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Polishing Your Act In A Master Class

31 Aug Posted by in Blog | Comments
Polishing Your Act In A Master Class

Do you ever get the feeling that you’re not getting what you want from your performances? Or that your audiences aren’t either? If that sounds familiar to you, you can rest assured that you’re not alone.

I’ve taught live performance master classes for many years in a wide variety of settings, and I can tell you that every class is full of people who want to perform their songs in an authentic and compelling way but feel that something is interfering with their ability to do just that.

This common dilemma shows up in my classes in a lot of different ways. Sometimes I’ll see people who don’t know what to do with their nervous energy, and with some tips they begin to feel focused and grounded. Sometimes people will sing their own songs without being certain of what exactly they’re trying to say, and some guided exploration sharpens the picture for them. Sometimes they’re not aware that something’s going on that puts distance between them and the audience, and some supportive direction is all that’s needed to make that connection happen.

What’s great about the master class format is the atmosphere of support and safety that’s created by everyone, whether they are there to participate or to observe. I don’t allow video recording in my classes, because I want participants to feel free to try things and not have to worry that what they’ve done will show up later on YouTube or Facebook. I also ask people to make sure their comments and reactions to each other are positive, because it’s not always easy to get up and take risks in front of our peers, so we need to be generous with each other.

People share with me all the time what they’ve gotten from this experience (as you can see from the sampling of comments below), and even though their feedback is as individual as they are, it all adds up to the same thing: a greater awareness of what it’s possible to experience as a performing songwriter.

You put a lot of effort into crafting your songs, so you might as well come to your gigs with clear intentions and a deep understanding of what you’re sharing. Then your songs – and your audiences – will get the performances they deserve. And so will you.


Some sample comments:

“Under Vicki’s guidance we watched competent performers transform into outstanding performers in a matter of minutes, and when it was our turn to perform she gave us clear direction that instantly increased our audience engagement.”
—Graydon James and Laura Spink (Graydon James and The Young Novelists, Toronto)

“To have such a calm and unassuming woman perform such feats of transformation before our eyes was unexpected, and truly amazing. In a matter of minutes, Vicki had musicians’ faces and body language harmonizing with their voice and music. We witnessed first-hand the difference it can make in engaging your audience.”
—Crystal Hariu-Damore and Pete Damore (Ordinary Elephant, permanently on tour)

“Vicki displays a vast knowledge of what it means to put on an intriguing show. She knows what makes music interesting to an audience, and it was fascinating to watch artists blossom under her tutelage. She skillfully highlights the traits that define a particular musician or song, and builds on them until the performance becomes the very best that it can be.”
—Jenna Leigh Doll and Shelby Doll (The Doll Sisters, Alberta)

“Working with Vicki is inspiring – at times it feels like magic.”
—Dan Weber (Vancouver, WA)


Vicki Ambinder
Music Performance Coach and Artistic Consultant, Vicki has been a professional in the performing and media arts for nearly 40 years. In person and by Skype/FaceTime, Vicki helps musicians and bands to improve and enhance their live and studio performing skills and to work toward their artistic goals. She is also a CD preproduction consultant and studio vocal tracks producer for independent and self-producing recording artists. In addition to coaching clients across the country and in Canada, Vicki teaches performance master classes and workshops for music conferences, festivals, musician’s organizations, and private groups.

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