So- you’ve started working on your solo act presentation.

 

You’ve seen a few solo acts, preferably live, but watching YouTube or other video shows works, too.

 

You’ve recorded a few things and the sound is good.

 

It’s now time to set some musical goals.  Goals are a topic that scares many performers. It need not be that way.

 

Simply put, a goal is merely a dream with a deadline.

 

Let’s say you want to debut your act at a coffeehouse open mic night. Write a date in the future, say a month or so from now, and circle it on your calendar.

 

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Let’s take the date Nov. 1, 2013 for example.  That happens to be a Friday night, so you may have to adjust back or forth a few days to fit in at your local coffeehouse/open mic opening.

 

Once you’ve decided on the date, call or drop by the venue and explain what you’d like to do. Find out when you are able to sign up, what equipment you need to provide, admission fees for your friends and guests, etc.

 

I don’t know all the questions you might want to ask, so if you feel comfortable doing so, talk with some of the performers who have played this venue before. Ask questions of them so you have an idea what to expect.

 

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Once you’ve done all this, make a list of 5-15 tasks you will need to accomplish between now and Nov. 1.

 

Get into the habit of thinking on paper, or perhaps on your computer, electronic device or your phone. 

 

Excellent time management skills can and should be learned, especially for potential solo artists. Your cell phone may have a Task List or Daily Calendar feature you can use to then insert these tasks into your days between now and Nov. 1.

 

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I can promise if you try to merely wing it, you will regret not planning sufficiently before the first show.

 

Start with the first task and then cross it off your list when completed. Continue doing so until all the necessary steps between now and showtime are completed. One reason this is so important is that once you are finally onstage, you must relax and concentrate on the actual performance.

 

One important aspect of performing solo is the mental part of things.

 

We could devote an entire column on this subject, but I will provide a few tips you can implement now.

 

The most important thing a potential solo performer has to develop is an iron-clad belief in himself/herself.

 

There are many excellent books, tapes, CD’s and the like to help you under the title of Self Development. Brian Tracy, Earl Nightingale and Zig Ziglar are just three of dozens of authors who have taught this type of material for decades.

 

A wonderful place to begin is the Dale Carnegie classic, “How To Win Friends And Influence People.”

 

I suggest every entertainer own and read this book regularly.  The material is priceless and will help anyone, regardless of their background, live a more successful and productive life.

 

You may be able to locate programs like “The Psychology of Achievement”, “Lead The Field” or “Unlimited Power” on cassette tape at a used bookstore. The format matters little – the message to believe in yourself and your dreams is priceless!

 

My mentor and teacher, Les Wise, suggested I listen to some tapes by hypnotist Barry Konikov towards the end of my year at GIT. These made an almost immediate impact and I was able to develop the internal strength and belief in myself to allow me to succeed in the music business.  While Mr. Konikov is deceased, you can probably still find his material online.

 

There are probably other tapes or CD programs that are also excellent. Their message is simple: believe in yourself and you can enjoy success, too.

 

I recommend this self development process begin at least 30 days before your first public performance. This will become evident once you’ve done that all important first solo show. We’ll fine tune the tasks list next time. Practice daily, exercise regularly and believe in your talents and gifts.

 

– Riley Wilson