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Country Vocals Lessons: Singing Live - Part 3 - Sacred Space

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Okay you're about
the take the stage.
You are entering what I like to think of
as a sacred space and a sacred action.
Because you are about to
lead the entire audience and
probably the other musicians
on the stage into a very
unique and special and
powerful experience.
So realize,
think about the fact that you
are doing something extraordinary and
creating a moment that
will never be repeated and
has the power,
the potential to literally change
people's lives, change their minds,
change their hearts.
So might sound like I'm
being melodramatic, but
I believe that when you step out
onto the stage as a live performer,
that you are stepping into a sacred space.
And that doesn't mean that it has
to be intense and over the top.
It can still be a very chill and
casual exchange, casual moment.
You can create a very relaxed and
casual experience.
But it's still something really,
really special and
deserving of your respect and
honoring that moment.
Some performers go out on stage and
they sing their songs and
they're great performers,
they're great singers and
that is the experience of their music.
They don't feel the need to talk a lot,
they don't feel the need to do a show or
song and dance or make it theatrical.
They have their songs,
they have their vibe,
they have their mood, and
they go out and that is their thing.
And I have worked with some fantastic and
amazing singers who they are all about
creating the moment in the song.
If that's your mode of performing,
again just recognize that
that's a sacred moment.
It's something that's astonishing and
powerful and
has a lot of potential to impact
with the words of that song and
the music that you're creating.
And give it everything you've got.
I also like performers who
put on more of a show,
who talk between their songs,
give me a chance to get to know them.
They have patter, they have stories that
set up their songs or reveal a little
something more about their personality or
their history or their character.
I love performers that are able
to come out onto the stage and
talk about whatever just
happened to them that day,
or what happened in the van on the drive
over to the venue to sound check.
Or, they picked up
the paper from that town,
the town that they're in playing and
they pick up some piece of news.
Or they respond to something
that's happening locally or
happening In the national news.
They're just present and
they give you the feeling that they
are living life with you, alongside you.
They're experiencing the same
things that you are.
So as you approach this space
of performing on stage and
this experience of sharing yourself and
your music, think about how much
of myself do I wanna reveal?
How much do I want to just
come through in the music?
Or how much do I want
to add to this story,
to add to this experience by revealing
my personality or my sense of humor?
Or do I have a story
that goes with this song?
Something that gives the audience
a little insight into who you are,
what prompted you to write this song?
Or what prompted you to learn and
sing this particular song?
What does it mean to you?
So think about if you're going to be the
kind of performer or if you are the kind
of performer that is all about the songs
and that's their focus and their intention
is just giving the meaning and the message
and the experience of the song.
Or if you're going to put
a little more into the show,
the experience of the flow
from one song to the next and
give back a little bit more information
about yourself as an artist.
Another key part of creating that live
experience that makes it's something
really special is pacing a show.
We've talked about pacing and
pacing a song,
and building the arc,
the emotional arc of the song.
Giving at its own storyline, emotionally,
so that it starts somewhere,
it starts at an emotional level and
builds just like a good short story or
a good novel, and
has a climactic moment and
really lets the listener feel like they
have been on an emotional journey.
You can do that with
the pacing of a show as well.
You gonna come up like,
[NOISE] full guns and
just get people going right off
the top with the big up tempo and
kind of set a mood,
set a tone from the very first song.
Or are you gonna start with a slow burn,
start with a song that's more chill and
gradually increase the intensity.
But, think about,
as you're lining up your set list,
what is the emotional arc
of your show going to be?
What kind of emotional experience and
journey do you wanna create for
your audience?
And finally,
we've already touched on it a little bit.
But, the most beautiful aspect of
a performer coming out on stage,
even if we're not conscious of it,
even if it's a rock and
roll star that just seems to be
invincible and completely in command.
One of the most appealing
facets of any performer is
the audience sense that the performer
on stage is somehow vulnerable to them.
Somehow vulnerable and
open to the audience.
In other words,
a performer that comes out and
just does their thing and doesn't give
you the feeling that they're really
listening to you, like they're gonna do
their thing whether you're there or not.
This is their show and it's set and
it's just all presentation.
And you might be really impressed by
the show and by the vocal ability or
by the songs or the sound and lights.
But you might be feeling like you
didn't really make a connection with
the performer.
It's probably because they didn't ever
give you an opportunity to experience
their vulnerability and
to share that with them.
And that's a real gift for a performer
to be able to come out on stage and
make the audience feel like
they are really present in
that moment and
not necessarily in complete control.
That the audience has something to say,
has something to give that the performer
is compelled to receive and respond to.
That at its best is really the heart of
being a vulnerable performer on stage.
Not that you're not in command of your
instrument and in command of your show and
your band and the music and
the experience overall.
But that you're still,
with all the command that you have, you're
still open to what the audience might
give you, what they might tell you,
what they might have to
affect you as the performer.
And that you're willing to be open to
that and you're willing to listen and
you're willing to be present with it.
When an audience feels that,
that the performer is in command and
still somehow vulnerable to them.
That is one of the sweetest and
most profound experiences of that
energy exchange between an artist and
their audience.