hey guys tomorrow im going to play an open mic nite at a place by where i work, just me and my acoustic doing a few songs....its my first real time playing in front of any real audience...any advice?
Practice, practice, practice. You have no idea how many open mic-nites I've been to where I've seen awful, poorly prepared pieces.
I wish I was a slut
I find most people who do the sound at those things use too much bass and treble and nowhere near enough mid. If you sound too boomy before starting, ask them to up the mid but turn the level down a little.

Introduce yourself. A simple "Good evening everyone, I'm bmanlp92. This first song is called *song_name*", and get started. Always thank the audience politely when you finish a song, even if you don't get much of a response.
Also, don't take it personally if the response is small.

Remember to project. The old saying "sing to the back of the room" comes in here, just be careful to move away from the mic a little.

When all is said and done, you're just playing a few songs you've more than likely played dozens of times at home. Play them like you're there; stay relaxed and above all, enjoy yourself!
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Last edited by ChrisN at May 18, 2010,
If it's your first time, stick to covers, save the originals for when you're more experienced. The crowd will know and hopefully enjoy covers, they are less likely to react well to the originals than the covers (no offense to your songwriting skills, just people like to hear songs they know, especially in that sort of environment where if it's something they don't know they can easily have a conversation with their friends and not listen), and really you want your crowd's approval first time. If the crowd don't seem interested or to be enjoying it, it can ruin your confidence. (btw what's the cover you're planning to do?)
Secondly, do not listen to yourself. Concentrate on the notes you're about to play/words you're about to sing and try to ignore the sound of your voice/guitar from the speakers. If you listen to yourself, you will start being overly critical and lose confidence (this is from experience of my first open mic, where I noticed during my second song (The Great Beyond by REM) that I switched from the verse chords to the chorus chords after the first line of the chorus rather than before and didn't have the confidence to do my planned last song).
If you notice a mistake, carry on like it was what you meant to do. Most of the audience will only notice a mistake if you react to it. And you will make a mistake, even if you have it perfect in practise, the pressure of someone watching will cause at least one, even if it's just one word wrong.
No audience banter. I know bands do it, but that's a completely different setting. Introduce yourself, introduce your first song, play it, introduce your second and third songs if you want to, play them, thank you, goodnight, exit stage left. The more you talk, the more your nerves will show to the audience, and you're putting off playing for longer, making you more nervous.
Under no circumstances drink alcohol beforehand, dutch courage will affect your hand coordination and your voice. By all means get hammered once you're done (after my first gig I went straight to the bar and ordered a double black label and gave the barman a look hinting that I could really use a liberal measure). Also avoid fizzy drinks, don't want to risk burping on stage. Water or fruit juice only.
Don't talk to friends before you're on. Just sit alone with your guitar and play something simple (doesn't have to be what you're going to perform).
Finally, though this may sound a bit stupid, enjoy it. If you look as though you're having fun, the crowd will be more likely to have fun.
Good luck with it, let us know how it goes.
Quote by CV334

Sir, the contents of my mouth just blew all over my keyboard, desk, and part of my monitor. For the record, it was slightly chewed Keebler cookies and coffee slurry.

The average pitmonkey's response to my jokes.
^I agree with everything except for sticking only to covers.

My general guide goes 1 cover in every 3 songs. When I go to these things I don't want to hear a bunch of songs I've heard time and time again, so I don't want to do that to others.

If I do decide to play a cover, I do a song that no one would ever expect me to play and that I've never heard anyone else ever play (at an open mic).

I guess it depends where you're from and the kind of venue/clientele though.
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Dedicate a song to the late Ronnie James Dio
Some people like cupcakes exclusively, while myself, I say there is naught nor ought there be nothing so exalted on the face of God's grey Earth as that prince of foods:

the muffin!
Get out your Fender Stratocaster and start some Neo-classical shred mayhem!

Then curse everyone out, slam your guitar down and walk away with a big grin on your face with your spandex pants
Restrain yourself from fapping till tommorow... or maybe fap and stop halfway through the fap, so when you perform tommorow the increased level of tostesterone in your body will add beautiful energy to the set. gl hf
Just have fun with it, don't take it too seriously, i hate it when i see a guy on an open mic night acting like its woodstock.

Just remember, if you mess up, get ready to get the fuck out of dodge

Think of that next time you are not allowed to laugh.