Tips For The Band

Gigging as a Solo Musician

Thinking of going out as a solo musician?  There are lots of reasons to do so, even if you are already in, or plan to be in, a band.

It can (sometimes) be easier to get (and keep) gigs, plus you don’t have to split the money into multiple tiny pieces.  You also don’t have to worry about band members who don’t show up, are difficult to deal with, or can’t remember how to play the songs you rehearsed.

Here are a few more tips from an article on the website bandsonabudget.com:

-Take yourself seriously. If you don’t take yourself seriously because you’re a solo musician and not in a band, you should probably stop now. Less is more sometimes, and a one person performance can certainly be EPIC if not more epic than a full band performance. People are used to seeing rock bands play, and they’re use to seeing boring acoustic gigs as well. Make sure you take it up a notch. Play with heart, and deliver. This leads us to…

-Practice. Why do you need to practice? It’s only you, right? Well, there’s a million of you. No matter how good your songs are, it’s going to take a little something extra to get people to really pay attention. Know your setlist front to back. Try not to wing it. Fluidity, professionalism, and a well tuned guitar are all going to make room for your personality onstage. If you’re nervous and fumbling, it’s going to be obvious almost immediately. Practice in the mirror if you have to. Close your eyes if you have to. Just get INTO IT. Believe what you are saying, and others will believe you as well.

-Sell merch. Don’t spend a ton of money, but remember lots of people buy merch for lots of different reasons. The venue crowd is going to want to see an incredibly convicting, emotional gig to be convinced. The coffeehouse crowd is likely to support you just because you came out, and you’re busting your ass on the road (hopefully they’re buying it for the right reasons, but unfortunately there’s no way for you to know so swallow your pride and stop caring about it, now). Merch will help you look professional and together. Since you’re probably traveling with less, set it up in a suitcase or something compact and fun. It lets people know you showed up for a reason- to spread the word about your music.

-Don’t be afraid to let people know you need money for gas because, well, you do. If you’re cool with a tip jar, do it. Depending on the setting, it may or may not work. If you’re on a legit stage, don’t. Save this for more intimate performances. Making people aware that you HAVE merchandise that you NEED to sell isn’t always a bad thing, just make sure you’ve gained the trust of the audience already… or, just make sure it’s not the first thing you say when you get up onstage.

For more of the article, go to bandsonabudget.com

Annoying Rock Star Behavior

You may not be a big rock star (yet!), but … someday.  It could happen.

Now is the time to either learn how to treat your fans the way they should be treated, or start practicing how to be annoying as only a star can be.

Here from Rolling Stone are a few things you could start working on now.

 

1. Show up ridiculously late
Rock stars aren’t accountants, and nobody expects them to take the stage at the precise moment listed on the ticket. We get that. A little late is good, even. It gives everyone time to park, deal with will call, wait in the bathroom line and get a beer. But some artists routinely take the stage two, three or even four hours late; Lauryn Hill, we’re looking squarely at you here.

2. Exclude key band members
Some bands have members who just don’t feel like being rock stars anymore. We understand that. When Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac and Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones decided to scale back their lives and get off the road, we would have all preferred to see them with their bands still. The shows suffered from their absence, but people have a right to quit. A band isn’t the mafia.

3. Play too much from the new album
We have no issue with bands playing a ton of their new material. It does, however, get annoying when you pay to see an artist and the vast majority of the show is new stuff, especially when that material is a pale imitation of the old stuff. There’s a certain expectation when you buy a concert ticket (especially to an arena show) that you’re going to hear songs from throughout an act’s career. It’s just hard for people to fully appreciate music they don’t know very well.

4. Only perform the hits
The flip side of Number Three. Some artists have long catalogs of great songs, but their concerts tend to fall back on the same 15 songs they’ve been dragging out for decades. It’s like eating 10 chocolate bars for dinner; it’s not satisfying. You need to balance it out. Sure, the crowd loves to hear hits and you want to do anything you can to hold their attention, but you also need to challenge them a bit.

 

For more great tips, check out the full article on RollingStone.com

Do You Have Musical Talent?

Is talent something we are born with, or something that can be developed in anyone?  Maybe a bit of both.

David Shenk wrote about this on the the Genius Blog: The Genius in All of Us.

How can we explain the vast differences in musical ability? How can one species produce Paul Simon and William Hung? Are we born with musical talent, or do we develop it? Let’s sort through the research:Continue reading Do You Have Musical Talent?

Organizing a Band

I recently found an interesting article on organizing a band and dealing with the changes that come along in this business of music.  The excerpts below touch on a few of the topics covered and how to deal with them.

Music is a business. You have to decide how seriously you want to pursue your personal enjoyment versus making money. This is not to say that you can’t have both and sometimes if you plan carefully you can have a rewarding experience in every way.

Music is all about entertainment. I am not suggesting you get a monkey and organ grinder. Act like you have an interest in what’s going on. Have confidence. You’re probably much better than you think.Continue reading Organizing a Band

ASCAP or BMI – which one is better?

If you are a songwriter and are having a song published or recorded, it’s essential to join a PRO (Performance Rights Organization).  The two primary ones are ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors  and Publishers) and BMI (Broadcast Music Incorporated), although there are others as well, such as SESAC (no longer an abbreviation for anything).

The purpose of a PRO is to monitor the use of member’s compositions and make sure that they’re compensated.  That said, this article on DIYMB starts by asking the question:

“ASCAP vs BMI, which one is better? This has been an ongoing debate for many years with no clear answer.”Continue reading ASCAP or BMI – which one is better?