So now we’ve laid the groundwork for your first solo gig.
Unlike other musicians, you know why and how to create a business plan for your act, what you intend to make your main focus, you’ve rehearsed the act and have even penciled a date into your calendar for that first show.
There is still much work to be done, so let’s detail exactly what’s left before the gig.
If you haven’t already gone to the venue to watch someone else do what you plan to do, make a point of doing so within the next 10 days.
Don’t put it off- this is important and you should make note of where to load in your gear, dressing room location, where you can wait with said gear until it’s time to set up, how long your setup time is, how close is the nearest A/C outlet, etc.
Remember Murphy’s Law-”If anything can possibly go wrong, it will.”
This is life in general and is particularly apropos for musicians.
If it’s a coffeehouse setup with multiple performers, shared PA, etc., ask about using your own mic, amp, etc., if you so desire.
Be considerate and time your performance before hand. Find out how much time you are alloted and don’t go over that time!
It’s always best to leave audiences and venues wanting more, not less of you. It reminds me of the old country song- “How Can I Miss You When You Won’t Go Away?”
It’s a good time to review clothing choices now.
Many musicians wear the same thing “to the gig” as they do “playing the show.”
That’s a bad idea, in my opinion.
Here in Texas, it’s hot much of the year and sweating during load in is a fact of life. Wearing the same clothes to set up and then perform for money is a poor way to make a good first impression.
One lesson I learned early in my musical career is to get a decent hanging garment bag to carry your stage clothes in.
I got mine at Office Max for around $30 several years ago and it works great. Many bags have outside compartments for shoes and such which helps keep your stage clothing separated from the dirty soles of your shoes. The shoe compartments in my bag are just big enough to allow me to carry my cowboy boots inside for western attired gigs.
Even if your outfit onstage is jeans and a nicer shirt, carry them separately and change clothes just before your performance.
This shows audiences and clients that you take what you do seriously…and it’s likely you will never make any decent money as a solo performer until you do so.
I was amused to discover a musician was kicked out of a prominent English band years ago because he paid more attention to his clothing that he did his musicianship. Whether true or false, it’s vital to pay attention to your presentation and that includes clothing choices. I’ll talk more about clothing for solo performers in an upcoming blog.
If you are on Facebook or other social media, you may consider promoting that first gig. If you feel confident and feel ready to go, create the event on your page and invite your family and friends.
If you may want to make this a regular performance venue, this can create leverage for you right out of the gate.
If you have any qualms about it, keep that first date quiet, except for a few close family members or friends. There will be plenty of time to create social media pages and push your live performances as you start gigging more in the future.
Finally, get someone to agree to either watch or preferably, to videotape your first performance.
This is common practice in many sales jobs and in other types of work. Brian Tracy, the success coach says that for rapid improvement in any task, ask yourself two questions following the performance:
What did I do right?
What could I do differently?
By going into that first show…knowing there will be mistakes but also knowing that there will be successes, too…you can face that first show with confidence.
Get excited and keep preparing for that first gig! We’ll talk about it next month. Until then stay focused and keep looking at your goals!
– Riley Wilson