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What do you do to avoid stage jitters? How do you come up with banter in between your songs? How do you keep your voice or your fingers from giving out halfway through? This forum is for discussions about live performance issues both with yourself, and with other artists that you admire. For instance, has any particular performer inspired you when you watched him or her perform? Have you played a particular venue that hugely impressed you? Are you the owner of a venue that accepts Indie acts? Let's talk about it!
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If you could give just one Tips for live performers

#1 User is offline   NigeQ Icon

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Post icon  Posted 04 November 2003 - 12:41 PM

Hi Everyone

I think it was Laurence Olivier who when asked to give a piece of advice for aspiring actors, he said something along the lines of 'before you go on stage, cough and check your flies are done up!' :D

So, if you could only give one piece of advice to a newly starting out live performer what would it be and why?

Mine would be: -

Tip: Learn your song(s), don't rely on crib/lyric sheets.
Reason: The song needs to come from within if you are to perform it well

Cheers

Nige

PS. Remember one tip only ;)

#2 User is offline   Neal K Icon

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Posted 05 November 2003 - 11:32 AM

Tip: SMILE - look like you're having fun.
Reason: The audience sees you as an entertainer, not a tortured artist

Neal
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#3 User is offline   Neal K Icon

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Posted 06 November 2003 - 10:47 AM

TIP: Play to the audience at hand. Adjust your sets depending upon who is in the crowd. For example, if a bachlorette party of 25 laughing women show up, ease off on the Bob Dylan numbers. Play as much uptemp dance music as you can. Make sure your set list is flexible.
Reason: If those 25 women have a good time, they might come back the next night with spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, whatever.
The forest would be silent if only the best birds sang.

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Post icon  Posted 06 November 2003 - 03:40 PM

Interesting tips you guys <_< So what tip would you give someone who's just stage frantic in front of audience?
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Posted 06 November 2003 - 04:51 PM

tip: make sure you have a handle on all techy stuff - wires, etc., and make sure the sound guy does his/her job. or get someone you trust to do it.

reason: if the sound's crap the show will be crap. no matter how good your stuff is, bad sound will make you sound awful (unsurprisingly). this does nothing for shaky confidence in general.

#6 User is offline   NigeQ Icon

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Posted 06 November 2003 - 05:18 PM

Neal I totally agree with you - if the band don't look like they are enjoying it, you can bet your life the audience isn't! (unless it's Radiohead of course ;) )

Cookiegirl reminded me of another one.

Tip: Always be nice to the sound guy (even if he/she is a jerk and you have to grit your teeth to do it :angry: )
Reason: They can make or break you on the night

Shemuse - do you mean stage fright? If so, see my first tip believe me, that will help give you confidence.

Nige :)

#7 User is offline   David Icon

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 11:11 PM

Tip: Arrange your songs in a way that they tell a story.

Reason: A story engages the listener and keeps their attention, and prevents your concert to look like a self-indulgent jam session. Arranging songs like that also makes it fun for you, and shows the audience you care. Having a little spoken intro every 3 or 4 songs also helps in doing that.

#8 User is offline   Neal K Icon

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Posted 09 November 2003 - 05:06 PM

This is along the lines of David's tip above, and is only for people who perform in bars

Tip: Make sure your sets have a rythmn - three or four fast tunes, then one or two medium or slow tunes. Don't alternate fast and slow. And for gosh's sake, don't talk between every song and do not introduce songs like a Radio announcer.

Reason: People dance and chatter and have more fun when you play fast songs. But they buy more drinks when you play slow ones. A good night at the bar means re-bookings, better pay, and sometimes bonuses.

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#9 User is offline   David Icon

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Post icon  Posted 09 November 2003 - 06:48 PM

Tip: Use humour - be personal

Reason: Musicians and artists don't just have to stand there and sing like robots. People will relate more if a singer is being themselves and saying whatever they feel, even if it's not too eloquent or brilliant.

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Posted 09 November 2003 - 06:56 PM

some good tips above.

I would only add - don't sweat it. Mistakes happen so try and use them to add flavor to a show. :)

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Posted 11 November 2003 - 03:52 PM

It's normal and perfectly natural to be nervous before you hit the stage. That's some serious energy developing. Use it to your advantage - don't be afraid of being afraid.
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Posted 28 November 2003 - 07:45 AM

I don't know how helpful this really is, but wasn't it Roger Daltrey who said
"give me a bum note and passion over the perfect voice anyday".

Alright, I'm paraphrasing, but it was something like that - and considering I'm pretty crap technically, it's a phrase I'm fond of. Just remember, we all hit a bum note sometimes, but its the feeling and passion that lift a gig from average to special.

Oh, God, I'm gonna stop now, before I start calling it my 'art'.

Good luck with the first gig.

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Posted 05 December 2003 - 04:10 PM

Grizwald:
My advice is to go out there and have fun. Think of the audience as your friends. They want you to do well, and have a good time too.

Gavin - I got you beat - It took me 38 years before I played my songs in public! I had terrific stage fright but I thought "If you don't do it now, you never will" and I didn't want that to happen

Tip: Don't mumble your introduction to songs. Keep them brief, and don't rush.

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Posted 23 December 2003 - 07:45 PM

Just think to yourself that YOU are the one with the courage to get up there and sing your songs. Everybody in the audience respects you for that. No audience is as unforgiving as to crucify you for missing a chord or fudging a hammer-on. Nobody expects a perfect song in a coffee house or bar, just a practiced song, and most will laugh with you if you can turn a screwup into a joke. Perfection has it's place in the recording studio :)

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#15 User is offline   endoskeleton Icon

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Posted 23 December 2003 - 07:56 PM

Remember it's not life or death, if things go wrong the audience can't kill you or get you pregnant !!! - enjoy it and play with passion.

Also invest in lots and lots of gaffa tape, nothing worse that going arse over tit in front of an audience.

ENDO
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#16 User is offline   Shemuse Icon

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Post icon  Posted 23 December 2003 - 08:24 PM

"Also invest in lots and lots of gaffa tape, nothing worse that going arse over tit in front of an audience."


endoskeleton, would you please explain this?

:lol: :lol: :lol:

Naw seriously what is gaffa tape?
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#17 User is offline   endoskeleton Icon

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Posted 23 December 2003 - 08:30 PM

Hi Shemuse

Gaffa (Spelling?) tape is the industrial tape you use to stick your monitor cables, power cables to the floor of the stage to stop you tripping up over them.

It also doubles as
- carpet repair tape (again to stop you tripping over)
- clothing repair tape (if you split your leather pants)
- electrical tape (for repairs)
- leg waxing strips :D

Generally one of the most important things you can carry in a kit bag.

ENDO
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#18 User is offline   HoneyBrown Icon

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Posted 23 December 2003 - 11:23 PM

PRACTISE!!!
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Post icon  Posted 29 December 2003 - 07:11 PM

1) One hour before show time take two ibuprofin for that inevitable headache that will come from loud music, cigarette smoke and liquor.

2)Tell the bartender that you want a large weak drink. I usually ask for a pint beer glass with a shot of tequilia, ice and then soda to the top and a big squeeze of lemon. I take this on stage for my voice and my nerves.

Works for me.

Jersey Paul

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Posted 30 December 2003 - 01:50 PM

I'd say just give all you've got. If you're passionate about what you're singing the audience will be drawn in and will forget about any mistakes you might make. Just try to be loose. Also, I've found it's a lot easier to sing when the spotlight's shining really brightly on you and all you can see is black in the audience. Just try to be alive and real as possible and make a connection with the audience. If you mess up, just smile and forget about it. Also, warm up reaaaaaaaaaaaaaally well before you sing..... trust me, you don't want to start getting self-concious if your voice starts to get tired after the first few songs... it can really ruin your concentration while your singing.

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Posted 01 January 2004 - 02:48 PM

thanks for the tips.

yah i remeber once when i was in a high school play my friends were sitting second row and that was about as far back as i could see with the lights on. THat was annoying as hell, b/c they kept catching my eye and i had to stifle laughs throughout the whole shoe (and i was only 12 at the time)
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Posted 28 January 2004 - 02:18 PM

OK, one tip?

BREATHE.

Pouring your heart out on stage is a nerve-racking experience. And the second that one gets nervous, you tend to breathe less, IMO. This is a horrible thing to let happen, especially if you are a singer!

I recommend focusing on your breathing the second that the nerves start to kick in.

Breathe, breathe, breathe!

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Posted 09 February 2004 - 11:53 PM

If you're a guitarist, avoid using brand new strings, unless you've spent several hours playing your guitar. Boy, did I learn that lesson the hard way about 15 years ago. Only my second gig ever, and I decided to put brand new strings on my Les Paul that morning, thinking that I'd stretch them out with a couple of hours of playing to warm up before we went on. Somehow that didn't happen, but I went on anyway. Had to. And God, did I suck. The whole band sucked because my guitar refused to stay in tune. We sounded horrible. Kids, don't try this away from home. :rolleyes:

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Posted 10 February 2004 - 03:17 PM

I have found that the more prepared for a piece I am, the less nervous I am. This pretty much means, the easier the piece, the fewer the nerves. Or the more effort that I put in beforehand reaps more benefits in the end. So make sure you're prepared! Don't expect it to just come together, because it won't.
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Posted 13 February 2004 - 07:11 PM

I get afraid if my monitors don't work and I can't hear myself! I am in the process of trying to get over that!

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Posted 15 February 2004 - 09:34 PM

IntrepidSoul, on Feb 14 2004, 12:11 AM, said:

I get afraid if my monitors don't work and I can't hear myself! I am in the process of trying to get over that!

If your monitors don't work and you can't hear yourself you need a better monitor set-up. It's not something you should have to "get over", it's a key factor in performance!!

#27 User is offline   Simple Simon Icon

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Posted 15 February 2004 - 09:39 PM

If you screw up slightly in a song, DON'T show it! Carry on as if nothing had happened - mostly the audience won't even notice if you don't show it.

If you screw up BADLY in a song (or someone else in the band does), make light of it. DON'T scowl or screw up your face. Grin at the audience and make some silly or funny so they laugh WITH you - and then just carry on having, and giving, a good time.

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Posted 18 February 2004 - 05:39 PM

Quote

It's not something you should have to "get over", it's a key factor in performance!!


Ahhh...but if only I had money to get those nice pieces of equipment to make our life easier... Brian and I talk about what we would like to get...Eventually!

This list is growing! We have added some good equipment to our set up...But there are times when I realize just how primitive we still are! Not complaining though! Having a blast!

Quote

If you screw up BADLY in a song (or someone else in the band does), make light of it. DON'T scowl or screw up your face. Grin at the audience and make some silly or funny so they laugh WITH you - and then just carry on having, and giving, a good time.


I'll try and remember that! Not that this happens mind you!!

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Posted 18 February 2004 - 06:40 PM

IntrepidSoul, on Feb 18 2004, 10:39 PM, said:

Ahhh...but if only I had money to get those nice pieces of equipment to make our life easier... Brian and I talk about what we would like to get...Eventually!

Sometimes you can improve things, monitor-wise, without extra gear. Just experiment with speaker placement, try using side-fills instead of floor wedges, move a little further away from the drummer and guitar amps ;)

To me good monitoring is almost more important than the front-of-house sound because it can have such a huge impact on performance.

Good luck with it anyway :)

Simon

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Posted 23 February 2004 - 10:44 PM

Take...your....time....

When it's your turn on the stage, it's your turn so don't let anyone rush you or make you feel like you have to hurry. Take the time to adjust the mic, adjust your guitar, settle yourself, whatever it takes to get yourself comfortable. Look up, look out, let your eyes adjust to the lights, deep breath, smile pretty and begin. You do that because you want to hit that first chord, that first note with confidence. Confidence sounds good, looks good and feels good.
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Posted 26 February 2004 - 04:20 PM

Neal K, on Nov 6 2003, 10:47 AM, said:

Reason: If those 25 women have a good time, they might come back the next night with spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, whatever.

hmmm ... that sounds like bad reasoning to me ... my version:

Reason: one of those 25 women may think you're pretty great and end up dating you! :P hahaha


my biggest tip: RELAX ... have fun ... i'm one of the most shy people you could meet, but when i get up on stage behind a guitar (solo act), NOTHING can hurt me ... someone heckles? heckle right back! have fun with the audience and keep them involved ...

*shys away* i'm one of those people that someone mentioned that relies on lyrics ... i'm AWFUL at memorizing my own stuff! i don't sing directly from the sheets (think of it more as extemporaneous than scripted, but still) ... any tips on memorizing lyrics???

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Posted 26 February 2004 - 04:30 PM

Duncanjp, on Feb 9 2004, 11:53 PM, said:

If you're a guitarist, avoid using brand new strings, unless you've spent several hours playing your guitar.

very good advice! i've found that stretching the guitar strings (i mean literally grabbing a hold of them and pulling) helps quite a bit, but NOTHING helps like putting them on a few days early (AND practicing during the days b/n puttin them on and playing, of course) ...

note: be careful when stretching strings this way on an electric if you use lightweight strings ... i've broken MANY high E's by pulling a little too hard ... i play mostly acoustic with .12's-.13's, so that helps prevent the painful cuts from breaking guitar strings this way! :P

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Posted 27 February 2004 - 05:10 AM

glandix, on Feb 26 2004, 09:20 PM, said:

any tips on memorizing lyrics???

Practice, practice, practice... and if you STILL forget (as we all do)... IMPROVISE!!! ;)

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Posted 27 February 2004 - 05:19 AM

Quote

any tips on memorizing lyrics???


I have the same trouble, but only with my own stuff. I find that if I hear a song played 2 or 3 times (radio / cd) I can usually get 90% lyrically right.

So my tip would be record your stuff onto CD (even really rough versions) and listen to it whenever you have the chance. Also put away you lyric sheet whilst practising, you will be relying on them even if you think your not, you will be surprised how much you remember when they are not there.

ENDO
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Posted 27 February 2004 - 09:32 AM

Simple Simon: that's just the thing ... i do! lately i've been having a gig almost every weekend, and picking around @ home when i'm not at a gig ... some of these songs i've been playing for years! :S

endoskeleton: yeah, that's my problem ... i can sing along to nearly any song on the radio, but singing my own is a whole diff ballgame ... i'm working on recording more of mine (i already have one DIY album recorded), but the problems i run into then are: 1.) i feel like a dork listening to my own cd and 2.) i still struggle with the lyrics :(

ironic thing is: i can tell you every IP address of every server at work, i can tell you 1,000's of commands to type to do various things in linux, i can even remember where about 90% of the functions are and what they do in a project i'm developing for work that is nearing 16,000 lines of code, but i can't remember lyrics to save my life! :(

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Posted 29 February 2004 - 06:07 AM

glandix, on Feb 27 2004, 02:32 PM, said:

Simple Simon: that's just the thing ... i do! lately i've been having a gig almost every weekend, and picking around @ home when i'm not at a gig ... some of these songs i've been playing for years! :S

So what is that telling you?

#37 User is offline   NigeQ Icon

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Posted 29 February 2004 - 12:01 PM

glandix, on Feb 26 2004, 09:20 PM, said:

any tips on memorizing lyrics???

My tip is to sing through the lyrics, when you are in the car, shower or anywhere? You will soon come to a line you are not sure about. When you get a moment check the lyric sheet, then try and work through them again from the beginning (without looking). Also when you are rehearsing put the lyric sheet out of sight. You will soon find out which lines are giving you trouble and because it?s a rehearsal, no big deal.

In the past, to my own amazement I have learnt some very wordy songs but what shouldn?t come a surprise is that most songs usually do have some kind of logical sequence. Knowing that helps the memory. Where I have come unstuck sometimes is when I have improvised and then lost my thread!! ? Now that can be embarrassing! :P

Cheers

Nige :)

#38 User is offline   MysteryMike Icon

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Posted 08 March 2004 - 05:56 PM

Maybe that's my problem, I keep writing the lyrics in illogical sequence.... Live and learn...

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#39 User is offline   glandix Icon

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Posted 08 March 2004 - 06:16 PM

Simple Simon, on Feb 29 2004, 06:07 AM, said:

So what is that telling you?

that i suck at memorization of non-technical things? :S

#40 User is offline   HoneyBrown Icon

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Posted 17 April 2004 - 03:51 AM

Take a photo of what you wore at the gig. You may not noticed that you wore the exact same outift at the venue the last time you played there, but fans WILL notice.
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#41 User is offline   Grizwald Icon

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Posted 17 April 2004 - 07:59 AM

And even if you screw up with the lyrics, just continue on and make it up. I've been to "proffesional" concerts where they screw up. And if you screw up, make a joke about it. The same "proffesional" goes "Damn, I guess since I messed (well he used a different word :P ) that up, I'll have to do another song.

Or once he totally bombed the solo, and he was like "Well, Lets try that again" and he went back and re did the solo.

So don't freak out. The "proffesionals" do it o.
"i speak without reservation from what i know and who i am. i do so with the understanding that all people should have the right to offer their voice to the chorus whether the result is harmony or dissonance, the worldsong is a colorless dirge without the differences that distinguish us, and it is that difference which should be celebrated not condemned. should any part of my music offend you, please do not close your ears to it. just take what you can use and go on."
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#42 User is offline   Simple Simon Icon

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Posted 18 April 2004 - 06:18 AM

HoneyBrown, on Apr 17 2004, 08:51 AM, said:

Take a photo of what you wore at the gig. You may not noticed that you wore the exact same outift at the venue the last time you played there, but fans WILL notice.

Ohh Honey.. only a female fan would EVER notice something like THAT!!!! LOL

#43 User is offline   Grizwald Icon

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Posted 18 April 2004 - 07:10 AM

Quote

Take a photo of what you wore at the gig. You may not noticed that you wore the exact same outift at the venue the last time you played there, but fans WILL notice.


the only problem is i wear the same 7 or 8 shirts over and over again.

Button down collared shirt and khaki pants every day. Usually i will wear that to bed as well. So if i wore the same outfit, it would be b/c thats the only shirt iwear.

now, a tip

If screwing up improvise. I was playing around once with a bunch of friends and i was like damn. And they were like what? I went "I messed up" and they were like, hmmm i didnt notice. IT sounded pretty.
"i speak without reservation from what i know and who i am. i do so with the understanding that all people should have the right to offer their voice to the chorus whether the result is harmony or dissonance, the worldsong is a colorless dirge without the differences that distinguish us, and it is that difference which should be celebrated not condemned. should any part of my music offend you, please do not close your ears to it. just take what you can use and go on."
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#44 User is offline   Leo17 Icon

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Posted 19 April 2004 - 09:39 PM

tip: try to eat only raw organic foods (like apples and veggies) but ABSOLUTELY NO COOKED/GREASY FOODS the day of a performance.

reason: the foods will cause mucus in your throat making it hard to reach certain notes (whether they're high or low) and also makes your voice crack sometimes.
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Posted 11 May 2004 - 03:54 AM

Smile and really mean it.

#46 User is offline   Widetrack Icon

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Posted 30 May 2004 - 03:58 AM

TIP #1: Keep dead air time in between songs to a minimum.

TIP #2: Be honest in your choice of expressing yourself (rather than trying to be something you're not, just because it's the status quo) and find venues that cater to what you're setting out to do, rather than trying to fit in with venues that don't gell with what you're about.

TIP#3: If your conviction is solid, screw what other people say. The truth is either that they just don't get it or that they don't have a taste for it. Neither has anything to do with what you're setting out to do. You'll find your audience if you have conviction about what you're doing.

TIP#4: ALWAYS STRIVE TO BE AS GOOD AS YOU THINK YOU NEED TO BE TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT WHAT YOU'RE DOING. There will always (in your mind and in the minds of others) be better musicians, songwriters, performers, etc., but there
is only one You. You are unique and have a special niche somewhere. Only you
can determine where that is. Mentors and role models are fine, but it ultimately comes down to you having conviction in what you're setting out to do. That conviction will translate to passion, and that passion will translate to being good at what your particular thing is. No matter how good an artist is, there are many who dislike their work. This is irrelevant. What is relevant is the people you connect with, but even more so, the goals you set for yourself. You are your own best and worst critic and the one you ultimately have to please. If you like it, then the most
important goal has been accomplished. It is only at this point that you can turn that energy outward and focus on bringing what you KNOW is good to those who will also get into it.

This stuff should be common sense to people, but sadly, that is often not the case. People who do music are often in need of reassurance, etc. But the downside of that is that if the reassurance is solicited from someone who doesn't FULLY understand that person's intentions, tastes, etc., then so-called "constructive criticism" can often be the death knell to their musical dreams. The secret, I believe, is to be informed about what's going on in the world of music and then doing your own thing and finding the right place for it to fourish. Screw what everybody else is doing. Being obsessed with fitting in is what's made popular music so homogenized and predictable. Break the chain! Be one who says, "So what if so-and-so does it that way; I do it THIS way, and I like my way better! Money and popularity don't mean something is artistically superior! That's B.S.! What matters is integrity and originality!".

This is how the greats approach it.
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#47 User is offline   fuzzy_peachkin Icon

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Posted 10 June 2004 - 03:35 PM

A couple people said they had stage fright... In HS I used to deal with it bytaking off my glasses so I couldn't see clearly. It's easier singing to a big blob than a bunch of people. It's good to be near-sighted sometimes!
Seriously, though, the best way to get over your fright is to perform every single opportunity you can.
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#48 User is offline   dougmaverick Icon

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Posted 10 June 2004 - 03:51 PM

My tip :
Never forget that bloody guitar tuner ! :lol:
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#49 User is offline   Ditty Icon

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 05:38 AM

Tip: Tune BEFORE you get on stage.

Why: The Audience hates the 'ancient chinese song, Tu-Ning'. It just makes you look like an ass.


Tip: Invite your friends to see you perform.

Why: B/c they've prolly heard your play before and you will have some support going into and out of the performance.


Tip: When you practice, try to practice in public. If you live in an apartment, practice on your porch/balconey. Neighborhood, on the front porch.

Why: People will hear you playing, and come outside to watch/listen. It gets you used to playing in front of people you don't know.


Tip: Gauge the crowd. If there are young kids, do not play that one song that EVERYONE has about how you hate your ex-girlfriend.

Why: B/c no one wants there kids hearing all the colorful names you call her behind her back. If Kids are present, I like to stick to the love songs, and ones that are FUN to play.

Remember..."If your not having FUN, your doing something wrong!" -Me

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Posted 22 June 2004 - 09:48 AM

Dont worry yourself or care at all about the size of the crowd or who's in the crowd. play the songs as you know them and want them to be played, be One with your band, play off each others engery. You will perform great that way. You cant go adapting to who is in the crowd, and definitely cant let a small crowd dampen your spirit. Play as if it meant everything each time.

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