There's a scene in Talladega Nights: the Ballad of Ricky Bobby in which Will Ferrell is being interviewed and doesn't know what to do with his hands.
Consequently, his hands just float awkwardly up by his face. Funny stuff!
Most of the artists I work with can relate to Ricky Bobby's dilemma, because they don't know what to do with their hands in front of an audience either. It's a big deal for an artist, because you express yourself by using your hands, by looking at the audience, by using angles, and other visual gestures. It makes a big difference in how you connect with people.
Someone wrote in with a question on using angles – how and when to use them. Hopefully you've seen our videos and already know about angles. If you don't, "angles" are simply a way to face and address different areas of the room. There are 5 basic angles and each one gives the audience a different "view" of you, besides allowing you to look at people all over the auditorium. To answer the commenter's question on when to change angles, you first need to think in terms of conversation.
Think about the lyrics and what you are saying to the audience. As in conversation, you want to be sure to finish the thought or phrase looking at someone before moving on to someone else. Think about standing at a party talking to someone. If they were telling you something and in the middle of a sentence looked away and started talking to someone else, you'd think, "what the heck!? THAT was rude." Same thing while you're singing… finish the phrase before looking at someone else. Pivot and angle your body another direction, and sing to people on that side.
Change points in the song (like verse to chorus, chorus to bridge, etc.) are logical places to make a switch. This applies to times you are holding a mic, at a mic stand, or playing an instrument, too. It's a bit more work when using a stand or a guitar, but you need to practice until you can comfortably change angles without looking or feeling awkward! Now, back to the hands… if you are coming off a keyboard or guitar for the first time and are not used to singing without playing an instrument, it's tough! You need to learn to "talk" with your hands.Again, think about what the song is saying and show us visually with your hands and arms.
Try lots of things until you find a way to express yourself that's comfortable and eventually comes naturally. I say 'eventually', because for most singers this is not something that comes naturally. It will feel forced at first. But don't think that also means "I shouldn't do it." Not expressing yourself with your body, hands and arms looks odd and awkward. Remember the Seinfeld episode where Elaine works with a girl who doesn't move her arms when she walks? It just looks weird. Let me know if YOU have questions on this or on other technical skills, or share how you've pushed through the awkward phase of learning to express yourself!