Let’s say you’ve been taking guitar lessons or music lessons of some sort and are ready for your first concert! You want to look confident and engaging, but not embarrass yourself…so how should you act on stage?
Think about this–when at a concert, most of us never bat an eye at the way performers behave….huge arms gestures, guitarists jumping around, singers falling to their knees to express the agonizing heartbreak their song is describing. It’s pretty dramatic body language, but it’s what they are supposed to do–perform. Check out this clip of Bono in full stage glory.
Such passion! He’s obviously very comfortable in front of 80,000 people, and it looks cool!
But have a friend act like that in your living room at a party, and it would just be weird and everyone would feel awkward. (Why are they acting so dramatic? Are they on medication? Should they be??)
Why is that? Because of the twilight zone that exists between a stage and the rest of reality. Things that are over-the-top inappropriate in real life are completely acceptable (even required in some instances) when you step on stage.
And the inverse of this idea is true as well. Walk on stage with average, everyday-life body language and, to an audience, you’re boring. This doesn’t mean you need to mimic Bono’s moves in all scenarios, and it doesn’t mean just acting crazy (unless that’s the image you’re going for :). You are still you. But just being aware of this concept and watching other performers for ideas will help you take a step forward on the journey to being comfortable and effective when performing music.