Sooner or later, as a guitar player, you’re going to really have to hone your skills as a performer. I know that from the beginning, I was always aware that the “performing” aspect of what I was doing was just as important as the guitar skills I was learning themselves. The truth is, the more we learn to play, the more we should want to “show our wares” to the public, and to be able to be relaxed in a public situation with our guitar playing.
If we are having a good time onstage, there is no question that the audience can sense it, and they just follow right along with you. Just look at bands like the Beatles….their infectious good feelings and relating to one another onstage immediately translates to the crowd, who could just never get enough of them, period! They had great performing skills, and even some “old school” moves and charms, but mainly, they exuded confidence with a capital “C”! If you can do that, you will always walk away from a gig feeling more complete, and much more satisfied. You certainly don’t want to leave any “doubt” up there, and you want the audience as well as yourself to be totally satisfied.
I experienced this the other night with a solo show I played up in Cooperstown, NY, where I had a great rapport with the crowd from the opening note. It just seemed that they were as “with” me when I talked, as much as when I played. This connection between the crowd and myself really helped spur me on to doing an even better show for them than I ever anticipated! In the long run, this is the kind of feeling you should be striving for whenever and wherever you play, and I certainly hope it’s a feeling you get to experience fully.
I always try to tell students that the audience can literally “sense” everything that is going on with you when you are up there. In fact, they can pick up on things and emotions that you won’t even realize you are projecting. With time and experience you’ll be able to predict these kinds of situations, and to use them to your advantage. And let’s face it, when you are happy up there, everybody’s a winner