VoiceCouncil will no longer be updated. Articles will still be available for some time.

Three Ways to Add Extra Visual Value to Your Performance

Three Ways to Add Extra Visual Value to Your Performance
These are tips singers really use with success to create truly memorable performances -says Rachel Bennett

So you have been busy with getting gigs and have managed to get your selves a good gig in a dream venue!

This is when the work really starts.

Naturally you have drawn attention to your band and everyone is waiting to see how you do so you can get busy being imaginative about staging your gig.

1. Transform the Stage with a Minimal Set

Check out the local art evening class (or again the local theatre) and see if someone is willing to do you a backdrop or donate props for a minimal set that suits your theme.

At a recent university grad show, one of the performers turned her set into a cafe, leaning on the café table as her band (wearing waiter shirts and dishtowel aprons) entered carrying the glasses and cloths – laid the table then proceeded to play; her songs were about romantic encounters in posh cafes.


A costume theme may “dress up” your visual performance (Source: Katy Perry, Facebook)

2. Consider a Costume theme

Since you are likely to have a theme inked to the organisation/s you have contacted, you can dream up a costume theme for the performance.

Take yourselves down to the local theatre, drama school costume department or festival workshop and select some nice matching outfits or colour themes.

A couple of years ago I saw an Italian band at a euro Pop Festival in London and the whole band were in clown costume – the singer wore the full regalia – make up, hooped dress and striped stockings … much of their theme was political protest so they had fun being ‘angry or sad clowns’ – their publicity shots were amazing!

3. Get the audience singing

Dream up a way of involving the audience in at least one of your songs; you can hand out lyric sheets or borrow a projector from the local school; or simply take a minute at the start of the song to teach the chorus … audiences love to be involved.

I’ll never forget when I saw Faith Evans at the O2 and she sectioned the audience into a choir – we all ‘went to church’ for 10 minutes and she was the choir leader – the audience went wild! Even better if your musicians can play the role!

You can take the projector idea further by perhaps screening pictures of the work done by the charity or organisation you have linked with – maybe include quotes from satisfied user groups or individuals.

Make sure that all this is organised alongside good rehearsals and you are en route to creating a memorable stage show!

Ask our Bloggers

Rachel Bennett is a London-based vocal coach and singer songwriter. She is the lead singer / songwriter of RAIE and a Musical Director for theatre, television & recording studios across London. She has associations at WAC Performing Arts and Media College and Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama. You can learn more about Rachel on her Website or Facebook. You can see more of Rachel’s writing here.

  • FL-Wolf

    The article above is absolutely correct! When a band plays on stage, they’re not just musicians, they’re also something people look at. Make it a visual experience for them as well. For a few years I worked as a band advisor for stage and studio and most of the bands I worked with ended up having a better visual appeal in addition to their musical skills. Don’t be shy, on stage YOU are the star! Just keep it tasteful and funny.
    I’m still performing, although for mature audiences, but the aspect of getting audiences to sing along hasn’t lost it’s appeal. In my oldies repertoire, “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond, is one of the ‘go to’ songs for getting the people engaged. I also encourage people to sing along with other songs, by saying “sing along, if you feel like it”, or sometimes jokingly, “now only the women’, or “only the men”. You’d be surprised how many people in the audience enjoy singing and ‘letting loose’ for a while.