence. Surround yourself with people who believe in your potential and can affirm you when times are rough.
Building Confidence - As You Perform
Tip 3: Mind Tricks
You can use your body to trick your mind into feeling confident. Breathing is the key. Five minutes before a show I will find somewhere quiet to be still, pray, and get my breathing steady. It’s important for your confidence to get alone to erode the pressure, the noise and the expectation.
When you’re on stage. Keep breathing. Feel the rush of all that adrenaline, and let it wash over you like a passing wave. Fix your feet firmly on the ground. Teach your body to be rooted and still, and your mind will follow. Once you’ve mastered stillness, be bold and work on your stagecraft. You own the stage. Confidence is yours.
Tip 4: Let it Flow
Take the expectations off. Let yourself go and have fun. Feel the music. I know I’m at my best when everything is happening automatically from my subconscious, and I can drift outside my body to feel the guitar within my fingers, the heat of the stage lights, the thud of the kick. Suddenly it all falls into place. There is no you and them. There is no you and the guitar. It all merges into one fluid experience. From there it is no longer confidence, it’s more like a transcendent experience. Confidence is the rocket fuel, but once you’re in space you can relax and enjoy the view.
Building Confidence - After You Perform
Tip 5: Analyse, Improve, Repeat
Be kind to yourself after performing. Your emotions are often very vulnerable afterwards. If something went wrong, don’t dwell on it. If people want to give feedback, ask them to give it to you the next day. A traumatic gig can have an impact on your confidence, so try and be around positive people after the show.
Always stick around after your set to watch the next performer. Study analyse what they do better than you do. How are they moving? How are they coming across confident? Notice everything. Analyse, improve, repeat.
Prepare, feel the fear, believe in who you are, give it your all, and do it a thousand times.