Andy’s Open Mic Tips
Andy's open mic performance tips for emerging singer-songwriters. . . .
Of course, we'd like to hear originals or obscure cover-tune interpretations. However, don't be afraid to perform a more popular cover song or two, (Not note for note as the original artist's version). Most likely, your audience does not know who you are. Presenting a "familiarity" can bring the audience closer to you. You might want to start by putting your own spin on a cover and then over time, begin to introduce your own material.
Limit your time on stage to 10 minutes This includes any combination of speaking, tuning and performing. Should you play a song that exceeds 4 minutes, you might want to exclude a verse or two, as your performance might be limited to that one song!
Try and tune your instrument prior to taking the stage. It is pretty annoying to hear someone tune for even a couple of minutes.
Keep your songs under 4 minutes. This is all fairness to everyone else.
Don't start a jam session. If you are playing with other musicians, don't get carried away with solos. This is a sure way to piss off the host and bore the audience most of which are waiting their turn to play!
Acoustic guitarists should obtain a pick-up. If you have an onboard EQ, all levels should be up 50% and flat. I recommend the K&K Mini Pure. Order it online and have it installed at a local guitar store.
Long monologues, for the most part, are not that effective in this Open Mic environment. When and if you start to play gigs at hard ticket rooms and the show is yours, dialogues and some storyline especially when combined with some humor, are great in getting the audience to know you and allowing them to enter your life for a brief period of time.
Don't apologize for perhaps not knowing a song or for introducing a new tune that you are just learning. Just play and work your way through it.
And... Please refrain from loud conversations while others are playing.