Live Performance

This Psychologist Wants You to Stop Wasting Your Practice Time

**Guest Post by Ian Temple of Soundfly.

 

"If you’re anything like me, your practice routine is something you do intuitively. It often involves sitting down with your instrument, playing a few scales, banging around for 20 minutes on a few songs or improvs, maybe working on something specific for 10 minutes in a repetitive manner, and then bowing out. Basically, it’s casual, repetitive, and thoughtless. The problem is that these tendencies are the exact opposite of what we should be doing if we want to see real improvement, according to Dr. Anders Ericsson."

Why Doing This One Thing Will Make You A Better Live Act

**Guest post written by Scott Aumann, originally featured on The Legit Musician blog.

 

"One of the best things to do in order to improve your live performance is to record your shows. You can record audio only, or record video. Either way, make it a point to review your recordings and critique yourself. Don't be too critical, but be honest with yourself. This is a great way to find what works, and what doesn't work."

7 Tips for Filming (and Performing) Your Tiny Desk Contest Entry on Your Own

**Guest post by Niki Walker, lead videographer of NPR's Tiny Desk series. Originally posted on NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Contest Tumblr.

 

"The Tiny Desk is essentially the opposite of a concert venue or a music video. There’s nothing to hide behind except a real, tiny desk, in a real, very-active office. In some ways, our look is easy to replicate, because it’s all about the music...A lot of people film their Tiny Desk Contest entries on their own, so we thought we’d share a few things we’ve learned by filming almost 600 of these things..."

When To Take an Unpaid Gig

**Guest post written by David J. Hahn, originally featured on MusicianWages.com.

 

"You get a call. It’s a friend of yours, they are throwing a big party, and they want you to play for the guests...You get another call. It’s a local non-profit. They are throwing a fundraiser at a fancy venue and they want you to provide entertainment for a couple of hours...A third call comes in. It’s a local venue. They are having an event next month and 5 bands are playing a 30 minute set each. They’d like to invite you to perform...So what do you do? Do you take these gigs? You know that you have to make a living, but you know you also have to get out there and play for people."

5 Ways to Generate House Concert Leads

**Guest post written by Joy Ike, creator of Grassrootsy.com and Independent Musician, as featured on Grassrootsy.com.

 

"For a while there, house concerts were a trendy idea for independent artists that caught on pretty quickly...But now house concerts are actually becoming the primary means for many artists to make their living...Here are 5 ways that I’ve used to generate solid house concert leads."

Musicians’ Checklist: 23 Little Things That Will Help You Nail Your Next Gig

**Guest post written by Megan Liscomb, originally posted on TakeLessons.com.

 

"Congrats on getting the big gig! Whether you’re preparing for your band’s first show or your album-release party, these tips will help you learn how to promote your band, make your best impression on stage, and get invited back to the venue to do it all again."

Why Bands Should Play Two (or More) Shows in the Same Town in the Same Week

**Guest post written by Cristof Ensslin, cellist/manager of The Wilhelm Brothers, folk rock with cello infusion from Asheville, NC.

 

"Are you booking for an indie band? Have you ever come across a venue mentioning you ought not to play another show within a certain radius and timespan? Chances are, you have." But what if you could play multiple shows in the same town in the same week and the venue could also benefit...

Improving Speaking Skills Between Songs - Part 3 of 3

**Guest post written by Wade Sutton of Rocket to the Stars.

 

"In the third of a three-part video series, Rocket to the Stars' Wade Sutton continues examining how artists can improve their speaking skills when on stage performing at live shows!" Sentence structure is key...

Improving Speaking Skills Between Songs - Part 2 of 3

**Guest post written by Wade Sutton of Rocket to the Stars.

 

"In the second of a three-part video series, Rocket to the Stars' Wade Sutton continues examining how artists can improve their speaking skills when on stage performing at live shows!"

How To Improve At Speaking Between Songs

**Guest post written by Wade Sutton of Rocket to the Stars.

 

"Finding a comfort zone while speaking to audiences between songs is something that has been problematic for MANY singers...So I spent a large portion of time over the past year ­and ­a ­half exploring this very issue and looking for ways artists can improve at this extremely important, yet often neglected, skill..."

Shows: Which Ones to Play, When to Play Them, and Why

**Guest post written by Joy Ike, creator of Grassrootsy.com and Independent Musician, as featured on Grassrootsy.com.

 

"...we thought it would be important to talk about the different types of shows out there and give you a comprehensive understanding of the types of shows you should be taking at certain stages in your career depending on what city you are in and depending on the timing. Yea, that’s a mouthful, but stick with us and you*ll get what we mean..."

Turn it down a few notches, please!

**Guest post written by Paula Tolly, one half of the Boca Raton based Americana duo 33 Years.

 

"My band recently did a gig where, just after the first song, a note was delivered onto the stage...“Turn it down a few notches, please.” Really? It’s Saturday night and this is only the FIRST song. (sigh) So I ask you, ‘what would you do?’ At first, this seems like a pretty easy question, right. But think - there you are in your first set and how do you really want to deal with this negative feedback?"

Why You Should Be Doing House Shows

**Guest post written by Wade Sutton of Rocket to the Stars.

 

"When you take into consideration how many singers and musicians complain about the current state of artist-venue relationships, you would think most performers would jump at the opportunity to explore alternative methods of putting on shows and generating income...I'm here to tell you that there IS an alternative live show model, house shows, that many artists ARE having a great deal of success with...So I reached out to somebody for answers..." 

Why Bands Need to Stop Bitching

**Guest post written by Wade Sutton of Rocket to the Stars.

 

"Saxophonist Dave Goldberg has been getting a lot of attention lately for an open letter he wrote to operators of venues that host live music. The letter was Goldberg's way of sounding off against venues not paying artists as much money as they feel they deserve. The text, while not hostile in nature, was extremely misguided and managed to ignite another round of firestorms by similarly misguided artists. It was missing a lot of important information concerning why the music scene is the way it is right now and really offered little in the way of how to improve it other than to say venues should simply pay bands more money..."

Why Your Acoustic Show Doesn't Have to Suck

**Guest post written by Wade Sutton of Rocket to the Stars.

 

"So many artists forget about and fail to take advantage of what makes an acoustic show in a small venue so important to building a fan base. The audience is close to you. The setting is intimate. The audience can see you expressing emotions with your eyes and face. Yet so few actually capitalize on the opportunity." Read on to find out how you can...

The Worst Brand of Opening Bands

**Guest post written by Joshua Powell, singer-songwriter, DIY musician, and frontman for Joshua Powell and the Great Train Robbery, as featured in his blog Fearsome Folk.

 

"So we’re on this bill and the first act is a singer-songwriter who sang from a digital piano. Now, I have zero intentions of discrediting him or her, or of being condescending in any regard – this blog won’t serve as an outlet for snark for snark’s sake. But in my observations of this artist, I collected some notes that demonstrate well what I believe to be three ways to NOT conduct yourself as an artist who aims to be taken seriously..."

Principles of Playing an Excellent Show

**Guest post written by Joshua Powell, singer-songwriter, DIY musician, and frontman for Joshua Powell and the Great Train Robbery, as featured in his blog Fearsome Folk.

 

"I met with my old friend Sal at Panera one morning. He’s a young and aspiring musician and was willing to look past my greasy hair and elbow-holed flannel to ask for advice on getting his foot into the door of the independent music community....As I fumbled to explain to Sal what I believed makes our show (or any show) one of superior quality, I realized that I could distill most of the factors into four easily digestible elements...and I believe them to be..."

The Visual Aspect of Music

**Guest post written by Danny Schmitz, an indy musician, writer, and connoisseur of all things Mexican food.

 

"Being a musician, it has taken me a long time to accept the fact that music is actually quite visual. To be honest, I’ve always intrinsically known this, but have never really realized it. There is no disputing that people associate their favorite artists with their best-known songs, but it is almost always accompanied by a visualization of the artist."

How to Make Your Audience Love You!

**Guest post written by Sarah Lynch, digital music marketing and social media content manager.

 

"Just how powerful does a statement have to be in order to capture an audience’s imagination?? For musicians, having a killer live show is essential because it is one of the only opportunities that fans have to see, interact with and get to know you as a person behind the music. So how do you make an audience fall in love with you?"

WARNING: Only Read If The Venue You’re Playing Sells FOOD.

**Guest post written by Nifty of MusicFullTime.com.

 

"Begin by thinking of yourself as more than just a “hired” musician playing for an evening in a nice (or not so nice) restaurant. Viewing this opportunity as a typical “gig” is actually a 9 to 5 mentality that’s fatal to your income potential. The restaurant has hired you, not for the purpose of doing “you” a favor, nope. The restaurant owner is trying to add value to her customers."

Don’t Kill Your Hometown Crowd

**Guest Post by Julian Weisser.

 

"Sure, you could probably play at least one show a week in your hometown, but that’s no good for you because at best you’ll be playing to the same people, and at worst you’ll be playing to no one at all. For the fans it’s just as bad because they’ll hear the same music over and over and it will change from an exciting night that they’ve waited a month for into exactly what they just saw a week ago."

The Rock And Roll Field Guide (A Study In Species)

**Guest Post by Bret Alexander of The Badlees and Saturation Acres.

 

"When navigating the long and winding road to rock and roll success, you will encounter many, varied species. Some friendly, some not...So, in this week’s entry, I decided to write about a few of the most common species I have encountered out there. [Afterall], like bird watching, a lifetime of rocking takes patience and stealth. And the more information you have going in, the more pleasant your journey will be."

5 Rules of the Stage for Live Performance Musicians

**Guest post from Jordan Gaw of Final Drive, a Metal band from St. Louis, MO.

 

As an independent band, we all play countless shows in small venues and DIY spots with local promoters and club owners. Communication, respect and networking are essential for getting the most out of every gig. Gaining new fans, establishing relationships and executing an amazing show, that not only sounds, but runs smoothly, is your mission (should you choose to accept it).