Sunday, October 25

Open Mic Tips

When getting on stage for open mics there are a few things you should remember. You always need to perform at your peak, as you never know who might be in attendance, and you simply should always strive to be the best performer you can. Your songs deserve it. Here are a few more tips to live by.

Be prepared.

Know your songs as best as you can. Even when you might mess up, try to remember to finish big.

Practice with mirrors.
There is a reason dancers practice with mirrors, so they can observe their technique. You need to see yourself as your audience sees you. Also you should try to video tape your performances. By the way, observe the first word of this: practice!

Make sure people can understand your lyrics.

Play with dynamics.

Most performers are hearing the bass, drums, and all the backing instruments in their head. But it is not there when it’s just you and a guitar, so play a little lighter in your verses and more direct and percussive in your choruses.

Avoid too many ballads.

I’m not trying to be controversial, but ballads seem to be about 90% of what are performed on writers nights – which makes them the most forgettable because everyone is doing them. The ballad should be the icing on the cake, not the cake. And since so many of these events are “in the round,” which means three to four people each take turns playing one song, don’t follow a ballad with a ballad. Listening to the other people on stage with you and playing something that sounds different than their songs make for a much more entertaining round. This approach can help you find co-writers as well. How well do you play with others?

Use humor.

If you have songs with a humorous bent, use them. It gets attention and separates you from the pack.

Play often.
Like everything, you get better the more you do it. Play everything you can, and make sure you bring your friends. A club or restaurant are in business to make money, and the more people you bring in to help them keep the doors open, the more you will be able to have a place to play.

Have fun.
If you are not doing that, you are wasting your time. A career is not about those big home runs, playing that one song in front of that perfect person and becoming a star. It is about a lot of small, insignificant things that interconnect and tie together when you might not expect it.

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