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View Full Version : First time at Open Mic tonight... tips?



Sporin
03-15-2012, 11:11 AM
Playing a song at a local Bar's open mic tonight, any tips?

I'm expecting a fairly good crowd this close to the "holiday" and my understanding is it's good folks all around. This is one of the bigger open mic's in my area (Salt Hill Pub, Lebanon, NH). My sister is actually a regular there and sometimes sings with the house band so that gives me some courage.

I'm only planning to do 1 song, "Don't Think Twice" by Bob Dylian which I do in a pretty peppy way more like PP&M then Dylan. Figure I'll have my chord to plug in to an amp if possible. I'm told they have all the amps and mics there and the "house band" runs the show.

Playing my Islander Tenor, low g. Been practicing like crazy though I hope to have the music in front of me to keep the words straight in case of jangled nerves. :)

I play regularly with my uke club and groups of friends but this is the first time I'll be playing solo in front of a room full of strangers.

Any tips?

BigSkyUkuleleGirl
03-15-2012, 11:14 AM
No tips BC I've never had the nerve to do an open mic but just wanted to say you'll do great - let us know how it foes and have fun.

1931jim
03-15-2012, 12:42 PM
If you don't know the song without the page in front of you it isn't too late I hope to change to one you know inside out and sideways top to bottom.
You will build your confidence much more quickly if you can get eye contact with the audience and just relax. Good luck. Sometimes a nice slow song
played slowly keeps you relaxed more.

Sporin
03-15-2012, 12:56 PM
If you don't know the song without the page in front of you it isn't too late I hope to change to one you know inside out and sideways top to bottom.
You will build your confidence much more quickly if you can get eye contact with the audience and just relax. Good luck. Sometimes a nice slow song
played slowly keeps you relaxed more.

Oh I know it, the chords better then the words in fact, i'm just afraid I'll forget it while I'm up there. Going to scope it out a bit tonight and see what others do before I put my name on the call sheet.

UncleElvis
03-15-2012, 01:06 PM
Smile a lot. Own the crowd. Remember that they're on your side.
If you screw up, grin and play through it.
And remember to breathe! Take a couple of deep breaths and calm down before you go up, then one or two more once you're there.

OldePhart
03-15-2012, 01:08 PM
If you've not played through a PA with monitors before that can be the biggest shock to a first timer. The first time you hear yourself in a PA monitor you'll think, "who the blazes is that singing with me?!" The voice won't sound like "you" and it can throw folks off if they're not prepared for it. Just don't "chase you're voice" in the monitor - trying to make it sound like you - as long as what you're hearing is on key you're golden.

If you're like many of us this won't be your last open mic no matter whether it goes well or not-so-well. There is something addictive about the rush of performing live. If you feel like it's going not so well just remind yourself that you're already a one-percenter - 99% of folks will never gain the courage to sing in front of a crowd!

Above all, enjoy this - it will never again be your "first time" :)

John

Ellis Lowery
03-15-2012, 01:14 PM
I try to play open mics as often as possible. Heres what I will say from my own experience...no matter what have fun with it, if your havin fun the audience will have fun with it, even if you do slip on a chord or miss a lyric...and if you do whatever happens play through it and keep the song going. Half the time noone will even notice you slipped other than you. Playing an uke in a sixstring environment, will be new to everybody in there, and if your performance is entertaining they will dig it, cause thats what open mic is for, new and different music from the same ol house band. Lastly, do open mic as often as possible, its the only way to get use to the nerves and play through them...looking at the audience is good but sometimes closing your eyes and playing your music in your own little world makes the nerves subside. Hope this helps and let us know how it went...post a vid, thats even better!

Sporin
03-15-2012, 01:18 PM
Thank you all SO MUCH, this is really encouraging. :)

ScooterD35
03-15-2012, 01:48 PM
Remember, you're there for you and the most important thing is to have fun!


Scooter

dkcrown
03-15-2012, 02:26 PM
You may be at the open mic already, so it might be too late to post this, but try to remember to slow down. When you are nervous it is common to play really fast. As was said before, it sounds silly but remember to breathe.

jackwhale
03-15-2012, 03:50 PM
Like Uncle Elvis said, smile a lot. Make it a bigger smile than in social situations.
Introduce your song. Why did you choose it etc? Do you want the audience to sing Don't Think Twice It's All Right along with you?

Have fun.

uke4ia
03-15-2012, 04:32 PM
Sing from the diaphragm. I see a lot of newcomers to open mikes hide behind their instruments. You hear them strumming their guitar or uke, and you just hear this tiny voice behind that's singing so quietly you can't make out any of the words. Sing out.

Bob Dylan is a good choice for a first time. Almost everybody can sing well enough to not sound worse than Bob Dylan. And if you sing really badly, you just sound that much more authentic.

bongolele
03-16-2012, 12:56 AM
It's been a while since I played gigs, but the main thing to look forward to is that rush you feel when you get off the stage. Trust me, it's worth it!

And relax, or at least try to. The audience are there to have fun. The worst thing to do is stop playing and get all apologetic. Just keep going, keep pounding through the chords. Nobody will notice any mistakes. I really fluffed up my keyboard parts a few times playing live, and when I said it to my friends in the audience afterwards they didn't know what I was talking about.

The only thing the audience will notice is if you stop playing, or trail off. Anything else they'll put down to ad-libbing... lol

BashfulPuppet
03-16-2012, 01:47 AM
Be confident. Sing loud enough to be heard. Don't stress over little mistakes (their more obvious to you than anyone else). Try to start and end clean. Have fun. That's my two cents on open mike performances.

nscafe
03-16-2012, 02:50 AM
Eagerly awaiting word of how it went for you last night!

ckellogg
03-16-2012, 03:00 AM
No matter how it went, it went great, I'm sure. I've only done one set at Open Mic, and that was with a group of 5 (a beginner's 'girl band' of sorts). The PA system/setting up really was the oddest and most difficult part. I'm kind of a jokester, so I let 'em fly, some got laughs, others didn't. If only I had the timing of Don Rickles. If I go up on my own in the future, I'm gonna have a ukulele joke/story I can ramble while setting up, to keep the audience occupied, and, to keep my own butterflies down. I look at specific people, in the eyes, while up there, and that helps me, I see less of the 'crowd'. My ukulele group's mottos is the best - "No shame no blame". Everyone gets applause!

raecarter
03-16-2012, 04:38 AM
I think try to shoe confidence. I like joviality with the crowd between songs etc. If you mess up carry on as people never remember the bum notes even if you do.

Manalishi
03-16-2012, 04:46 AM
If you screw up on any verse of any song ONCE
repeat the screw up on all the verses.Then call
it JAZZ!!!!!!

BigSkyUkuleleGirl
03-16-2012, 04:47 AM
How did it go???? I'll bet you rocked the house!!

Sporin
03-16-2012, 04:47 AM
It went really well!!!! I tried to keep in mind all the stuff you guys told me, and more then once added a few bars of chord noodling between verses where I normally don't do it, just to slow and clam myself down.

I did a longer write up on my blog: http://ukemafia.com/my-first-open-mic/

I was one of 4 people performing and my skill level was not wildly out of place. The audience was certainly intrigued by the ukulele and seemed genuinely entertained by what I played with it. I heard both “Tiny Tim” and “Don Ho” mentioned (not in a heckling way, jsut people conversing about the ukulele) as I was setting up by various patrons. It’s nice to show folks that the ukulele is so much more then that.

The gentleman who performed before me was the best of the night. An old guy with a long gray beard and a cowboy hat. He sang and played guitar, mostly old timey, folky songs but also a rendition of “Folsom Prison Blues” which I do as well. After my songs he came up to me and patted me on the back and told me he really enjoyed it and hoped I’d come back and play again. That felt great.

The guys who run the show there (the Salt Hill “House Band”) couldn’t have been more supportive or helpful. They got me set up right (first time I’ve played amplified) and gave me tips and encouragement before and after.

thanks for all the encouragement and tips, I thought about your words a lot last night and it really helped. I will definitely be doing this again. :)

35089

BigSkyUkuleleGirl
03-16-2012, 04:49 AM
Ha, we posted at the same time...

So glad to hear it went well - we knew you could do it. :o

ukuLily Mars
03-16-2012, 05:10 AM
Congratulations! So glad it went well and that you had so much fun. That was a great idea, to add a few bars to slow yourself down and stay focused. I haven't had the opportunity to perform on the 'uke yet but I will keep that in mind when I do!

bongolele
03-16-2012, 05:14 AM
Congrats! - I'm glad it went well. How did you feel when you got off the stage?


I heard both “Tiny Tim” and “Don Ho” mentioned (not in a heckling way, jsut people conversing about the ukulele)

I think people would be too scared to heckle... ;)

Sporin
03-16-2012, 05:19 AM
Congrats! - I'm glad it went well. How did you feel when you got off the stage?

I think people would be too scared to heckle... ;)

Yeah, I'm a big teddy bear. :)

The same guy that I heard talking about Tiny Tim was the first to congratulate me when I got back to the table.

Mandarb
03-16-2012, 08:37 AM
Glad to hear it went well. Congrats!

flyingv8
03-16-2012, 08:51 AM
Good for you! Now that you got that first time out of the way you can relax more the next time knowing that you lived to tell the tale! We're all proud of you!
Don

Sporin
03-16-2012, 09:19 AM
Congrats! - I'm glad it went well. How did you feel when you got off the stage?


Definitely a rush afterwards. I did a bunch of theater in college and I remember that feeling well.... didn't realize I missed it so much. :D

philrab66
03-16-2012, 10:56 AM
Definitely a rush afterwards. I did a bunch of theater in college and I remember that feeling well.... didn't realize I missed it so much. :D

Can we see the video please. you were brave enough to get up on stage I am sure showing millions will be easier.