First question is: do you even HAVE a pre-show routine?
Second question: What is a pre-show routine, anyway?
A pre-show routine is a list of rituals, exercises, preparations you do before going on stage to perform a show. Many many performers and singers (especially singers) do not have a pre-show routine. That is fine, but by not having a pre-show routine, you are not giving the best show you can, you are not realizing all your performance potential. That’s what I believe!
What sort of things constitute a pre-show routine anyways?
Warming-up your voice:
Warm-up, warm-up, warm-up, warm-up! I don’t know how many times I need to say it, but ladies and gentlemen, take the time to vocally warm up before your show! The benefits of a vocal warm-up are huge, and the disadvantages of NOT warming up are just as huge.
Do you get tired quickly vocally? Do you wish you could sing higher notes? Does your voice start to get worse and worse as the show gets under way? Do you wish you could sing much longer sets? Does your voice HURT after every show you play? Of course it does! It’s because you are not warming up (and may not be breathing adequately for singing, see next blog entry on this topic).
I often say that singing is to speaking, and running is to walking. Some singers think that since we use our voices all day long, that no warm-up is needed for singing. When you go running, do you stretch? Why? Based on the ideology that you speak all day so don’t have to warm-up to sing, then you would think that to you don’t need to stretch before running. And the truth is, you don’t HAVE to stretch before a run, but what happens if you don’t? Your body is gonna hurt much more than if you had stretched, and you probably will start getting tight and burnt out sooner and not be able to run as long as you wanted to. The SAME is true for singing! Yes, we use our voices all day, but when we sing, we are using our vocal chords in a more INTENSE way. We are in many ways, giving our vocal chords a work-out! And it is always better to stretch before a work out.
If you begin to start warming up prior to singing and performing a show, you are bound to have a more agile voice and feel you can sing longer and sing more than way you want to sing. When I warm-up, I feel more free and less scared to sing those high notes because I know I have prepared my voice for those notes, I know I will reach them!
There are many wonderful videos on YouTube regarding vocal warm-ups but here is a video by Eric Arceneaux to start you off (you can view many of his videos on YouTube or can find him on his website at http://www.approach.com):
Stretch your body:
There are also many benefits to going even further and stretching your body! Your legs, your arms, your back, your neck, your shoulders, etc… Stretching gets the blood running and can make us feel more relaxed and centered before a show. Plus if you are all stretched out, then you feel confident in doing your awesome rock star lunges on stage. 😉
Find some time to yourself:
Pre-show time is usually a very exciting time, with lots of fun people and distractions to get into. Don’t be scared to leave the excited for a second, and go “zen out” for a few moments before the show. Take some deep breaths and focus on the things you want to accomplish for this show.
Double-check that all gear, accessories or props are in order:
Be sure to be very organized and systematic in places your gear and accessories in the exact place you need them to be during the show. We know all that a million things can go wrong during a show, so always be as prepared as possible.
What time of rituals or exercises do you do in your pre-show routine?
What additional things could you add on to your pre-show routine?