#1
Hi everyone,

This weekend I'll be playing for a crowd for the first time ever. (Something organized by my music school: every student gets a chance to play a few songs for the crowd wich is going to consist mainly of parents and friends.) and I'm looking for some general tips and a few ways to impress te crowd (I was thinking about playing a very familiar tune from a commercial in between songs just to keep the crowds attention ) And I've also gotta keep my nerves under control. So if anyone has some advise or has some storys to share about their first time playing for a crowd please do! Thanks in advance.
#2
Hey dude.

Here's a few tips that'll help (it's helped me when I first started giggin');

Try to look around the place that your playing (the stage mostly) as you know where everything is and you're aware of any cables so you don't trip over them. It does happen to the best of us so don't worry if you do lol.
Never look down at the floor, or at least, keep your eyes on the crowd for a major majority of the performance. It sounds silly to some, but if you keep eye contact, it shows that you are confident (even if you're not) in what you're doing and what you're playing.

Between songs, try and use a tuner (or by ear) to se if you guitar hasn't gone slighty out of tune. It happens, and you sound like a right pillok if you don't do it because everone in the room will know that you're out of tune!

Talk to the crowd. It's hard to do at first becuase you're nervous, but if you talk to them, crack a joke, they'll like you for it. They won't be bored out of their ass lol.

Make sure EVERYTHING is working. PA, amp, pedals, wires... everything. Becuase just the one thing that doesn't work may be the one thing you really need.

Can't really think of anything else so I guess that's it. I know you can't much with acoustic but when you move ino bands and rock n' roll (lol) then move around the stage. Have a laugh, mosh your heart out! I do it with my band every time and it makes the show worth watching!

So good luck and hope all goes well for ya!

Andy
#3
Quote by whistler369

Never look down at the floor, or at least, keep your eyes on the crowd for a major majority of the performance. It sounds silly to some, but if you keep eye contact, it shows that you are confident (even if you're not) in what you're doing and what you're playing.


Or, if you're just too nervous to look at them, find a low spot on the back wall and stare at it. It'll look like you're looking at them, even if you aren't really. Helps a lot.
Also, make sure you're doing songs you're really comfortable with. The better you know a song, the better you'll perform it.
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#4
My first gig was a highschool solo performance.... There's a couple of things you have to remember.... try your hardest not to look at your hands while your playing (easy to do when you get nervous), also don't worry if you mess up... ive watched professional musicians completely blow solos and just keep on playing.... no one in the crowd cared. one last thing, check your wardrobe prior to going on stage... shoelaces, fly, give yourself the once over so you dont get people snickering when you walk out (it'll make it hard to be confident with people laughing at you) anyhoo... enjoy yourself, have fun, do your thing, and dont worry about what people think.... good luck
#5
Yeah my guitar teacher also said to make eye contact with the crowd but that's kind of hard for me 'cause I'm used to looking at my fretting hand when I play. Gonna spend the next few days practising playing while looking straight ahead. Thanks for al the tips so far, keep 'em coming!
#6
the best thing is to just do your thing, if your comfortable on stage then you will be better. Dont worry if you look out and see a few people snickering and whatnot, there will always be critics, always.
#7
Quote by NowhereMan901
the best thing is to just do your thing, if your comfortable on stage then you will be better. Dont worry if you look out and see a few people snickering and whatnot, there will always be critics, always.


Yeah thats prolly gonna be the hardest part I get nervous when even just one person is listening, let alone a whole crowd.
#8
everything that everyone else has told you is great advice. the only thing i would really add to it is this: make sure you're having fun up there. if you make a little mistake or anything just smile and keep playing. playing live is one of the most fun and rewarding experiences that goes along with being a musician. so enjoy it! when you're enjoying yourself and having fun on stage it'll be obvious to the crowd. the more fun you're having up there, the more fun they are going to have watching you! good luck!
#9
lol I remember buggerin' up once and I completely lost it lol. Chucked my guitar on the floor and walked off stage and had a cigarette lol. After a few mins I got back on stage and started playin' again lol. (I have diabetes so every now and then I go off on a short fuse). And after that people were sayin how nuts I was and they couldn't wait for our next gig :S - goes to show doesn't it? Buggerin' up doesn't have to be a bad thing lol
#10
Man, before my first giggish thing, I felt like I was gonna be nervous as the gig got closer, but I kept my cool and played awesomely. Since that, I love playing for people.
#11
well i know this one guirtarist and his words were"i never get nervouse to play for te crowd because i dont think about how i might mess up ,I think about how lucky i am to be playin for this crowd and im going to show em what i got!" and guess whos words those were? stevie ray vaughn's. I have this video of some people with him backstage some of his friends like interviewing him its pretty cool
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#13
^lol true but still good insperation
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#16
Quote by freeallboutu91
well i know this one guirtarist and his words were"i never get nervouse to play for te crowd because i dont think about how i might mess up ,I think about how lucky i am to be playin for this crowd and im going to show em what i got!" and guess whos words those were? stevie ray vaughn's. I have this video of some people with him backstage some of his friends like interviewing him its pretty cool


Ahh, but even good old Stevie got nervous. I have a DVD of Stevie Ray Vaughan live in Austin, TX, and the DVD consists of two performances - one of him as a young man with something to prove, the other as a seasoned veteren after kicking his drug/alcohol problems. In his first performance he's noticably nervous.

To the original poster: Even the best have to deal with nerves, just keep your head on straight (and take note of the good advice in this thread) and you'll do great man, good luck!

#17
Just some of the things I find useful:

*Smile and make eye contact. I know it's been said, but I can't stress how much this helps. If you look like your enjoying yourself up there, it becomes alot easier for the audience to enjoy themselves too. My first ever gig was a solo thing like yours - just me, a guitar and my voice, and for the first 2 or 3 minutes I was looking pretty damn scared. Anyway, when I started getting into my solo I just couldn't help grinning, and the minute I did, the entire crowd went off and started cheering like mad. So like jimtaka said, have some fun while you're up there, because if your enjoying it, so will the crowd.

*Try to develop a little pre-stage routine involving things that make you feel comfortable. For example, I ALWAYS (regardless of the venue) drink green tea before I go on stage. I drink it every day so its something that makes me feel comfortable, it helps my voice, and it calms my nerves. Try to figure out your own thing that will help you get in the groove.

*Stay focused. I know this sounds obvious, but on my second ever gig, I started feeling a bit cocky because a bunch of girls in the front row were making themselves..."available" if you know what I mean, and I wasn't really thinking about the song as much as I should have been. No matter how many times you've practiced it, it's really easy to get caught up in the moment. If you stick to your guns though (and save the groupie fantasies for after the show) then i'm sure you'll be fine

*Have a pre-planned joke up your sleeve. I know that it isn't very rock n roll/spontaneous, but it can really help. Another example, my band closed a gig with a cover of "You Shook Me All Night Long", and after I had introduced it, I added: "oh and ladies, I'll be available for the shakin' backstage". I know it sounds lame, but amazingly it worked! The crowd started cracking up (which relieved the nerves majorly), and after the show about 15 girls were trying to get backstage.

I hope all of that helps, and I'm sure that everything will go great! Good luck, and let us know how it goes!
Guitars
"Dakota" - Fender Splatter Strat
"Jacqueline" - Maton CW80
#18
I really cant add anything but I disagree the whole eye contact idea sure it looks good but me personally just get more nervous cuz I see everyone staring at me and then I don?t want to mess up so of course I do. I like what hoobariffer87 said about the low spot on the wall. One other thing once you start playing your going to be really nervous but after like 30 seconds...everything just sorta melts away at least that?s how it is for me. Well good luck and have fun with it (that really helps).
#19
My first time playing a gig infront of people who had no idea who I was was at some church up north of my house. I was playing with this Gospel Bluegrass band on mandolin. I came in, took my seat. I had played with them a couple of times before at my church, so they spotted me from up where they were playing and asked if I had my mandolin, I told them it was in the truck and they told me to run to get it. I ran out to get my mandolin in pouring rain(Thank God, I got a case.), shook my nerves, and got up there and just played with them. Here's some things I've picked up on that help me.

Before you go up do something to calm yourself, whether it be running outside, meditating, smokin' you one, or just playing out your nervousness.

When you get up there, act like you're glad that you are there, a positive attitude will warm everyone up to you, especially if they don't know who you are.

If you wanna show off a little, play a lick or two before you get strated.

Eye contact is very important. Spot out a few people and look them in the eye as you play, just drift between people. Don't find just two or three people to stare at, that can loose them.

You'll also want to entertain them a little bit without playing a note, crack a joke or something. Talk to them, just let them know you're not a robot.

Entertain them with a little playing, find a nice, fast one to play, just find a good toe-tapper. A good fast song can show versatility and keeps them from being bored.

Move around a little bit, or alot. Don't find one place and glue yourself there unless you are on a stool and you can't move because you don't have a strap.

Keep them awake, do something they don't expect, like a high jump or something. You'd be surprised at how a little movement and interaction will warm up an audience and leave them wanting more.

Never overdo it, you may come across as a show-off or any number of things. You want to keep them entertained and interisted, you don't want to dance around and run all over the place like a fool.

After you are done. Just thank them for coming out to listen, and thank them for the good time. Take a small bow. I personally just nod my head then raise it back up and throw my rigth hand in the air and wave to them as I leave the stage.

Maybe there is something there you can learn from, and intergrate as part of your presence on stage.


(Wow, that sounded like an advice column. )

EDIT: I fixed some typos and added some spaces between my points.
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#20
just keep in mind that you know the song better than you think you do. You know the song. you can play it. Just get up there and do what you do best.

Good luck
#21
Just read GsKorn's sig and that will tell you what I would say about this situation.
#22
HAHAHA I did that and they wanted to kick me out of school but Lucky it was off school property I was like 5 feet from the school property
#23
Just came back from the gig, it went pretty well! When I got on stage a lot of people were still walking around with cables and stuff to set everything up so I just started to chat with the crowd a bit and they loved it. When everything was set up I asked for a round of applause for the techys :P

My first song went perfectly and the second went alsmost as good. I suddendly found myself playing the wrong thing for a few measures but I recovered and no-one really noticed.

After that I was going to do a blues song with a pianist but like a minute before we started to play he told me he had changed a few chords we were using so I almost freaked out, but it turned out the changes weren't really that big so I could just play what I practised. The crowd really seemd to like the blues and we got a big applause

Afterwards a lot of people came to congratulate me on my performance, especially the one's who knew I've only been playing guitar for a short time.

So yeah I'm really saticefied Thanks very very much for a your advise it really helped me!
#25
haha thats cool it went well man, I wish I would've thought about asking some questions about playing in front of people for my first time...I had to write a song for a project in my english class (about 35 people, give or take)...and I wrote everything the night before..bad idea lol...so I got to class, pulled out my acoustic, played a coupleof licks...looked up and everyone was STARING at me. I played the first three notes of the song, and forgot the rest lol. I went home and recorded it and got a 70 on the project, due to me screwing up the first time..so moral us, plan ahead! lol glad the gig went well though!!

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#26
Well congrats man I was a wreck my 1st time...and i still am... but it only gets better
#27
I had a couple of beers before my first gig and it was fine, didnt messup at all and it really kills nerves
#28
Lol even when I drink only a few beers before I play I notice my playing gets more sloppy, so I don't drink before I go on stage
#29
You're not a true boxer until you've gotten the crap beaten out of you atleast once. Same goes with gigging musicians. I've done more dumb things on-stage than i'd care to admit. But there comes a point in your life where you're old enough to laugh at yourself.