The number one thing you can do (as a performing artist) to exponentially improve and unlock your BEST live performance is to master what I like to call the ‘ping-pong’ effect. I’ve taught this for decades and the premise is as true today, as it was years ago, and it will continue to be relevant decades after I’m gone. Because the nature of humanity does not change. Humanity is created to crave connection. And music, in a lot of ways, gives us that connection.
When you arrive at a party and the host immediately comes to greet you, welcoming you into the fold, how does that make you feel? When greeted with a smile from a stranger, how do you feel? Do you share the warmth by returning the smile or perhaps you pass it along to another? When bestowing a granule of unconditional love while singing, you begin to create the ‘ping-pong’ effect. It becomes contagious. Uncontainable. It must be passed on. Returned. Just like in the game of ping-pong.
As a performing artist, you are the host of the party. And as the host, it is your job, rather it should be your job, to greet each and every guest with the affection of an old friend. Warm and inviting. And while greeting and engaging guests, usually, they return the love, right!? Therein lies the phenomena of the ‘ping-pong’ effect. You (the artist) give me the love and I (the audience member) return the love to you. You get all the warm, fuzzies and shoot me back more love and I get all aglow and shoot more love right back at ya’ and all of a sudden we’ve got this ‘ping-pong,’ love-fest thing going on lifting us to a higher plane - connection.
Want to build a fanbase or audience? Quit making your performances all about you. Instead, create mutuality. While on stage, try connecting with your audience one-to-one. Make eye contact. Really put forth the effort to connect on a meaningful level taking note of whether the audience responds to you ‘in kind’ feeding and energizing you in the process.
What if you’re playing to a sold-out stadium? Well, you can’t fool a crowd any more than you can fool a few. If you’ve mastered the ‘ping-pong’ effect in an intimate setting, your mastery will certainly transcend into a larger festival, stadium, or concert setting. Nothin’ can hold back that kind of love... And where the ball stops, nobody knows!?