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Welcome to the EvO:R Tips Section. We call this section EvO:R-Pedia because it is like a complete
reference library for Indie musicians...Just about every tip has been used so you won't find false
promises and a series of books to buy after reading each tip. This section was put here by musicians
so that people that followed can take this knowledge and use it's power.
PRACTICING FOR YOUR GIG WITHOUT PLAYING MUSIC
"PRACTICING FOR YOUR GIG WITHOUT PLAYING MUSIC"
By David Peachey
For several months over late last year and into the year of 2001, I had the
lovely job of running a Solo/Acoustic showcase at a local hotel for The
Music Platform (http://www.themusicplatform.com), which required me to set
up PA, MC and generally make sure things run on schedule.
David Peachey is a multi-talented and self-taught musician currently
based in Brisbane, Australia. His primary instrument is the acoustic
guitar, yet, his musical expertise superbly translates to all
instruments and is undoubtedly evident in his melodic, but
occasionally haunting, vocals.
It's such an eye opener to work from the 'other side'! What follows is a
number of suggestions - some damn obvious - from my observations of both
new and seasoned acts as I organised them and watched them perform:
- Practice setting up and breaking down.
How quick *can* you set everything up? How quickly can you pack it all
down? Having three or four guys amble around on stage, shifting drums and
twiddling with amps is not only superlatively boring to watch, but wastes
time that could be spent PLAYING MUSIC. Know exactly HOW you're going to
set up onstage (including mixer/amp settings) BEFORE you step onstage.
- Have all necessary equipment.
Obvious, but the number of times I've had to hunt down a lead for a
guitarist - and the number of times I'd been thankful I had an extension
cord with me - gave me the solid habit of having a no-excuses
list-of-necessities for every gig I play or help organise.
- Practice tuning.
I have one guitar student, and the first thing we always do each
lesson is tune up; not only to get in tune but to practise the
SPEED of tuning. Again, quick tuning = more time for music playing.
- Don't EVER 'tune up' on stage.
Re-tuning for a particular song and back is tenuously ok, but it's a very
poor look to watch a band step onstage and begin tuning to each other. I
makes me wonder why they couldn't have done it all backstage. The small
exception to this is replacing strings which, again practise doing with
some speed, and have a simple musical backup plan, usually either the rest
of the band jamming or playing another song while the problem is sorted...
if you're solo (like me), toss the guitar and get another one, or try to
work around it. Which brings me to...
- Keep going!!
A technical mistake is almost imperceptible to the audience, but the
displeasure on a performer's face screams volumes. If the mistake is
obvious (like your amp just exploded), the way you try to save the
situation holds far more weight than the original muckup. The old rule of
overcoming adversity, and all.
- Say who you are!
I cannot match or place the act to most of the music I know or
hear. Especially when you (as an act) are fighting for recognition or
attention, adding your name to the performance will put you leagues ahead
of the bands who 'just get up and play'. Announce it, tell it as a joke,
have a banner, wear t-shirts, whatever!! I once saw a band do a giveaway
of a can of baked beans, for the best plug a punter could do onstage for
their band. (The bands' name was Shifter, if that proves my point any.)
- Have FUN.
Stupidly obvious, but the performers who don't look happy to
be onstage outnumber the performers who do. This applies to everyone, even
back to the foundatory drummer and bassist. Smiling is a good
start. Moving is another possibility. No matter what your 'style' is, I'd
take more notice of a group who enjoyed what they were doing, than a group
who performing seemed to be their personal and wearisome hell.
One more tip...? Work from the 'other side' - organise or even just help
with a music showcase/event; see what the other acts do that is both good
and bad, both offstage and onstage, and apply your findings to your own
performance. You'll be surprised at the enlightenment this new perspective
~ DAVID PEACHEY ~ SoloSingerSongwriter ~ "Dark Pop-Folk"
http://www.davidpeachey.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Last update: 28 June Ph. (+ 61 7) 3831 2495
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His instrumental skill runs not only from guitar to keyboard,
but even extends to more obscure instruments
such as the kora, berimbau and theremin.