- Sing full voice when rehearsing/preparing for a gig, don't just do vocal exercises. You have to have not just correct form, but also sheer vocal stamina to perform well.
- Wear shoes your feet feel great in. Your voice needs your feet.
- Don't point a mic at a speaker. That's a good way to make an instant enemy of your sound person.
- Start hydrating yourself early. Drink your water and water-mixes at least a day BEFORE the performance... don't wait til the morning of. Steam in a hot bath or shower to moisten your throat just before the gig.
- Be sure to warm up your voice for rehearsals as well as performance. Kind of dumb to trash your throat before your gig.
- Also do a warm down of your voice after the rehearsal or gig. This minimizes vocal cord swelling. A warm down is like a short version of the warm up, with a special focus on head voice exercises to re-lift a voice that's been singing a lot of chest voice.
- Don't talk to a lot of people before you perform. Find a quiet space to chill out and focus.
- Don't treat any performance as unimportant. It's a really bad habit to allow yourself 'less than' your best, and it could end up as the one gig where someone important hears you.
- Bring your own gear if at all possible. It bolsters confidence to play your own axe, which you've used so much it's like a part of your body.
- Rehearse your band or accompanying player or background singer(s)... or go it alone! Never leave it up to others to 'do the right thing' and know your stuff unless you've gone over it with them.
- Don't leave high notes to chance. Make sure you sound them at least once that day by rehearsing that place in the song before you go on, and you will be most likely to use the confident body language that will enable the notes in performance.
- Eat a simple, high protein meal a couple of hours before you sing. It's best not to perform on a swollen belly OR and empty one.
- Don't consume mucous-forming foods or drinks if you are scheduled for a performance. Watch this even days before the gig.
- Do a light physical workout the day of your gig, being especially careful not to strain your neck and shoulders.
- Double-check that you have everything. I once left every stitch of my performance clothes hanging over my bathtub. Another time I left my piano stand. Then there was the time I forgot what state the gig was in. Argh.
- Always bring gaffer's tape. You won't believe what I've needed it for... everything from taping my set list down and my piano's sustain pedal so it doesn't slip around to using it to fix my bus's headlight.Oh... and engineer/producer Ronny Light reminds me to actually make it Gaffer's tape , not duct tape, so as not to leave adhesive all over stuff.
- Leave early... arrive much less stressed. Especially when that road, you know that one you always take... has been closed due to the football game. I re-learned that one last week:)
Judy Rodman - All Things Vocal Blog
Training & insights for stage and studio singers, speakers, vocal coaches and producers from professional vocal coach and author of "Power, Path & Performance" vocal training method.