(from my presentation 'CONFIDENCE, CONNECTING & SINGING WITH EMOTION' at Wes Eggins' singing workshop Sun 27th Nov '11)


• Choose a song with which you  are familiar and can sing well.  When selecting a song, start by choosing artists and songs that fall into your key and tone.

• Choose a song/songs you have sung before and one that ‘moves’ you

• Think about your audience when you choose your song (not just your personal preference)

(eg: if you are an audience member and you like pop/rnb/jazz/dance music ... are you going to give more applause to a Beyonce song or a Mozart aria? The Mozart is likely much harder and requires much more skill, but would you really care?)

• you are the performer and your job is to entertain the crowd.  You can do this best  by giving them what they want.  And if you are passionate about doing a certain type of music and unwilling to do anything else, your challenge is finding the audience that loves your music and getting in front of them


• Choose the right song and make it real – select something you can genuinely sing from the heart

• Once you have a song you can really connect with, break it down further – What’s the emotion behind each line? – type out the lyrics – think about what each part means to you so that you are sure to convey that emotion.  The more you genuinely feel that emotion while singing the more genuine it will feel to the audience



• Have reverence for what you are saying – don’t throw away phrases and end notes

• put yourself in the shoes of the song

analyse the song – have you experienced the same thing? Nearly the same, or something similar that makes you feel the same way?

• define the main emotions and try to feel them in your body as well – if you can find a way to physically feel it with your body, you are on the right track

• Don’t hide – be present in the song – even if you drift mometarily or get distracted, get back to the song as soon as possible.


• analyse your song – work out how you should feel – start making yourself feel those emotions – sing it through a few times – play with the dynamics, the colour of the tone, different inflections, and the length that you hold different notes until you’ve created your own version of the song that is (hopefully) so contagiously emotional that your listeners will be totally there with you

• if  you allow yourself to be vulnerable and choose songs that will connect with your audience, you should see a great crowd response.


• stay centred, stay planted and calm – tells audience you have control

• Have an open body stance, shoulders down, head and jaw relaxed, and head straight forward

• Eyes open (focused on a point) – arms relaxed and wide – it is not more emotional for your audience if your eyes are closed.  Your audience identifies with you through your eyes, gestures and outward expression of your inward thoughts

• Notify your face!  - Sometimes we lose track of what’s going on because we are focussing  on the words, the notes, or the crowd of people staring at us.  This can cause someone who is singing a happy song to have a frown or even a scowl. ... the expression on your face has to match the song ... this goes along with the genuine thing

• So much of what we communicate with others isn’t in the words we say ... we pick up on body language and vocal tonality as well

• Get in front of the mirror!!

Sorrow: look somewhat broken (shoulders forward, slight hunch, head probably slightly down)

Upbeat/happy: stand up tall, use BIG  movements, and keep those should way back

Of course, this may change during a song – your facial and body language should shift accordingly.

(as a side note, it’s surprising how much just relaxing your shouders comfortably down and back broadcasts confidence to your audience)

• There is power between motion and stillness


• “act as if” everying is part of the act – don’t allow your audience to know that you’ve made a mistake

• Don’t allow your audience know of vocal problems, can’t hear yourself, etc

• It’s your job to be professional


• if possible, know and understand the stage

- is it: small, huge, platform stage or solid, glaring spotlights

Look towards the audience from the stage and start planning where you should look when performing

• try covering left, right and centre stage during your song (if appropriate)

• Always stand centre stage when you deliver an important message (such as the top of the chorus)

• also, make sure when you are looking at  the audience, stay at a certain section for a while before moving onto the next – to avoid looking haphazard or rushed

• wear the right threads – not talking fashion – but you would expect an opera singer singing about unrequited love to dress differently to the lead singer of a young heavy metal rock band

• but it never hurts to kick it up a notch so that you stick out just a bit!


• Sitting on a high chair gives the performance a more cosy or laid-back feel – often used during unplugged performances or soulful jazz performances.  Unplugged refers to a singer performing on stage with only his instrumentalist – or singer may choose to play and sing – simpler feel

• Also, you may consider sitting if the song is a slower and leaning toward ballad-style


• Many rock singers use and move with their mic stands

• as a ballad singer, you may also choose to use the mic stand – to help make you performance seem more grand and polished

• you can choose to take you mic out of its stand during the later part of your song so that you can move around more on stage and give more variety to your overall performance!


• learn to stay on pitch so you are confident

• rehearse what you’ll be doing so you can 'let go' on stage

• become confident with microphone technique


• work out your set list and what you might say

• having said that, be flexible with your set list – prepare alternatives in case you are feeling congested or you get an energy going with the audience

AND ....

• If you choose the right song, are able to stay in key and are sincere about what you are singing,  you will most likely have a ‘success’

• As you practice different songs, choose a selection of songs and artists, mimic and do it with variety – start developing your own sound, your own style, and get a sense of your vocal range.  Whether your voice is smooth or raspy, it doesn’t matter. Keep your music varied and always practice one step at a time, think about what it is that you have gained along the way!