Making a Meaningful Moment and Keeping It Real
What’s the secret to connecting with an audience? If you’re a solo performer, how do you give the people gathered to hear you a meaningful experience? What about for bands? Is it even possible?
The answer is yes… and, no.
YES magical moments are possible during your performance. And, NO you can’t “make” them happen.
It’s not what you do…it’s how you do it
If you perform as a solo singer-songwriter with guitar and/or piano, or if you have a small band, you are likely looking for gigs at local venues such as coffee houses, church and community music centers, and restaurants or bookstores with live music.
Kyle Rightley at Tuvalu Coffeehouse & Gallery in Verona, WI
Here are three keys to getting booked at small venues:
- Be easy to work with
- Be prepared
- Be politely persistent
My favorite concerts make me want to rush home, grab my guitar, and practice into the night—until I’m so tired I just can’t hold the instrument anymore.
I get the most inspiration from performers who give their all on stage, yet never seem to burn out or become jaded. I seek out these experiences, because when I am inspired, I become a better performer. I am hungry for those “wow” moments. They feed my own muse.
Here are a few memorable concert-going memories from my scrapbooks. What are yours?
How can you tap into the muse, and “wow” your fans like the great performers do?
You’re in a band, which means you have no money. Ah, the eternal joke…but it’s true, of course. Those expensive instruments you bought certainly weren’t free. The thousand-watt amp that the neighbors constantly complain about was not purchased at a WalMart for a low, low price. And instead of going to law school, or learning to be an investment banker, you spent your formative years learning how to play “Stairway to Heaven” without messing it up.
So now it’s time to press your brand new CD – the CD that’s going to catapult you to stardom, the CD that you spent countless hours perfecting – but to add in that 16 page booklet and the unfoldable wall poster, it’s going to cost around $2,500. So how do you, the band manager who’s also living out of your parent’s basement, come up with that money?
Own Your Status As a Musician, and Find a “Survivable” Survival Job
Are you employable in non-music settings?
For about a year, I held a factory job, performing quality control tests and working on creating a database to organize the results. It was enjoyable work, with pleasant colleagues, providing some of my earliest computer training in SQL.
If music is your calling (passion, vocation, obsession)—then you might be familiar with this conundrum:
- You want to be employable in a “survival job” or alternate career to supplement your income;
- You’re not sure where to start looking for employment that will help meet your needs AND leave time and energy for practice, performance, and maintaining your music career; and
- You don’t know how to “fit” your life as a musician into job application checkboxes (experience, qualifications, and all the rest). Are you employable?
Does this sound like a road you’ve traveled? Try these tools for owning your status as a musician (rather than running away from it or obscuring it), in the world of “survival jobs.” Continue reading