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June 2, 2016

How to Have A Successful Performance

This is a great interview from the CD Baby DIY Musician Podcast. Tom Jackson is a leading live music producer. He’s the person you go to to help you craft a good live performance. He likens his 4 Pillars of a successful performance to what you would need to build a house. Press the play button below to listen to the interview. I took some notes while I was listening. Feel free to comment. I’d love to know your thoughts on these pillars.


Don’t wing it! Create moments in a show based on the songs. Don’t just sing songs. A great show is a culmination of a plan and spontaneity.  Not either or.

    1. Construction of a set. Your set plan should not be done 15-20 minutes before the show. It should take more time and attention because you want your audience to like you.
      1. Rate your songs by energy, emotion on a scale of 1 – 5
      2. How do people like to be greeted? How should they discover you?
        1. Greet your audience with a 3 or 3.5 song. Not too high, not to low.
        2. Song has a trash can ending. Let the audience know it’s time to applaud.
      3. Make your next move when the applause is starting to come down.
      4. Change the pressure on the audience. Avoid the Chinese water torture!
        1. All of the songs should not sound the same.
        2. Have a couple of fun moments.
        3. Give your audience dessert.




Things you go through mentally, physically, psychologically and spiritually before you go on stage.

  1. Understand your audience.
    1. What do they want? What do they expect?
    2. Your audience wants to:.
      1. Be captured and engaged
      2. Experience moments
      3. Have their life changed
  2. Vision. How will the audience respond to your songs?
    1. Work towards those responses in your songs.
    2. See those moments in rehearsal.

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Materials, tools and skill


Visual and technical things that happen on stage during a show.

    1. Do your songs all sound the same?
    2. If they don’t all sound the same, why do they all look the same?
      1. Be creative with your space on stage. Fifty-five of the connection with your audience is what they see with their eyes.
      2. Practice your stage movements.


Move in


Show your personality and style. People come to see people, not just to hear music.

  1. Develop themes. The themes that you want to develop are inside your songs. What’s magical within your song? What’s fun? Which lyrics are really strong? Is there something touching you can make into a moment? Is there a guitar riff that’s really cool?
  2. Develop character. You are the character. You control the moments. Create space in the show so your personality can show.

Here’s an example of what Tom means when he says to create space to show your personality. He shows an artist how during an intro he can control the song rather than allow the song to control him.

We hope this information has been helpful to you. The many things you can do with your stage performance really ignites the imagination! Let us know what you think in a comment.
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    1. He’ll be at the CD Baby DIY Musician Conference at the end of September. Go to diymusiciancon.com to register. It doesn’t cost a lot and I think there will be great information. I was thinking that we could get a whole group of Christian artists to go and see if they could answer any questions we had that were unique to Christian artists.

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