I always forget to breath when I first start a gig. I have so many things to think about. I know that breathing should come naturally but for me it isn’t so simple. Obviously I breath enough to stay alive – but when you are singing you need to control your breathing and I forget. So, my first few songs are rushed and I struggle to get my words out. It’s just one more thing to think about, though you would think that breathing should be high on my list of things to remember.
Introducing my first song is often rushed too. Sometimes I’m half way through a song introduction when I realise that I should have shut up ages ago and I am had started rambling.
There are a lot of things I need to remember.
- Remember to thank the Sound Engineer
- Remember to thank the Stewards/ folk festival/folk club organisers
- Remember the persons name who booked me
- Remember my words (I never do)
- Remember to get paid after the gig (I forgot once)
- Remember to tell the audience that I have CD’s for sale
- Remember to get people to join my mailing list
- Remember light and shade when singing and playing
- Remember to entertain – not just sing songs
- Remember to breath – it’s an ongoing process, not just at the start of the gig!
- Remember to say “Thank You” and acknowledge applause
- Remember to check my tunings
- Remember to check my instrument is working before playing when you use a P.A.
- Remember to take the right equipment to the gig (I forgot my guitar once)
- Remember to take everything home after the gig
- Remember to adhere to Health and Safety policy of the room. Tape leads down etc
- Remember to be enthusiastic!
- Remember to take a guitar lead to the gig even if a PA is being supplied.
- Remember audiences don’t have to watch me – they could be doing something more interesting.
- Remember less is more
- Remember – check my strings. How often should I change my strings? Every month? Every year? Obviously it depends on how often I gig.
- Remember ti have spare strings, and a battery, and a capo.
- Remember to be ready! If I am following another artist – assume they will finish earlier than expected. (I has happen and I wasn’t)
- Remember to charge Ipad.
- Remember to introduce myself! When I go on stage – say thank you to whoever has introduced you and remind your audience my name. After I have finished playing tell them my name again.
- Remember to talk to the audience. Talk to the audience before I start playing, talk between songs and speak clearly. Don’t just get up and play. Establish a rapport with those paying good money to see me.
- Remember to make eye contact – if possible with each and every member of the audience. Look at someone, make eye contact, then move on to someone else. Keep doing this throughout my set. If there is lighting and I can’t see the audience pretend!
- Remember to smile.
Remember NOT to….
- Cough in the Sound Engineers microphone, blow into the Sound Engineers microphone, sneeze in the Sound Engineers microphone, don’t turn my back on an audience, don’t swear on stage (unless I’m in a punk band have Tourettes syndrome), don’t let my ego rule, don’t overrun my allocated time, don’t wear dark glasses on stage unless I have a black eye or playing in a Blues band, don’t alienate or ridicule a member of the audience no matter the circumstances, don’t smell on stage (lights are hot and makes me sweaty), don’t make a face if I make a mistake. Don’t apologise if I go wrong. Move on and forget about it – the audience will forgive you and forget – unless you make a fuss and then they will remember.
- Don’t worry about being a little nervous – it means I care.
There will be other things….. but I have forgotten them.
For someone with a poor memory this is a lot!