Performance Advice #05 – Get More Gigs

Musician Support

Not getting as many gigs as you'd like? Follow these guidelines to become a more accomplished performer...

Right, here goes...

If you've been booked to play a gig for Need Music then you'll be expected to perform songs in a live environment. But, there's more to it than that!

Why have you been booked? It’s not just to show everyone how good you are at playing guitar, piano, singing, etc (although of course that helps.)

The venue is paying you to entertain their customers. So, whilst making a setlist and performing those songs on the night is important, you need to interact with the crowd to make it a great experience for everyone. Crowd interaction and participation (where appropriate) is absolutely paramount.
How do you interact with the crowd? It’s not easy and it isn't something that comes easily, and it will take time and practice to get it right. The very first thing you can do it introduce yourself on the microphone at the start of the night. This is imperative, and could hinder your chances of being booked again if you don’t do it. Say who you are and why you’re there. 9 times out of 10 the people in the pub aren’t there to see you personally, unless you’re that famous in which case, well done good on you.
So you need to introduce yourself at the start and say something like “I’m here to sing some songs for you. It’s really great to be here”. Then you’re going to introduce your songs. For example, “This next song is by Paolo Nutini”. For extra cool points you can then add things like “I saw him live last year and he is a big inspiration to what I do” - If he is of course, don't lie!
Also remember, you need to speak nice and clearly on the mic. The mic level is generally set to your loud singing voice, so when you talk you need to speak up. Even if you feel like no-one is listening you still MUST DO THIS. And repeat yourself if you think it’s necessary. You should also mention your name throughout the set for new people who have come into the venue, and so the listeners can remember you when they get home and want to hear your music online.
By chatting confidently on the mic you will come across as an accomplished performer with a professional approach - the contestants on The X Factor don’t just sing their song and disappear - they have to chat afterwards and answer a few simple questions - it’s all part of the show.
Remember, the more talking you do the less time you will be performing, so it may save you from having to perform another song. Saying that, don’t tell them your life story - the music is the main part of the show!
Last point. If you can’t think of things to say on the mic, go and check out Dave Red or Stephen Mordue at their next gigs. They have mastered this part of the performance very well.  You’ll certainly learn a thing or two!