You have written the songs, practiced a lot, and are finally ready to play in front of a live audience. This is an important stepping-stone to bigger things, but how do you prepare for your first live gig – or live streamed gig if COVID-19 restrictions are still in place? Here are some tips to get you through.
Prepare Your Material
Ideally, you should be able to play your older material as well as your new material. This includes everything you have written and recorded until now. While you might be tempted to play your latest songs because they are likely much better than your older ones, you have to remember that you need enough material to fill a set.
It can be difficult to know how many songs you need to prepare, so the best course of action is to ask the promoter how much time you have been allocated. To know how many songs you need, assume you need four minutes per song. So, for a 30-minute set, you need seven to ten songs.
It is important that you do not take any gigs where you do not have enough songs to fill a set. This could lead to hastily writing new material to fill the gap. This is a bad idea as you will not have enough time to refine the material you are going to play.
When you are a solo act, you might play, sing and record all the different parts of your song. Although this might work when you are recording, it is impossible to do when you go live. You, therefore, need people to play other parts that you cannot during the performance. This might mean scouring for talent to handle the bass, drums, rhythm guitar or any other instruments your songs need.
This does not mean that you have to start a band because that is a whole other challenge. Instead, find fellow musicians to fill the parts that need to be played. These should be people who can memorize your songs and learn to play them fairly quickly because you might not have a lot of time before the performance.
If you’re doing your gig over a live stream channel, bear in mind space might be limited in the area where you are recording your act.
Nothing prepares you better for your first live gig than practicing. Practicing ensures you have a full understanding of all the songs you need to play, the order in which you will play them, and the transitions between all the songs. Repetition is good for your mind, voice and fingers because it bakes everything you have to do into your muscle memory so that you are able to play without having to think about it. This minimizes the chances of fumbling, forgetting vocals or making mistakes.
If you are playing with a band or a new team, it is important to book a rehearsal session at a local studio. If you plan to play or are located around Los Angeles, you should check out Pirate Studios’ Los Angeles rehearsal room. Pirate Studios provides you with a rehearsal room and allows you to enjoy their drums, amplifiers and microphones for free, so you can better tune your performances. Their rehearsal rooms are open 24 hours a day, and they come with communal kitchen and areas for when you need a break. You can get more information and sign up for a rehearsal room. Note that Pirate is open despite the COVID-19 restrictions, so you can work on new material if your live gig has been canceled for the time being.
Get Comfortable on Stage
Playing in front of an audience for the first time, in-person or via digital media, is intimidating. If you are filled with fear at the thought of getting on stage, you probably are not ready for a live performance. You are not alone, though, because any seasoned artist will tell you that getting on stage for the first time is always challenging for everyone. Don’t worry, because there is something you can do to get rid of this fear – after you get your first call to perform live, try to look for opportunities to perform in front of a small crowd. It is a good opportunity to gauge how people will receive your music and give you an opportunity to fine-tune your performance.
Live Gigs in the Time of Corona
Live gigs have been sidelined as the COVID-19 pandemic rages. This means many artists are being forced to think outside the box. Luckily, thanks to the availability of digital solutions, artists can perform live gigs via live stream platforms such as YouTube and Facebook Live. Drive-in gigs are another possibility, as the audience can practice social distancing by watching the concert from their car.
Luckily, despite the restrictions in place for the foreseeable, artists can still write new material and rehearse at studios like Pirate, which is good news for their fans!
Getting booked for your first live gig is an exciting prospect. It is important you prepare to perform your first gig because when you do, you will be better on stage and give people the best experience at your show.
Author: Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.