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Taking Control of the Stage – Beginning with Confidence

This year I’ve been traveling all across the US and Canada and have talked with many artists.  Some of them invited me to see their shows, so when time allowed, I did.

If these artists were confident, I’d be impressed.  Well-l-l… don’t get me wrong… they were all good!  But I didn’t see anyone take control of the stage.

In fact, quite the opposite.  These artists were doing things from the stage that said, “I’m not confident.” And the really sad thing about it? They didn’t know they had a problem, and…the problem is fixable!

One of the things every artist needs to work on is what I call “The Foundation.”  It has to do with what artists go through mentally, psychologically, emotionally, and even spiritually, on (and off) stage.

Along with creating moments or constructing a set list, the most discussed topic I ever have with artists is their confidence level.  Some artists are not really confident and want to gain confidence; other conversations involve artists who say they are  really confident.  They think they don’t need any work in that area.

Confidence comes from being prepared.  You know your instrument.  You know your parts.  You’ve woodshedded enough and rehearsed enough to be confident in what you’re doing onstage.  Confidence is important.

But to become a great artist, confidence is only the BEGINNING!  It’s a great place to start.  But there’s more to “The Foundation” than that.

After confidence, I help artists build authority. Authority comes from the inside out.  The way to tell if you have authority onstage is you’ll see your audience paying attention.  Paying attention like that old E.F. Hutton commercial – ever seen it? Where you hear someone say the name “E.F. Hutton” and everyone stops and listens?  That’s how your audience should be when you’re onstage.

Confidence, then authority.  And then comes charisma.  Charisma is the most attractive thing about any human being on the planet.  When someone has charisma, we often describe them with the words “star,” “important,” or “special.”  I’ve had people tell me over the years, you either have charisma or you don’t.  I disagree.  I believe it can be developed.

Confidence, authority, charisma, and this – ever had friends come back from a live show and say it was like a “religious experience?”  That’s the 4th piece to this puzzle: where the music is transcended by the spirit in the room at the concert.

But it all begins with confidence.  Maybe you believe you are confident, but your audiences aren’t responding the way you want them to.  My question is, are you communicating confidence to the audience by the way you stand, the way you walk, the way you talk, and with your placement onstage?

You might be feeling really confident, but your non-verbal signals may be saying something different. And I hate being misunderstood, don’t you?

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. And to some, that doesn’t come easily. when your a shy quiet and introverted person, you may have more of a challenge to come out of your shell and that can take time. but it’s more about getting to the end goal and engaging your audience. the confidence will come with time if you don’t have it at first, but you need to be realistic when you start. I remember seeing this one band and they guy thought he was the shit, but his show was crap. our band at the time played before theirs and the guitarist after seeing us said to us “this is my last gig with this band” and we hadn’t even seen them live yet…lol.

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