Friday, June 27, 2014

So You're Playing Songwriter's Open Mic:

So you're playing songwriter's open mic:
  1. WHO ARE YOU? Always tell us your name. No, just because you have recorded two songs locally, we may not know who you are. Tell us your name at the beginning and end of your set.
  2. Tune up BEFORE you get on stage. Really.
  3. Bring your own stuff. We all forget things but best to check your gear before you leave the house. Picks, capo, spare strings, oxycontin, these are things one shouldn't have to borrow. (we all have to do it but try not to).
  4. If you wrote the song yesterday, it's ok to bring the lyrics. Really it is. We all make mistakes. If you blow it and have to start over, smile and do that. Long apologies aren't necessary. Audiences understand.
  5. Warm up at home. Loosens up the muscles and settles the nerves. DO NOT warm up while others are performing and don't play along from the audience.
  6. If there are many performers and each get three songs before the next act, DO ONLY THREE SONGs and skip the long personal introductions to them. You are chewing up other performer's time and THEY KNOW IT. Amy Kurland, who created The Bluebird, would explain the rules for the Bluebird audition thus: "Tell us your name. Tell us the name of the song. Play until I say stop." If you violated any of these rules, you failed the audition. It is a business where following instructions is very important because time is money and she was the gatekeeper. No matter how well you played, sang or how good your song was, if you violated any of the rules you didn't pass. You could come back but...
  7. New strings pre-stretched if possible. OTW, old strings pre-stretched. (IOW, see rule 2.)
  8. Play Sober. Drunk or stoned, it shows. We've all done it.... badly. And COFFEE IS A DRUG. If you are not first, watch out for over caffeinating. Combined with adrenalin, it will make you shake, Water is better. Then when done, have at.
  9. Everyone has a CD or iTunes site. That's cool. You can say that. Sell it later.
  10. Do you have a business card? If you don't that once in a lifetime chance may just pass you by. No one remembers names and phone numbers scribbled on napkins tend to disappear.
It is a privilege to be in front of an audience; not an entitlement. Be the best you can be everytime even if the only person listening is also sweeping the floor. Good luck and enjoy it.

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