Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12
Results 26 to 47 of 47

Thread: 1st Time Playing for an Audience - Advice?

  1. #26
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    0.8 mpc from NGC224, upstairs
    Posts
    9,884

    Default Re: 1st Time Playing for an Audience - Advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    "Don't Panic"
    My bad - how could I forget that! (picture me slapping both foreheads with two hands and one knee with the third)
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

  2. #27
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,946

    Default Re: 1st Time Playing for an Audience - Advice?

    Make a thorough checklist of everything you need for the gig and put that stuff together well ahead of time. Check it twice. Find out how to get to the venue and what the load in/parking logistics are well in advance. Try to get to the venue early so you're not rushed and can start to feel comfortable in the room. Eat a light meal before the gig. Don't drink coffee. Make sure you have water onstage and use the restroom before you go on. As you practice your parts for the gig, imagine yourself onstage and the audience really enjoying your performance. Have a large set list you can see easily from the stage with any notes (keys of songs, etc) that you need to know.
    Steve

  3. #28
    man about town Markus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Madison, Wisconsin
    Posts
    1,944
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: 1st Time Playing for an Audience - Advice?

    Everyone is paying a whole lot less attention to exactly what you and your part of the music is doing than you are. They hear the whole, and unless you throw that off you're good.

    Unless you're playing lead, if you're having issues play quieter and/or aim away from the microphone a little. Your bandmates might be aware you're struggling, but if the mic doesn't pick it up or the audience doesn't hear it - it never happened.

    IMO, better the audience to say `I couldn't really hear the mandolin that verse' than `that guy kept hitting the wrong chords and his timing was terrible'. You can't just stop playing and stand there slack-jawed ... but if you play the wrong notes quietly, all the audience hears is the folks playing the correct ones loudly you can cover for the seconds it takes to get back on track.

    That is the one good thing about gigs - while practice might aim for perfection, playing music is about making the music come alive not hitting every note. If the audience is listening, happy and enjoying themselves, it doesn't need to be the best version you've ever played.

    Try for the best ever, but realize it's what you do as a group [not as individual] that makes your performance good - a poor personal performance is fine as long as you played well with the group and the sum total was good. If you're not playing synched with the group, it doesn't matter how great your individual performance was.
    Collings MT2
    Breedlove OF
    Ellie eMando
    Schmergl Devastator

  4. #29
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    180

    Default Re: 1st Time Playing for an Audience - Advice?

    these 2 things are just facts...
    - you don't have to be perfect to be good. You might be pretty good, and you might be very good. You won't be perfect but you WILL be GOOD.

    - live music is NEVER PERFECT. Even studio music is never perfect. Be comfortable that you're giving your listeners a good run-thru of the music you enjoy playing. It's just your gift to them. It doesn't come with any claims beyond that.

    Relax, think, enjoy, share...
    1976 Ibanez 511
    Weber Bighorn 2-pointer, and Sweet Pea traveller
    1960's Kay tenor banjo restrung to Irish tenor
    Trinity College octave
    ... and trombones, but that's different

  5. #30
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    23,180
    Blog Entries
    52

    Default Re: 1st Time Playing for an Audience - Advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by Laird View Post
    Oh, wait. You wanted good advice? Okay, ignore everything I've just told you, and you should be fine.

    I splorted my coffee on that.
    Indulge responsibly!

    The entire staff
    funny....

  6. #31
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    23,180
    Blog Entries
    52

    Default Re: 1st Time Playing for an Audience - Advice?

    Here is the fraud that is essential, and central, to any performance. The general public still doesn't know this:

    Musicians only play the music they know. Nobody but the performer knows how much the performer can't play.

    Say I have eight tunes down cold and can play them on stage. So I play five and keep three in my pocket, for encores or mixups. The audience thinks I know every tune there is and picked these particular tunes for this particular performance. They don't realize its all I can do.

    And I do nothing, NOTHING, to disabuse them of that notion. I walk off the stage, having perpetrated a great fraud, and needing a bourbon and soda.
    Indulge responsibly!

    The entire staff
    funny....

  7. #32
    Still Picking and Sawing Jack Roberts's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    sigmaX>=hbar/2sigmaP
    Posts
    1,671

    Default Re: 1st Time Playing for an Audience - Advice?

    ....I walk off the stage, having perpetrated a great fraud....

    You know, Jeff, I feel that way every time I play in front of people (as late as Saturday night.) They come up afterwards and tell me how good we were and want to know all about that little instrument I was playing. One guy asked if I knew a Woody Guthrie song once, and I said "Sure, but how about this..." and played Jack Guthrie's "Oklahoma Hills". Another fraud, as I don't the words "Tom Joad".

    Once I got my comeuppance. My fiddle teacher asked me to play in his student recital. I picked a tune I knew really well, Calgary Polka, but he decided to accompany me on guitar, and that tune's accompaniment starts in a minor key, which I wasn't expecting, so I completely messed up my performance. It was embarrassing to screw up so badly in front of all the 7 to 10 year old violin prodigies...

    So my advice would be, since you are playing with a group, rehearse for a few hours to get used to what it is like to play with other instruments.

    Other than that, it is amazing the people want to hear me play, when all I can do is noodle a couple of tunes and chop chords along with the real performers I am backing up.
    Ha, ha! keep time: how sour sweet music is,
    When time is broke and no proportion kept!
    --William Shakespeare

  8. #33
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    23,180
    Blog Entries
    52

    Default Re: 1st Time Playing for an Audience - Advice?

    For years I felt like a liar just saying I play the mandolin. I felt like I should say, I play a few tunes on the mandolin.

    Things have changed lo these many years of practice and playing. I lie with total impunity now.
    Indulge responsibly!

    The entire staff
    funny....

  9. #34
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    0.8 mpc from NGC224, upstairs
    Posts
    9,884

    Default Re: 1st Time Playing for an Audience - Advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    Musicians only play the music they know. Nobody but the performer knows how much the performer can't play.
    A long time ago, on a warm summer's evening, I sat outside and played a tune set on the banjo. An esoteric-looking lady (think: Woodstock) walked by, stopped, listened and asked "do you really play all that directly from intuition?".
    I have always been incurably honest, so I told her about the O'Neill's Collection, the Roche Collection etc.
    I didn't shatter the impression I could play all of those 3000+ tunes, though.
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

  10. #35
    Registered User Ark Isle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: 1st Time Playing for an Audience - Advice?

    A lot of great advice here, so I'll reiterate what some have said and only add a few pieces.

    1. Most people won't notice if you hit the wrong notes here or there. Don't let an insignificant detail snowball into a wrecked song. I went to see Chris Thile in Durham recently, and after the applause for a song died down he sheepishly admitted "...But I didn't even play any of the right notes!" Had Thile not said something to the audience, I would have never known he had made a mistake. I played bass guitar in a high school band, I just powered through any mistakes* I made and noone was the wiser.

    2. Folks are there to have a good time. They want to enjoy themselves, and they can't do that if you're not enjoying yourself. When I perform, I try to break the ice with a quick joke to get (almost) everyone laughing and set the mood for the entire show. It's a great way to release pre-show jitters and start off on the right foot. I've borrowed and modified Steve Martin's opening line, and usually start off shows by saying "Hello everyone! I'm Kyle Evans, and I'll be out in just a moment. In the meantime, here's a song..."

    Just relax and have a good time. Worst case scenario: You're still alive to play again tomorrow.

    *Mistakes were, I can assure you, few and far between.

  11. #36
    Registered User abuteague's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Western Mass
    Posts
    316

    Default Re: 1st Time Playing for an Audience - Advice?

    I'm in the over prepare camp.

    To prepare for my first outings, I would memorize the piece. I first would record myself playing it with notation in front of me. Then I would listen to it 20 times. Next, learn to play it along with the recording I had made and no sheet music. After that, I would play it with no help again and again, sitting, standing, walking around the house, staring at bright lights...

    After all that, I would show up with a stand to have the sheet music right in front of me and play.

    Repeat.

  12. #37
    Carpe Mandolinium
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Hyde Park, Illinois
    Posts
    514

    Smile Re: 1st Time Playing for an Audience - Advice?

    Lee,

    Lots and lots of good advice here. But, to return to the original issue:

    Quote Originally Posted by Steelee View Post
    Have been invited to pick a couple of tunes with a local BG band on tuesday. Usual Community Center crowd is about 200 people. I have never played in front of people before - fear factor for sure.

    Any advice to lose that fear, and maybe have some fun?

    Regards, Lee,
    THEY invited YOU. They wouldn't do that because they think you'll "probably do a pretty good job." They're certain that you will acquit yourself--and the band--very nicely.

    So, the performing musicians in the room have already realized that you're up to the task; and they won't ask or expect you to do anything that's beyond your abilities. To do so would be to ask you to make them look bad.

    OK, maybe there will be a few current or former performing musicians in the audience. Musicians with any amount of experience at all tend to be astonishingly forgiving of performance flubs, even big ones. (Non-musicians generally don't even hear the flub.) Think about this yourself--when you've seen/heard something severely blown on stage or screen, you don't condemn the performer, do you? You recognize that it's part of the process.

    And maybe you can take some perspective from some different perspectives (I don't know you or your personal situation, so I don't know how many of these apply, but some should):

    • You were really, really nervous before you took your driving test, but what you remember is that you got your license.
    • You had terrible jitters before some if not all of your exams, but what you remember is that you passed the course.
    • If you've ever had a big dental procedure (think: wisdom teeth) you were terrified going in, but a few hours later you were surprised at how good you felt. And after a few days, you felt even better.
    • You can undoubtedly fill in at least one more experience.


    One more point: Don't be surprised when about 15 to 30 minutes before you go on stage, the butterflies start to inexplicably evaporate and you find yourself in a mood to have some fun.

    Good Luck. Let us know how it goes.


    == John ==
    == JOHN ==



    Music washes away from the soul the dust of every day life.

    --Berthold Auerbach



  13. #38
    Carpe Mandolinium
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Hyde Park, Illinois
    Posts
    514

    Default Re: 1st Time Playing for an Audience - Advice?

    Lee,

    How did it work out?

    == John ==
    == JOHN ==



    Music washes away from the soul the dust of every day life.

    --Berthold Auerbach



  14. #39
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Newaygo, MI
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: 1st Time Playing for an Audience - Advice?

    Thank You All.

    Still alive after performing 1st time. It was fun. I guess that's the point, as most of you mentioned. For me, it was a thrill, as this band inspired me to learn to play the mandolin at age 57.

    Need to practice more standing up and in poor light. Played Salt Creek. Picked really good second time through and much better in time after getting used to the monitors and all the on stage jitters. Chopped well too. There were 3 mando players, which the leader described as the mandolin section of the band.

    The members of the band went out of there way to be helpful - just like you folks on this board with your feedback.

    Looking forward to more jamming and playing live - more fun: less fear.

    Regards, Lee
    Lee Oliver

  15. #40
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    0.8 mpc from NGC224, upstairs
    Posts
    9,884

    Default Re: 1st Time Playing for an Audience - Advice?

    Congrats, and welcome to life
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

  16. #41
    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Statesville, NC
    Posts
    3,238

    Default Re: 1st Time Playing for an Audience - Advice?

    Happy for you. It only gets better.
    Phil

    “Sharps/Flats” “Accidentals”

  17. #42

    Default Re: 1st Time Playing for an Audience - Advice?

    99% of people hear with their eyes. Look like you're having fun, look like you know what you're doing, and as long as you're playing decent, 99% of the people will think you're great. Now this might not be true playing in front of a bunch of musicians, but it's true for 99% of the general population.

  18. #43
    Destroyer of Mandolins
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    5,017

    Default Re: 1st Time Playing for an Audience - Advice?

    Jab, that's an astute observation. I used to list "Tim's Rules of Music" in my sig line, and Rule #1 was "They're all drunk and don't care".
    Dedicated Ovation player
    Avid Bose user

  19. #44
    Registered User Laird's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Poultney, Vermont
    Posts
    892

    Default Re: 1st Time Playing for an Audience - Advice?

    Told you those Long Island Iced Teas would help. Or was it turning your back?

  20. #45
    Registered User Narayan Kersak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Asheville, NC
    Posts
    635
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: 1st Time Playing for an Audience - Advice?

    Whenever I am on stage, I don't pay too much attention to the audience until I feel relaxed into the playing. Up to that point, I pretend that I am just playing with my friends, and we are the only one's listening. Helps keep a relaxed demeanor. Once you've played a few tunes like that, then you let your self realize you've been on stage all along and it went fine. Then it's easy.
    Asheville Celtic Mandolin Blog and Tablature Resource.
    www.AshevilleMandolin.com
    Book: The Asheville Celtic Mandolin Collection - Tablature, Standard Notation & Chords to 50 Celtic/Irish Tunes.

  21. #46
    Registered User tprior's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Charlotte NC
    Posts
    94

    Default Re: 1st Time Playing for an Audience - Advice?

    After a few more gigs you'll be more concerned that the audience is small !

  22. #47
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    0.8 mpc from NGC224, upstairs
    Posts
    9,884

    Default Re: 1st Time Playing for an Audience - Advice?

    You can practice playing in front of an audience - loud, late at night, windows open, neighbors home. If they applaude, you're good to go
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •