man singing and playing piano on stage“To be on stage is to be in charge.”
The Musician’s Way, p. 179

Take a moment to recall the stage presence of some memorable soloists: Don’t they convey a sense of authenticity and enjoyment?

I’ve found that authenticity and enjoyment are key features of commanding performers, so it can appear that stage presence arises mainly from inborn factors – akin to personality.

In fact, projecting a commanding presence from the stage involves skills that any musician can learn.

Here, I encapsulate four essential components of stage presence that I’ve taught for years and that I expand on throughout The Musician’s Way: 1. preparation; 2. desire; 3. strength; 4. showmanship.

Four Components of Stage Presence

1. Preparation

Thorough artistic and technical preparation underpins our ability to be secure and expressive under the lights.

Similarly, smart organization ahead of events ensures that we arrive on time, in a positive mood, and with all of our equipment ready.

2. Desire

When we’re not only prepared but also passionate about sharing our music, our commitment and enthusiasm draw listeners in.The Musician's Way book cover

3. Strength

Audiences look to us to take them on musical journeys.

So, whether our on-stage personalities are outgoing or laid-back, we need to hold the stage with the vigor of leaders. To that end, it’s crucial that we maintain our health, ensuring that we’re rested and fit when the curtain rises.

4. Showmanship

Showmanship (or show-womanship) entails projecting our love of music and our desire to commune with listeners – it doesn’t equate with flamboyance.

Whenever we’re on stage, whether we’re performing for the public or an audition panel, our demeanor, gestures and speech should broadcast an invitation that says, “Let’s share something magical!”

See The Musician’s Way for comprehensive guidelines to excel as a performing artist.

Related posts:
The 5 Facets of Performance Preparation 
Mastering Performance Skills

Practicing Performance
Projecting Ease
The Zing of Adrenaline

© 2012 Gerald Klickstein
Photo © T. Morozova, licensed from