You’re on stage playing your heart out, perfectly hitting every note you spent hours practicing. But as you look out in the crowd, you notice the audience is disengaged, barely paying attention. What happened?

As a musician, you hope the audience is entirely focused on the beautiful sounds you produce. Live performances require more than just technical skill, though. How you appear and behave on stage can make or break your performance. Learn the importance of stage presence and how you can improve yours. 

Stage Presence Meaning

Stage presence is a performer’s (actor, musician, speaker, etc.) ability to attract and engage the audience’s attention. It includes confidence, charisma, and how you carry yourself on stage.  

Why Is Stage Presence Important?

Having good stage presence makes your performance memorable and enjoyable to watch. As you engage and connect with the audience through your stage presence, you may be able to build a returning fan base or book more gigs through word of mouth. 

Plus, great stage presence can give room for minor mistakes. With the audience enthralled by you as a performer, they may be less likely to notice stumbles in your performance. 

7 Tips for How to Have Stage Presence 

You know stage presence is important, but how do you work on it? Here are some tips that can help get you started. 

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1. Plan and Practice

You never want to go into a performance without a plan — and that includes more than just your setlist. If you’re performing alone and not part of an ensemble or school concert, you need to put in some work. Plan how you will transition from one song to the next and when you’ll take breaks. If you’re going to interact with the audience, consider creating some scripts and practicing them. You don’t want to find yourself staring blankly at the audience while you scramble to think of something witty to say.

Practice your entire set from start to finish, including any transitions, breaks, and audience interaction. If you can have friends or family members present to provide feedback, even better!

2. Develop a Stage Persona

Every performer has what is known as a stage persona — a confident, charismatic character they adopt while performing. For some artists, this persona is pretty similar to their everyday personality. But others who are shy or reserved might adopt an extroverted persona. 

Spend some time determining who you’d like your stage persona to be. Consider the personas of other musicians or artists you admire, and incorporate some of their traits into your persona. Once your persona is nailed down, practice adopting it and remain consistent across your performances. 

3. Dress to Impress

While a musical performance should be all about the sound, your visual appearance can impact your presence on stage. You need to make sure your outfit, hairstyle, instrument accessories, etc., match your performance. 

If you’re playing in an orchestra, you may be restricted to a formal, black-tie theme but may be able to get creative with jewelry or your hairstyle. If you’re playing a gig by yourself or with a band, put together an ensemble that fits the vibe of your performance. Maybe that means a romantic evening gown for a cello performance at a wedding or a Western-inspired outfit as you fiddle away in a country group.  

If you play the violin, viola, or cello, a colorful bow is a great way to stand out on stage. CodaBow Chroma bows feature customizable winding and stick colors like emerald, sapphire, ruby, and amethyst. Match your bow color to your favorite performance outfit, or select a color you think expresses your personality.

4. Work the Whole Stage

Unless you’re playing a stationary instrument like the drums or cello, take advantage of all the space the stage offers. Don’t just stand in one spot as you play — move around, jump, dance, whatever feels right! 

Moving around the stage isn’t just reserved for lead singers or guitarists in bands, either. Even artists with more classical instruments can own the whole stage. Look to violinists like Lindsey Stirling — who dances and flits across the stage during performances — for inspiration.

5. Mind Your Body Language and Movement

About 55% of communication is nonverbal, making body language essential for conveying confidence while playing. Don’t hunch or curl in on yourself. Instead, stand proudly with a straight back and confidently move about. Let your body move and flow with the music to show you’re enjoying it. If the audience sees you having a good time, they’re likely to do the same. 

Avoid exaggerated movement, and be mindful not to fidget or show signs of being uncomfortable or nervous. 

6. Make Eye Contact and Smile

You want to connect with your audience as you play. The easiest way to do this is by making eye contact with the entire audience, not just a few members. Be sure to smile frequently and even give a few nods of acknowledgment. 

7. Record and Watch Your Performances

In sports, it’s common for players to watch footage highlights of a game to see what they did well and where they can improve. The same idea can be applied to performing on stage. If possible, record your performance to look back at later. Pay attention to your body language, energy level, movement patterns, and audience engagement. Note what areas can use work and focus there during upcoming practice sessions. 

Shine on Stage with a CodaBow Chroma Bow

Stage presence is all about commanding attention and expressing yourself during your performance. Get all eyes on you and let your personality shine with a customized performance bow from CodaBow. With your choice of winding and stick colors, you can create a bow unique to you. Request an in-home trial for the Diamond SX, Joule, or Luma to find your perfect match, then customize with the colors that will bring your performance to life.