Music & Entertainment

Performance Techniques: Engaging an Audience

Reba McEntire

Lesson time 8:34 min

Anyone in country music knows Reba is a mesmerizing performer. Learn her techniques on how to engage an audience through stories and charm while performing, including taking the audience on a rollercoaster with the set list.

Reba McEntire
Teaches Country Music
Reba teaches her approach to making great country music and navigating the business in 21 video lessons.
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When I go in to select the songs for my set list, it's a team effort. Narvel and I always did it. We sat down, we went back and forth, and he would say this one. I said, ah, I don't really want to do that one. We've done it before. Or, it's not one of my absolute favorites to do on stage. And so we'll have a long list and then we'll narrow it down to what we want to do, or what I'm going to perform on stage. And it's always a tug and pull. And then it goes down to, out of so many, I need to eliminate like five. Which are the best ones that I have something to say about the song, in front of it? So that helps me make the decision. A set list is very important. You have your most important songs. I don't mean in the way of chart success. But they are so important. It's the first, the middle, and the end. So your first song has to be something that gets everybody excited you're there. And so it could be a cover tune, it could be a song of yours, or it could be an album cut. But just something for a reason. On the All the Women I Am Tour, I opened the show with "All the Women I Am," because it was introduction to people who didn't know me. And I'm this, I'm that. This is all the women I am, all the facets of my life and my career. And so that was a great opener. It was kind of like, hey, hi. This is me. Hope you're having a good time because I'm here to have a blast. And then the show kind of runs a roller coaster of emotions. You know, it's, "We're Having fun, and then, "Where Were You When I Could've Loved You," and then "How Blue," and then "Somebody Should Leave." You got to bring them back up. And then you do a song, an instrumental with the band. That's like, "Nothing to Lose." It's a fun album cut but it shows off the band. And then you go into "Does He Love You." and then it's kind of like a, whoa, this is a cheatin' song here. And then it's just a roller coaster of events. But that center is where you've taken them on a roller coaster, and then you get to that middle point. And it can be something that's new. Maybe it's pulling up to the edge of the stage and doing a sit down acoustic thing. And then the end, that's where you take them on a ride of the big hits and the songs they're very familiar with, and we end with "Fancy." When you are transitioning from song to song, it's more interesting to the audience-- at least it is when I'm in the audience-- for me to be able to tell a little story or an example or just something to make a little break between the songs. Instead of saying, this next song I'm going to do for you, why not have a little story about it. Say, for instance, on "That's the Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia," I tell a story about Vicki Lawrence, how she came about singing that song. And it was her one and only number one record. And 20 years later, I recorded it bec...

For Love of Country

You know her songs. Her Oklahoma charm. Now learn directly from Reba in her first-ever online class. Join her as she records a never-before-heard song, creates a new acoustic version of Fancy, breaks down her hits, and delivers emotional performances on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. This is more than a music class. This is Reba's life, business, and country music MasterClass.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Charm and talent. The best welcome to learning I've had. She is so good at rapport and it's a great lesson to learn.

Reba Mcentire was excellent instructor with all her advise and the positive energy she presented during the course of the class.

I really appreciated how Reba discussed the business side of music and loved her lectures on performance tricks with some of her students. All in all this was a highly enjoyable course with some amazing content!

EXCELLENT CLASS! Singing on the worship team, for offering, and now at karaoke, they call me "LITTLE REBA" lol!


A fellow student

She appears to be talking only to me. Amazing. one on one. not sure how she does that. I think it is in the conversation. but I feel like I know her.

Mary Beth P.

Hearing her bits about the songs' stories totally makes sense to make the event a special, intimate experience, but I wouldn't have thought of it that way.


I LOve this, incorporate a little story and how to make the performance as a roller coaster, give them a ride. :)


Well, when I was 12. I gave a speech to a nice size crow and what I remember of being on the stage was all the bright lights and I could not really see anyone. I do remember that I did look out into the crow and completed my speech without a mistake. I understand the importance on eye contact. You know how important it is when in a one-on-one conversation.

Kimberly S.

Yes. Eye contact is vital. Also notice the camera lense the same way like in this lesson. Thanks!

Jonathan S.

Lots of good tips in this one. How to keep going in a bad situation. How to just be honest with the audience if you fall down. I've been performing for 50 years, and she's saying all the things that I've learned. Hers is the voice of experience talking. The one about eye contact is pretty hard to learn, but so very important. People need to know that you're engaged with them, otherwise they think you don't care. And if they think you don't care, it isn't long before they don't care.

Gone W.

Even though she hadn't yet said it, this is exactly the quality of using what I guess she calls "eye contact". But it's the whole directed presence that implies that personal one on one that I responded to. So yeah. It's powerful and one to master.

Kaitlyn T.

Loved this one! This was one of the lessons I was waiting for! Thanks Reba!😇

Heather M.

I loved this class (I love them all) but so many tips on eye contact and why it's important, how to decide set list, how to bring back audience and how to handle emotions, will defiantly apply more eye contact to my performances.

Llalla S.

I have a disability that prevents me from making eye contact, prevents me from singing well and is making it darn near impossible to learn to play instruments. I want to get my songs out there, and my friends around the campfire love the songs but are always ready to laugh with me when my voice does its worst to the lyrics. My husband bought me this class hoping I might find some wisdom about the industry that would help my lyrics find the right voices and instrumentation. Anyone else in the boat with me? I give kudos to those of you who were able to post videos. Good for you!