In this guide we'll look at how to prepare for a gig. This guide will be useful whether you're preparing for your first gig, or you've done a few before.
If you are a musician or singer and want to showcase your talents, performing at your first show can be pretty scary. Many aspiring musicians tend to try their luck first at open mic nights in order to test themselves and see if they are ready to venture into the live gig scene (Bonus tip 1).
Open mic nights can actually be a very productive way to see how comfortable you are with performing live. It takes a lot of confidence to get up on stage, and this can be a great way to test your ability to perform with very little pressure.
Stepping on stage that first time can be tough, but it’s all part of the preparation you need to complete in the lead up to a live event. Once you have built your confidence and have a couple of open mike nights under your belt, performing a gig should be no problem at all. In addition, with a bit of well thoughts out planning, you can ensure you give the audience the best possible performance.
Here are the most important aspects of preparing for a gig, so when you get on stage, you can relax and enjoy the show. Please bookmark this guide and refer back to it when you are preparing for a gig.
Note: This guide was written by Jenny Beswick representing guitar shop DV247. Edited by Shaun Letang.
But first, if it's your aim to do music professionally, you'll want to check out our free ebook while it's still available:
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1. Write Everything Down
When the day of your gig arrives and you're rushing last minute to make sure you've got everything, it's all too easy to forget that one item you're really going to need. Because of this, writing up a check list a few days before hand is always a good idea.
You can use this checklist to ensure you've got everything packed, and ensure you don't forget that backup CD or your merchandise for after the show.
As well as a check list, you may want to write down your song order, any costume changes, alterations in stage set up, or intervals and breaks. Give copies out to everyone concerned, and make sure they read through it and are up to date with the itinerary.
Writing things down when you prepare for a gig is all important and will allow you to increase your income and impact from each gig. Doing things off the top of your head alone is too easy to get wrong, so make sure you have a paper based backup.
2. Do A Sound Check
Soundchecks are all important if you want to make sure your vocals and levels come out how you want them to. That said, you may be surprised at how many bands decide to skip this step and hope everything works out for the best. It can be a pretty tedious job checking all your amps, speakers, microphones and instruments, but it's well worth it. After all, would you prefer to find out the microphone is way too low during your live show, or before hand when you could do something about it? Before right?
Sound checks are especially important if you are playing at a venue which you are unfamiliar with, as this gives you the opportunity to check the acoustics and get used to any equipment they provide you with. Even if you are very pushed for time, don’t leave out your sound check as it could result in red faces in the middle of your gig.
3. Equipment Backup – How To Prepare For A Gig
Although it probably wont be possible to have a backup of every single piece of equipment involved in the gig, the most important ones should always be backed up. This includes any musical instruments involved, any important sound equipment such as speakers and microphones, ear plugs and the like.
As a musician, you should ideally have at least one backup of your chosen instrument or microphone, and it should be tuned and ready to go if it is required. If everyone you make music with goes by this, you should be well prepared for a gig in this area of things.
Ok, so that's the first three steps of preparing for your first live show. Here are the next three:
There are many more people involved in a gig than you might think and all these people need to be primed with the performance itinerary. These people include backing dancers, sound people, marshalls, other band members, any media teams, and the press. Everyone needs to be involved from the planning stage right up to the point you go on stage. Ask for suggestions, make sure everyone is happy with their role, and sort out any concerns people have well in advance of the performance.
5. Think Consistency
Consistency is all important when gigging. First of all, you'll want a consistent group of people around you. People you can rely on, whether they are other band members, friend that support your music, or anyone else you have decided to work with.
As well as support, as an individual you need to regularly practice in preparation for your gig. The better you have your routine down, the more consistently high the levels at your shows will be. This will give a better experience for your audience, and mean they're more likely to go away and talk about you for the right reasons.
The thing is, if you get to the stage where you're playing gig night after night, each show will still have to be just as good as all the others. Someone who's coming to see you on the 30th day of your 30 day tour won't think “It's his last day, it's ok if he doesn't put on a good show due to burn out”. They'll be thinking: “I finally got tickets to see an act I like, this should be the best show ever”. And if you don't deliver, you will lose fans.
So make sure you're consistent with your approach to gigging for best results.
Ok, so you've done all your sound checks, written lists, talked everything through with everyone involved, and have spare instruments in case one stops working. So, what are you worried about?!
Relax and enjoy your performance. And even if something does goes wrong, don’t stress, you are organized and can deal with it.
The audience can see nervousness, so try and relax and just enjoy your moment. After all, a gig is what you wanted, and a gig is what you got. So make the most of it. 🙂
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About The Author
This post was written by Jenny Beswick, a woman with a passion for music. She works on behalf of DV247, a supplier of Fender guitars.