One of the things we are involved in more and more are open mics, talent shows, writers nights, open stages, etc. Some are poorly organized, just a few people getting together, doing a few cover songs for the other writers in the audience waiting their turn, some are very rigidly organized and controlled. Some are "show up and get on stage" many have a long waiting line to get on and are very sought after. They all are important on our way to testing out our material and abilities.
Since we need to put a 'public face' on what we do, it is always a good idea to understand the rules and make the best impression we can.Often it is the first time people hear of us so we need to pay attention to the old saying "Only one chance to make a BAD first impression.
In my experiences as a singer/songwriter for many years and a mentor/coach for almost as many, I see some regular mistakes made. Here are some guides to help you get the biggest bang for your buck:
#1. BE ON TIME.
Far too many people show up just before they go on, and then dash out the moment they finish. This is ridiculous. We are all there to support each other, and everyone needs to network,make friends,and see what their competition is doing.
When you support other people, they will support you. Find out when you are on, show up an hour early. And when you finish, try to catch the next act or two acts. Stick around for a while and be interested in others. It will come back ten fold.
#2. BE ATTENTIVE.
We are in the "selfie" world.Everyone continually checks their cell phones, Facebook, emails, Twitter, Snap chat, Instagram, and whatever else is going on this week, make for huge distractions. Sometimes you need to PUT THE PHONE DOWN.
It is also a way to see if you are connecting with your audience. If you can make THEM PUT DOWN THE PHONE with your material or delivery, you are gaining the upper hand with your audiences. With the current microscopic attention spans, it is getting harder and harder to do.
#3. KEEP YOUR CONVERSATIONS DOWN.
It is nearly impossible not to talk during shows. People have things they want to say, you have people you want to say things too.But you don'[t have to YELL IT OUT ACROSS TABLE! Keep your voice low.Whisper. If necessary, get to the back of the room so you are not drawing attention from the stage. That can be VERY DISTRACTING! GIVE RESPECT TO GET RESPECT.
#4. BE IN TUNE!
There are always little places on the side of the stage or back stage, or EVEN in an adjacent area to tune up. BUY A TUNER and USE IT!
They can be very inexpensive and will always pay for themselves. Keep track of the performer in front of you and about two songs before they finish, make sure you are in TUNE, and have extra strings, picks, capos, lyric sheets, etc. that you will need to go onstage.
#5. BE PREPARED.
REHEARSE your songs! If you are not performing all the time, it is your responsibilities to know your songs. It is not always possible to memorize them, but if you use lyric sheets, try to make them as LEAST NOTICEABLE as you can. Angle the music stand back so it doesn't block the audience's view of you. Try to be DISCREET.
#6. KEEP YOUR INTROS AND STORIES SHORT.
There are usually many people on a show trying to perform. The longer you go on with your intros, the more you play over the non-existent solo, (just chords played over dead air) the less time others have. BE AWARE OF OTHERS.
#7. DON'T TUNE WHILE OTHERS ARE PERFORMING.
Last minute adjustments are inevitable. Weather, heat, cold, or other changes in atmosphere can make guitars go out of tune. Sometimes we have to adjust while we are up. Again, this can be done quietly.
Having an "in-line" tuner (one that you can step on to mute out of the system) can allow you to DISCREETLY (there's that term again!) to tune while others are performing or setting up their songs. But you have to do it quietly. The In-line tuners can mute the sound out of the PA.
But even at that, you have to be aware of others onstage with you. If there are more than one, don't tune when the person sitting next to you is working. Wait until it gets further away from you.
#8. GET OFF THE STAGE.
When you finish, watch the sound person, to mute you out of the system, unplug and move off the stage. Take your things with you. make sure you have your tuners, lyric sheets, water, capos, etc. off the stage with you. Helps to have pockets, a small bag for your things or a friend to help nearby.
#9. TALK OFF THE STAGE!
Many times someone might want to approach you as you finish. They might want a picture, autograph, get your business card., or buy a CD. Get them to MOVE OUT OF THE WAY of the stage. Pull them to the side, again keeping your voice down. have your CD's and business cards handy if that is what they want, AND COLLECT THEIR'S! If they want to have a conversation, move AWAY from the stage area.
#10. KEEP YOUR CASES AND OTHER PARAPHERNALIA OUT OF THE WAY.; there is an area for cases, bags, etc. make sure you USE IT.
KEYBOARD PLAYERS, PERCUSSION OR , EXTRA SUPPORT PLAYERS, THIS GOES DOUBLY FOR YOU! If you have more equipment, BE THERE EARLIER!!! If you can have someone to help you, do that as well.
GOOD LUCK, MAKE A GOOD IMPRESSION,
Thanks to musicstartshere.org
Tuesday, May 03, 2016 Marc-Alan Barnette