Ideally, you’ll end up playing a lot of live shows. The more shows you play, the more you get in front of an audience, the better you’ll get at your craft, and the more people will hear your music.
The amount of shows you’re playing is often a good indicator of how well your career is going (as long as it’s understood that you can’t just play your hometown all the time). The problem with this is that you’ll end up playing the same songs over and over again. And you may get bored.
In my experience, it takes a long time to get from writing a song, to playing the song live, to becoming bored of it. I’m often still working on the song as I’m playing it live and using the performance to test out different arrangements.
By the time I’ve recorded the song, I’m hopefully excited enough about it that I don’ get bored of playing it. However, I have had experiences where after two years of playing the same songs over and over again, I get bored of it. Here are a few tips to keep your sets interesting.
Test Out Different Arrangements, Live
When the song is still new, it can be fun to test out different arrangements, lyrics, and production ideas on stage. The stage can be the perfect place to figure out where people lose interest, what grabs people, and whether the song is even worth playing at all.
You should only have one or two of these “unfinished” songs in a set – otherwise the music will come off as unprofessional.
In my opinion, you don’t even need to tell the audience you’re playing them “a new one”, because some people might tune out anyway. Just play the song, and see how people react.
We don’t do this as much anymore, but my band used to play the song live a few times with a few tweaks to the arrangement, demo the song, make some more changes, and then play the new version live until we’re happy with it.
It can be a pretty fun way to test out songs and arrive at a version that both you and audiences like. It’s always a bummer to settle on an arrangement that doesn’t work live – this can be a good way to avoid that.
When It’s An Unreleased Song, Play It As Is
An artist that I play with has a policy of always playing new recorded songs exactly as is until after they are released. That way people get a taste of exactly what the song is going to be like when it’s released.
Once The Song Has Been Released, Experiment With It!
As soon as the song is released, all of your fans will have heard it. It might be smart to keep the arrangement faithful to the recording for a year or so, but I don’t think it really matters.
One of the best parts about going to see a live show is seeing what bands and artists do with their old songs. Everyone gets bored of their songs eventually, so people make changes. I think it’s fun, as an audience member, to be surprised by a new bridge or an extended intro, or a longer solo section in a song.
|You’ve only read some of this guide.|