Often, clients will tell me that they turn on their performance and expression onstage, but don't feel like they can perform their talent presentation full out in a rehearsal setting. This is an unacceptable habit I encourage everyone to break. It's important to practice your pageant talent full out with the same energy you intend to use onstage. When performing and competing, nerves and excitement will add a different level of adrenaline to your performance. This can affect your stamina, memory, intonation and control. Part of practicing is developing muscle memory, no matter what your talent is. If you practice like you mean it, this muscle memory will be there for you to rely on when you are nervous, excited, or feeling under the weather.
- Practice using a sound system and microphones. It's important to practice your mic technique if you are using a handheld microphone. If using a lavaliere or headset microphone, practice your routine with the mic on to ensure proper placement and to make sure it is secure. Make sure the mic pack is not going to fall out of your costume. If necessary sew a pocket into the back of your dress where the mic pack can sit or wear a mic belt.
- Invite an audience to watch you practice. This will help you feel the difference between practicing by yourself and actually having an audience.
- Video tape your practice sessions. Watch and critique your performance to see if everything is clean and reading from the audience perspective. You may feel like your expressions and gestures are big, but from the audience they may not be big enough.
- Always warm up. Whether you are a singer, instrumentalist or dancer, warm up your instrument. Your warm-up should include a full body warm up, relaxation techniques and vocal warm-up.
- Practice your entrance and exit. Your entrance, bow, and exit from the stage are part of your performance. It is important to include them in your rehearsals so you get used to performing from the moment you hit the stage. Also, know that your bow and exit should be confident and energized as the final impression you leave on the judges and audience.
- Drink plenty of water. Especially during high energy rehearsal sessions and during the stress of competition, make sure you are fully hydrated.