Your first live performance is an important milestone in your career in the performing arts. This can bring about questions about how to prepare so this first one can go as smoothly as possible.

To help you prepare, this is a list of 8 things you can do to get your mind and body right so you can fully put your talent on display and dazzle your friends, family and other members of the audience.

1. Know Your Stuff

First things first, you should master your lines. You should be constantly practicing your lines until they’re printed on the back of your mind and you’re fully confident that you know not only your lines, but the build up to your lines.

Take advantage of your printed script and highlight your lines, this way you can practice with a friend. Also, don’t rush to do them without the script – start practicing early and you’ll have enough time to gradually phase out the physical script.

Furthermore, think of your character as an individual with a real personality and immerse yourself into being that person. What this does is it helps you to understand why and how your character would respond to certain lines or triggers and allows you to improvise if you forget a line or two.

Learning a song is a little different – maybe even easier because although lyrics can be challenging to memorize, the more you study and practice, the easier it will be to perform it by memory. One great thing about the human brain is that if you sing or hear a song enough times, it becomes etched in your mind and it can be hard to get it out.

You should also try practicing in front of a mirror to help yourself correct any mistakes you notice.

If you have to memorize any dancing, you should practice every day. It takes work to memorize anything in a performance, whether it be singing, talking, or dancing, so it’s important to regularly practice every day until you have it down pat.

2. Record Yourself

The subconscious mind is an incredible part of us that we don’t use enough – especially when preparing for a performance.

Have you loved a song and realized that over time, you could sing it word for word even though you’ve never researched the lyrics?

Here’s another one – have you ever had someone around you constantly singing a song that you thought you didn’t like or care for, and then you started singing it too?

Let’s use this ability to help you prepare for your performance.

Record yourself and replay the song over and over in your down time, in the car or just whenever you usually listen to music to prep and prime your mind for the big day.

If you’re in drama, record the recital of your lines with a friend so the context of your lines will be preserved.

3. Practice and Ask for Feedback

One of the best ways to practice is doing it in front of friends and family to prepare you for performing in front of an audience. Not to mention, you can also get helpful constructive feedback from your peers before your show. Performing in front of a bunch of people before your first show will also help you get more comfortable with acting, singing, or dancing in front of an audience.

A mirror can only get your so prepared so you should take advantage of this opportunity to work on your act.

If you can, try to get your friends and family to invite people you’ve never met. This can warm you up to performing for strangers.

4. Perform Breathing Exercises

There’s no doubt that you’ll be nervous before your first performance. However, taking fast, short breaths can seriously throw you off before and during your show. Instead, before you take the stage, take a few slow, deep breaths so you feel more relaxed during your performance. To help further calm you, you can diffuse stress and anxiety relieving essential oils such as lavender, chamomile, or ylang-ylang to help calm your your nerves. They also work as great, all natural sedatives if you’re having trouble sleeping before the big day.

5. Create Your Pre-Show Routine

Many successful performers have some sort of pre-show ritual or routine they take part in before going onstage. Whether it be wearing a lucky pair of underwear or eating a certain type of food, there are plenty of options you can choose to pick as your pre-show routine to calm your nerves and better prepare yourself.

A number of professional performers say that they avoid dairy the day of their show and they don’t eat an hour before taking the state.

6. Warm Up

Before taking the stage, most professional singers take at least 15 minutes to warm up their vocals. Not only is this a great idea to get rid of any nerves before your performance, but this can also prevent strain to your vocal cords which could mess up your show. You can use any warm-up method you want, but simply any vocal workout that goes through the variety of pitches to loosen up your vocal cords is good as any. Some pros even suggest light exercise before performing to get your blood pumping and improve your mood.

7. Get Loose

Hours before your performance isn’t when you should be reciting. If you’ve been practicing efficiently, you should already be ready days, if not, weeks in advance.

Instead, you should be relaxing your mind and body by doing some of your favorite things that make you happy. Listen to your favorite music, watch cat videos on Instagram, maybe watch some comedy skits on Youtube. Do things that you would do on your down time at home when you don’t have a care in the world.

8. Remind Yourself That It Won’t Be Perfect

Things go wrong at some point or another in many live performances; it’s completely natural and believe it or not, most audiences actually understand this! As long as you stay calm and keep yourself centered, you’ll do fine! Most cases it’s a technical problem, so the show’s staff will already be working on fixing the problem, so you shouldn’t be too worried about it.