Saturday, July 11, 2015

Tips For Playing Out

Most of us Home Studio guys and gals are musicians first and foremost. Therefore, from time to time we actually leave our Home Studios to display our talents live. Okay, so it has been awhile since I have played a show outside of my studio, and to more than just my wife and children. So as I was gathering up the gear, finishing up the set list, and generally packing for our weekend "stay-cation" in Bloomington Indiana, I thought I'd compile a small list of things (yes, I love lists) that are needed when you're thinking of playing out or are in preparation for just such a thing.

This is kinda subjective to each musician, as each one will have varying needs depending on what their instrument of choice is, but here goes.

1) A Set List- 

Okay, I know this sounds like the Kindergarten of tips, but you would be surprised how many musicians forget this critical element to a smoothly held show. There is nothing more unprofessional than a singer/songwriter setting for 2-3 minutes going "Hmmm, what should I sing next?" Now, I know that we must change that list at times to accommodate various situations that may arise, but it helps to have structure and guidance. (especially when in front of a crowd)

2) A Back Up- 

If you are a guitarist, this will really hit home. How many times has that High E string snapped at just the "right" time?! It pays dividends to have an extra set of strings on hand or two, and if you are fortunate enough even an extra guitar. I mean think about it, your loyal fan drives a distance, takes time away from their busy lives, and comes to watch a nobody perform. Then they get there and the guitar falls off its stand and the neck breaks! (Lord forbid) Another scenario is that if you are playing an electric make sure to have n extra cable on hand, extra picks, and an extra strap. Maybe that's to many extras, but I am a cautious guy. This thought of extras really can apply to any musician regardless of their instrument of choice.

3) Recon- 

I love using hose fancy military terms to something completely unrelated. Before you play, where ever it may be, know your venues preferences before you get there! Call them, ask questions, it will not only make you look more professional but it could save you a big headache. Some questions you need to ask is as follows:

  • Do you guys allow pictures/videos to be taken?

  • Are there any rules or specific guidelines that I need to know about?

  • What do I need to bring with me? An amp, a microphone, etc.?

  • Do you allow monetary tips to be accepted by the artist?

Those are just a few that I can think of. Oh. and do you like how I just squeezed another list in on ya?
Sneaky huh!? Another good thing to do is to go to the venue before hand, if possible, and get a visual on where you might perform, where the bathrooms are, etc.

4) Great Material-

When playing out, you have a short window of opportunity to "wow" your audience. You're not going to hold there attention very long, even if you are good, because for the most part people come to see bands or solo act that they already know and can sing along to. Now, if you are doing covers you might hold their attention a little longer if you're a good representation of who you are trying to cover. But for those of us, like myself, that have a set-list comprised of originals you want to perform your best stuff when the most people are present.

Though this is better caught then taught I hope that these few tips will help in some way to better prepare for a gig. If you have any tips concerning this topic let me know through email, or better yet comment below so we all can benefit! This blog/website has only been open a short while and has already received over 5,000 page views! Just think of all the people you could be helping out!

Have a blessed day!