How to get gigs

Best practice when playing gigs


Playing live music for the first time is a life-changing experience. Even if you feel comfortable on stage, getting your gigs to run smoothly is no easy feat. Here are some top tips to help you ensure the success of your show:

  • Make sure you practice - rehearse playing your songs in different environments and scenarios, eg walking around, in the dark, with people talking, etc. Playing in the comfort of your studio and playing live are completely different experiences.

  • Record your rehearsals - focus on visual impact as well as audio consistency. Get feedback from friends and family before performing in front of an audience.

  • Develop great stage presence - remember that people come to hear and see your gig, so make sure that your performance is visually striking and memorable.

  • Write a set list - don't try to wing it. Decide what songs you are playing and the order in which you will play them. This should help you get your set as tight as possible.

  • Don't be late - allow plenty of time to load in and set up soundcheck. Lack of preparation ahead of the show can adversely affect your set.

  • Sort out the logistics - being on time will help you sort out the performance logistics, such as the sound. Work with the sound engineers to check amplifiers, tune your instruments, test the sound mix, etc. This will helpfully prevent possible issues during the performance.

  • Open with a song that makes an impact - it will help you capture the audience attention. Remember that you can keep fans engaged before, during and after the show through smart social media messaging.

  • Look at your audience during the show - it will make them feel part of the act, which can shape their positive view of your performance.

  • Control your stage fright - have fun on stage and don't let performance anxiety affect your show.

  • Plan contingencies - things can always go wrong. Think about what you can do if problems come up on stage, eg an instrument breaks down or there's a problem with the sound.

  • Pack up quickly - unless you're the headline act, the next band may be waiting eagerly to get on stage. Follow any pre-determined set lengths. If you're expected to play for a certain amount of time, don't play less or more than requested. This will help ensure that the event runs as smoothly as possible.

Finally, for a live show to work, team effort is essential. Treat everyone at the venue with respect, be professional and make a good impression. Each gig can lead to another, so don't make poor behaviour cost you opportunities in the future.