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So you want to gig? Awesome! I think that's fantastic! When we take a step from the "basement" where we sing to ourselves to the stage, it's a fun, exciting and a step of faith to get out there and put it on the line. Here are a few things to consider when you have made the decision to gig.
1. Practice, practice, practice! If you want to get out there and gig, you'll want to make sure you have a semi-polished set at the very least. One of the results of gigging and doing a show well, is you will typically get additional opportunities to play from people who are there to hear you. Or you will be invited back to the venue and that is something that you probably will want for sure!
2. Put together a well thought out set list. See one of my earlier blogs (Paul Hart - Creating a Set List) on putting together a proper set list. Bottom line is, take some time, think through the songs you want to play and make sure they flow and are not confusing to the audience. If you are playing covers, try to put as much of your own personality into them.
3. Promo Pack: This one is a must. You need to have a package that you can give to potential venues whether those are churches if you are a christian band or if you are looking to play clubs or private events. The promotional pack should include a cover letter with your intentions, a main package describing who you are as a band or artist, what kind of music you play (or who you most sound like), your equipment list if you are providing sound, a picture and a short biography. Most often the venue will use your bio and picture in their own promotion of the event. We'll have a blog article in the future on writing a good bio and band/artist desciption.
4. A Recording: Another must. A venue is going to want to hear what you sound like. Make sure to put your best foot forward here. Get a good recording and make sure to include that in your promo pack. Typically you can put two to three songs in the CD. I have had success even with just one song, but wouldn't recommend it for the long run. You can also put together 30 second snippets of covers to wet the tongue. You want to make it enticing that the venue will want to hear more. You can find pretty affordable computer recording packages at http://www.musiciansfriend.com/recording-gear. I use a Tascam portable studio (Link to find used equipment) to track and then dump the individual tracks for mixdown into a computer program called Mixcraft. Check that out here. http://www.acoustica.com/mixcraft/.
5. Make contact with venues. Phone calls, web searches, emails and get your promo pack and recording to them for consideration. Don't get frustrated with rejections or with no call backs. You need to sell yourself and sometimes your sound may just not work with the venue. It may take 50 contacts to get one show. Keep plugging away.
6. Courage: Take a risk and just do it. I promise you will have fun. Get one show, then build on that. Over time through practice and consistent gigs your performance will become even more polished.
Please feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think or what works for you when booking shows.
Have fun! Until next time, happy playing!
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