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5 Do’s to Optimize Your Success

Don't play without knowing the rulesIf you are a songwriter, you know… there are basic rules to follow when writing for radio. The normal structure goes intro/ verse/ chorus/ verse/ chorus/ bridge/ chorus. It’s important to have it the right length (about 3 1/2 minutes long), and be sure and get to the chorus within the first minute (sooner, if possible). And so on and so on.

But few artists realize there are also rules for how to put together your live show.

I’m often asked to give quick tips on performance. And of course, like most things, it’s a process, not a quick tip kind of thing! However, here’s a quick list of some of the things you need to know (taken from some hand-outs & short tips I’ve created for special round tables, blogs, and more):


1.     Learn how to rehearse — Rehearsals aren’t “practice sessions” as most musicians think. They should be a place to take chances and be spontaneous!

2.     Create moments — Find the “moments” in your songs and develop them during a rehearsal. Help your audience feel something with you, whether it’s touching, funny, exciting, musical, thoughtful, etc.

3.     Learn what an audience wants — As I said, your audience wants to feel something, not hear something. It’s about how you and your music affect people. They want to forget about themselves, to be captured and engaged, and to have their lives changed in some small way.

4.     Exceed your audience’s expectations — There are onstage skills, tools, and techniques to win an audience, and to keep them captured and engaged and wanting more. It’s all about an emotional connection with people! And when people are moved, they remember and want to buy those moments to take home and relive.

5.     Change pressure onstage — An artist wouldn’t even think of using the same lyrics, rhythms, or tones for every song, yet artists have a tendency to do the same thing visually for every song. Remember, 55% of communication is what the audience sees.


If you’re the kind of person who learns more from hearing the negative side of all that, here are the things you should not do:

1.     Don’t wing it onstage

2.     Don’t just sing and play songs

3.     Don’t play for yourself & other musicians in the room

4.     Don’t change who you are

5.     Your songs don’t sound the same…they shouldn’t look the same

I’ve developed my Live Music Method over many years. I’ve seen it proven over and over with many artists in numerous genres. Following the rules for the stage will help you make an emotional connection between you & your audience, keep your audience connected & engaged, and create moments that will resonate with your audience long after they go home.

Lately what I’ve been telling people is that it will help them (the artists) have more fun AND help their audiences have more fun.

Knowing & putting this Method into practice will optimize your success!

Tom Jackson

Tom is uniquely talented and skilled at transforming an artist's live show into a magical experience for the audience; helping artists at every level create a live show that is engaging and memorable, teaching them to exceed their audiences' expectations and to create fans for life. Tom has taught indie and major artists of every genre. He has worked with Taylor Swift, Le Crae, Home Free, The Tenors, Shawn Mendes, The Band Perry, Francesca Battistelli, Jars of Clay, & many more. Tom also teaches at colleges, conferences and events worldwide.

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Greenroom Comments

  1. Tom, is so righ about the “moments”, Make the most of them i say!

  2. Thxs so much for the free advise. It is hard getting started with out funds. I will forward you and add you to my Facebook page. Thxs again

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