There is nothing quite like singing with a band. After having spent some time rehearsing with accompaniment, look for opportunities to meet other aspiring singers and band musicians. A good place to do this is at an open-mic session.
When singing with a band, you will have a wealth of musical activity going on around you, and you will have to communicate with all of the band members. The pianist’s attention will now be divided between supporting you and leading the band, but if you are lucky enough to perform with experienced players you should find them extremely adept at supporting your performance.
If you come in at the wrong place, your best bet is to keep singing and let the band find you. If you come in on the wrong note, you will have to make a quick decision whether to find your key or abort. Either way, trust in the band and take comfort in the fact that they will follow you. When you’re nervous, it’s easy to set a tempo that is too fast and you are then stuck with it for the rest of the song. Remember to take your time and only indicate your chosen tempo to the band when you’re ready.
If you accidentally drop the microphone, get feedback from the PA or your music crashes to the floor, don’t panic. Any experienced band will simply slip into solo mode, and give you a cue when to come back in.
If you’re singing with a jazz or Hi life band, remember that each band member should be encouraged to take a solo from time to time. When they do this, step aside but maintain eye contact and listen attentively to whoever is taking a solo. Remember that even when you are not singing, you are still part of the show.
Endings are tricky, though any experienced band will find a convincing way to end a song, even if you do not! One familiar ending is called a “turnaround”. This means the last phrase is repeated three times to signify the end of the song.