One of the most important parts of being a musician in a band is performing, but the thing that separates a good performer from a great performer is stage presence.
You can be the best musician in the world and play the craziest songs but if you have poor stage presence it will take a lot away from your set.
Having good stage presence is difficult because a lot of groups form bad habits and do not recognize the harm these habits cause to the show.
The first thing you can do as a performer to improve your stage presence is to use eye contact. Now this doesn’t mean finding one member in the audience and staring at him until he walks awkwardly off to the bathroom, but moving your graze around the room and looking engaged with the crowd.
You will find so many bands that will just stare at the floor. Doing this makes you look nervous and embarrassed to be on stage. You are the show. Own it. Look at the crowd and show them you happy to be there. Being engaged with the audience will cause the audience to be engaged with what’s happening on stage.
Another bad habit I see a lot of groups get into is that a lot of bands get on stage and then they turn into statues. You have to move. These people came out to your show to have a good time, not watch you stand there and strum chords.
Your attitude is contagious, if you are having a good time so will the crowd. If you don’t jam out to your songs what makes you think the crowd will?
The beauty of a live performance is that is adds a visual element to your music. Take advantage of this by making sure you have a coherent ‘uniform’. Your appearance is important, it is the image of your band and gives people a picture of your group in their minds. If you are a punk rock band wear flannel and band shirts, if you are a jazz combo wear a suit and tie. It is your band so you can be creative and unique.
As you can see from this photo, a different thing my band does to improve the visual aspect of our performance is we purchased a clear bass drum head and put a light inside. I have found it to be very useful to have our own lighting to provide atmosphere for gigs that don’t have any lighting rigs or an added effect for venues that do.
Before every show you should set up a camera and video tape your performance. Being able to watch your performance is a great way to see what you like and what you don’t like about your set and improve it for future performances.
You can also go to shows or music festivals and watch other groups to see what you like and dislike about their set.
Always be on the lookout for things you can tweak and improve upon.
Here is a video of a band who exhibits many factors which allow them to have a great stage presence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAx8udx9azU&nohtml5=False