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How do you improve your stage presence?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Axtman, Jul 23, 2019.

  1. Axtman

    Axtman Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2008
    Seattle, Washington
    I know one of the things I really need to improve on is my stage presence. I tend to stand still and/or look at the musicians. What are some of your tips for improving stage presence for a rock cover band bassist? Thanks!
    expatmuso, Nashrakh and jfh2112 like this.
  2. lokikallas

    lokikallas Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2010
    los angeles
    Dance a little.
  3. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    If you can become taller, it's generally a bonus. Aside from that, moving like you're into what you're doing, and smiling and making eye contact with the audience are generally good things, as is dressing a bit different from how you expect the audience to be dressed.

    Knowing how to play without staring at your fretboard is a good thing to work on. I have played in bands where we would occasionally practice in total darkness, which does two things:

    1) Makes you painfully aware of any parts of the tune you can't play without looking at your instrument. This gives you input on what to practice to get to where you don't have to look at your fretboard all the time.

    2) Makes you focus on hearing what's going on from the other players, which oddly you don't do as well with the lights on.

    Of course, if you're in a shoe gaze band, just stand still and look at your feet. I never understood that genre myself. I kinda always want to be entertained on some level.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2019
  4. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Engage with the audience. Eye contact. Finger points between songs.
  5. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    That's pretty much what most bassists do, so it sounds like you're cool.

    Beyond that, I personally think that the single most important thing you can do is look like you're enjoying yourself, however you are able to communicate that.
  6. akrachanko

    akrachanko Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2014
    Western Pennsylvania
    I'm with @lokikallas. You just gotta dance a little. That's what I do. :thumbsup: To put it in a manner that's a bit more clear, just enjoy the music, whatever that is for you: nodding, dancing, headbanging, doing that Flea thing, whatever! I'd say it doesn't matter as long as you're enjoying the music and having a good time. Usually if you're having a good time and enjoying the music, the audience will too.
  7. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    Move with the music. Have someone video your performance and then watch it. Do you look like you're having fun? If not, what can you do to convey that to the audience? I have a tendency to put on a serious face when I play and I have to remind myself to SMILE because it looks so much better. That's something I learned from watching videos.

    If moving seems difficult, practice at home. Work out a little so that you find you're able to move with more ease when you're onstage. Engage with the audience but don't do it insincerely. Nothing looks worse than mugging into the audience with a fake smile. Remember why they're out there and look at them with gratitude.
    expatmuso, John6, ChrisWright and 9 others like this.
  8. 4 Strings Good

    4 Strings Good

    Mar 6, 2014
    Smile like Kim Deal. She's got a guitar in this pic but every time I saw her playing bass with the Pixies she was beaming.
    Totally infectious, crowd adored her.
  9. Step 1: Smile. Why are you smiling? Because the music is sooo good.
    Step 2: Now dance like you're listening to music that is sooo good.
    Step 3: Look at the audience in a way that says, "This music is sooo good".
    Step 4: Profit.
  10. RichardW


    Feb 25, 2016
    near Philly
    Movement is key. I try to step away from the mic when not singing and then rush up to it when I have to sing (duh). Seems obvious, but it's an easy way to force yourself to move around.

    Of course, John Entwistle was famous for barely moving at all. But then, you're not John Entwistle and neither am I.

    And did any one mention not wearing shorts? ;)
  11. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    Power pose and windmills!
    twocargar, fhm555, pappabass and 9 others like this.
  12. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Song Surgeon slow downer. https://tinyurl.com/y5dcuqjg
    Better clothes including shoes
    Better haircut
    Teeth cleaning/whitening/straightening
    Look at the audience way more, bandmates way less
    At least move your head to the music while scanning the audience.
    Bass face
    Keep a bottle of water back near your amp so you can take a sip now and then between songs 'cause you're, you know, working up a sweat dancing to the music.:thumbsup:

    Practice in front of a mirror or video yourself for review so you don't look like a dork, jerkin' around like you're being electrocuted.:roflmao:
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2019
    Beej, SwitchGear, Roffa and 9 others like this.
  13. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    How do you improve your stage presence?
    practice these:
    - :)
    - :D
    - ;)
    - :thumbsup:

    :laugh: and :roflmao: are probably over the top, generally, but acceptable in certain circumstances.

    :hyper: is OK --- it has its limitations.

    wouldn't do this one :drool:.

    :oops: should be avoided even when it happens. and these :sorry: , :unsure: .

    :yawn: = never!

    :bored: , :vomit: , :sour: , :( , :confused: are non-starters.

    i think stage presence, conceptually, is different for everyone depending on the music and the message. i think it's more effective when everyone in the band is in on the concept --- the same image. i see lots of bands with one :hyper: and four :dead: 's. = :rollno:

    good luck with your show! :thumbsup:

    show band = backline/rhythm section member reading music: i smile when i can/want/need to.
    jazz band = i don't worry about it. i can feel that i'm more 'animated' during the occasional solo.
    Scoops, BluesOnBass, martinc and 28 others like this.
  14. oZZma


    Sep 13, 2018
    When I read these threads sometimes I think being a musician is as miserabile as any other job :roflmao:
  15. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    I had a friend who was an amazing guitarist with no stage presence whatsoever. He would go so far into the zone while playing that sometimes he actually would :drool:

    Cracked me up, but he was so good we didn't care.
  16. Just look like you're having a good time up there.
  17. Walk around the stage.
    Stand next to the other band members and say anything.
    Fake-slap your bass body in time to the music when not playing.
    Point your headstock up, then down, Repeat.
    Ditch your daggy clothes, dress like you wanna get laid.
  18. JC Nelson

    JC Nelson Supporting Member

    May 30, 2015
    Full length mirror
    Watch yourself practice at home
  19. Nanaki

    Nanaki Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 2016
    Try and move around a little to the music, it might seem weird at first but you'll get the hang of it. If its too weird just try nodding to the beat or tapping your foot to begin with. Try making eye contact with some of the crowd but if thats feels weird pick out a few spots around the venue and look at those to give the crowd the impression you are. A little liquid courage never hurts.. just don't go over the top :)
    I used to play with a singer that had a great voice but was awful as a frontman, I tried to compensate, felt super awkward but not as bad as us all just stood looking bored.
    retslock, leftyjohn, zon6c-f and 2 others like this.
  20. Hmm, interesting. I personally find listening to music in and of itself to be entertaining.

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