What if, hours before you play the gig of the year, your drummer ends up in the hospital with a stomach flu, or your bass player gets called out of town? Whether the issues are related to health or weather, business or family, life can sometimes interfere to prevent your key band mates from arriving where and when you need them. Read more.
Being intentional with different visual presentations for the variety of moods your songs invoke is part of what Tom Jackson calls changing the pressure on your audience during your live performances. “I’m not talking about acting or choreography, I’m talking about thinking, “What should this song look like?'” Read more.
Last week, Echoes published an article about my unexpectedly unplugged and unamplified live music performance at an outdoor festival. The entire band had to make adjustments to accommodate the requirements of the gig – and drummer Rob Mitzner, in particular, relied on a setup he’s customized just for such circumstances. Read more.
I had thought that, even though the gig was outdoors, we would have no problem plugging in amps and instruments. Many parks have outlets tucked away inside lamp posts and maintenance buildings, accessible for public events. As we moved closer to the date, we discovered the city would not in fact turn on the juice. Read more.
It takes more than just great songs and great performances to get people excited about your music career, especially when you’re just starting out or you want attention in a competitive city like Los Angeles, New York, or Nashville. A musical artist must produce a live show experience that excites the audience and reinforces its brand. Read more.
When jazz pianist Vijay Iyer scheduled the New York City release show for his 2015 album Break Stuff, he didn’t choose a standard venue. Iyer’s concert was staged in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Iyer isn’t the first artist to eschew traditional clubs and concert halls in favor of more unique performing grounds. Read more.
When people come to me for band practice tips, one of the questions I get asked a lot is, “What’s too much rehearsal? We want to keep it spontaneous.” Well, spontaneous is one thing, and winging it is another. And most people wing it. When you’re making it up as you go onstage, instead of in rehearsal, you’ll never be great, consistently. Read more.
Most bands, when they rehearse, even for a big show, will rehearse for a couple of days, run through the songs to make sure they’re “tight,” work out the musical parts, and then go out onstage and hope something good will happen. They have no idea what they’re trying to accomplish. Read more.
Updated January 2019. Solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, the fraught politics of professional football, and a missed opportunity to feature Atlanta hip hop have created controversy for the Super Bowl LIII halftime show. Read more.
A good intro will set up what is going to happen next. With most artists and most songs, it’s one of the first parts of a song I need to rearrange. We want to capture and engage the audience, make sure people are with you. I use the analogy of a mother hen gathering her chicks, making sure they are with her and together before she crosses the street, rather than just taking off and hoping they follow. Read more.
You might have great songs and finely-honed chops, but engaging an audience from the moment you walk on stage until the moment your last note fades is another skill entirely. Here are tips from David Darwin (AKA The One Man Sideshow) for indie artists on what to do before, between, and during songs to make your entire music performance as powerful as your individual songs might already be. Read more.
The moments after the song is over present a crucial opportunity to build momentum for your show, and it’s one that many music performers tend to miss. You need to learn how to put pressure on the audience and accept applause. This means that the ending should intentionally ask the audience to applaud – you’ll use non-verbal cues. Read more.
If you are a creative artist, you’ll probably put an original and clever ending on some of your songs – fade outs, unresolved chord progressions, or bleed-ins to the next song, for example. In a recording studio, I say go for it! But live, more often than not, it’s a mistake. Putting a clever ending on a song can sometimes confuse your audience. They don’t know for sure if the song’s over, so you only get a small smattering of hesitant applause. Read more.
We all know practice makes perfect, but sometimes perfect isn’t enough to calm performance jitters, cool sweaty palms, and relax the nerves. So whether you’re heading out to perform for some big festival crowds, going solo for the first time, or just want to get a grip on your performance, here are a few tips to take on – before you step on stage. Read more.
While it’s good to know what you should be doing to advance your music career, it’s also important to be aware of the things you should avoid. With that in mind, I want to share with you nine mistakes I’ve seen musicians make during a music performance. I’ve tried to leave personal opinion out of it, instead focusing on what will make for a poor show for your audience. After all, it’s them you’re there to entertain, right? Read More.