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Arts & Entertainment

Preparing For Live Performances


Lesson time 7:17 min

If you stay ready, you don't have to get ready. From pre-show rituals, rehearsal techniques and mindful meditation, Usher shares how he preps himself for exhilarating live performances.

Teaches The Art of Performance
In his first ever online class, Usher teaches you his personal techniques to captivate audiences across 16 video lessons.


If you see it in your mind before it happens, it becomes a reality. If you tell yourself, there's an audience, and there may be no one there, you begin to go through the beats in preparing for what's going to happen. And then when you're performing, when you're in the moment of truth, that connection between you and that audience, it's real because you prepared for it. You saw it before it happened. Do your best to project, in your mind, a successful performance before it happens. Being able to visualize when you're in private, is the beginning of a successful performance. Visualize-- no different than athletes do. For instance, a golfer, he sets up for a shot. He knows what the practice is, but he has to see it first. He has to look at the green and the sky, feel the wind, feel all the elements around him, and see it, visualize it before he even takes his swing. And then he focuses all of his attention on what he has to do-- hitting that ball, hitting that ball to perfection. Once he hits it, he has already connected to where it's going to go. His body just has to follow through what he's already seen. It's no different in music. You're focusing on the note. You're focusing on what they're thinking. You're focusing on where we are. You're focusing on if someone else-- get out of there. Get out of there. Focus on who you're singing it to in your mind. Focus on the truth and the passion of what you're trying to say. That right there gives you an incredible connection, and a amazing performance, every time. [MUSIC PLAYING] There was a time when I would perform and I was so afraid that the first note that came out, I would always crack. And I had to get past that. But that's part of the reason why I suggest that you always remember to go through your entire performance when you're at home, so that you don't get into the habit of breaking down mentally and stopping and thinking you got to go back and fix something then. You've got to make it through the entire exercise when you're in private, so that you build up enough confidence, in the event that you do have a moment. No one's perfect. Turn your mistakes into things that you deliberately did. In the end, you want them to say, he meant to do that. Oh, that was just texture. That I was just raspiness that gave you some depth. That was commitment. Even if you crack, make your way through it. When you're at home in your mirror with your brush in your hand, with you guitar in your hand, with the keys, you have to make it through it. You have to go all the way through the performance. And then think back to what you did wrong. Try it again. Work on it. Keep doing it. Maybe run it four times. Five times, how ever many times it takes for you to do it. Man, I run it tens of thousands of times. I sing in the shower. I sing in the mirror, ...

Meet Your New Mentor

Usher, winner of 8 Grammy Awards, reveals the technical skills, career lessons and breakthrough advice that he has used to captivate audiences for over 25 years. For the first time ever, learn how Usher approaches performance and wins over audiences from the studio to the stage. There has never been a class like this before.


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

I'm not a music performer or artist. But I am a writer and with that can't help but wonder how an artist such a Usher creates such strong performances.

I got over the fear of performing publicly thanks to Usher!

Loved this - the main message was about working Usher continues to do.

Thank you Usher and Masterclass! I learned a great deal about performance and treasuring your mentors.


A fellow student

everytime a new lesson starts I have to get out of my couch, go to my computer on the other room and turn on the subtitles again... really wish that once you turn them on they would stay on...

Evgenia S.

Thank you Usher for this lesson! Visualization, practice, meditation and repetition! This is so important! :)

valerie denise J.

youre mastery has changed my life ... my perspective in this fertile universe. this is profoundly exciting! thank you! I pray everyone in this class gets their desired results.

Supriya J.

visualization is very good before every show.. its a great practice when you can see and feel, what is going to happen.. Thanks a lot for this Lesson. Regards


I love how he intentionally prepares for things to go poorly so he can practice getting through it.

Adam W.

when your in the moment of truth....he means flow state check out #stevenkotler


Yes, I love the part about visualizing! I teach yoga and I always take my students on an adventure and vizualize fun vacations, they always leave with a smile on their faces, feeling light and refreshed, I will have to create one for myself for when I perform. :) Thanks Usher

Natalie F.

I loved this lesson and especially the visualization part! A long time ago I used to have a running coach who would have us visualize our races and as soon as I started doing it I actually won one! I never thought of doing it for performing though but it totally makes since. "Project in your mind a successful performance before it happens." Awesome Thank You!

Kevin L.

yo fam. I posted this to the acting lesson too. I host an open mike every month in Long BEach. For my songs this month, I introduced myself as my a character - pretending to be my cousin. I think it went pretty well.

Mikhail B.

Never thought of the working out then meditating. But I'm going to incorporate that from now on!!