5 things to do before your play your first concert
1. Ensure you're ready
Before you book your first show, make sure you're prepared to do the job. Don't assume you can play covers or play acoustic when you're booked as a full band. Don't book live gigs unless you're explicitly booked to perform covers or do an acoustic set. Instead, talk to the venue manager or organiser. Ask how long they expect you to perform and if they are expecting a full band. If they want an hour-long set and you've only got two songs, you may need to hold off. If they want an hour-long set and you've got five songs, maybe there is some wiggle room with a few well-chosen covers. Communicate honestly about what you can deliver to avoid burning bridges. Event coordinators will appreciate your honesty and will offer you opportunities to perform live when you're prepared to do so.
2. Practice, Practice, Practice
Live music isn't about going out and hitting every single note right. If you flub on stage, don't expect tomatoes to fly and your music career to stop dead in the water. Fact: If you mess up, most audience members won't even notice. However, that doesn't mean you should waltz on stage without doing your homework. Practice before your show to get your set as a tight as possible.
3. Solicit Feedback
Perform for your friends and family before performing in front of an audience. This exercise has several purposes. First, you can get feedback about your song choices and set length. Second, playing for this friendly bunch gives you the opportunity to get comfortable playing in front of a live audience, which is entirely different from playing in front of a mirror or your bandmates. Use this opportunity to work on your stage presence, your banter, and of course, your music. While you don't need to memorise things to say between songs, you should feel at ease chatting with a crowd. Last but not least, playing in front of people before the main event will boost your confidence and help you slay your stage fright demons.
4. Get your social media game on
Live music keeps fans engaged, and for an up-and-coming artist, live music is a way to make music fans want to know more about you. Before your show, update your Facebook, Instagram and Youtube whatever other social media sites you use. If you sell music online, make sure fans can find links to sales pages easily. By the way, after the show, hit your social media network and rave about how much fun you had. The fans will appreciate that you enjoyed your set as much as they did.
5. Know who else is playing
For your first show, chances are you're first on a two-, three- or four-band bill. Don't show up without knowing anything about your fellow musicians.Spend a little time online learning about their music and what they do. You don't have to become their biggest fan, but knowing about others shows professional courtesy. Even if the other bands may not show you the same courtesy, it's these little things, like showing interest in other artists and their work, that get the attention of the industry heavy-hitters who matter.