August 27, 2021

Playing music is fun – a lot of fun – and it should be. But what’s not fun is never getting invited back to a venue. Equally not fun is trying to build an act and finding it harder to get gigs over time rather than easier.

If your band has great tunes, you know how to play, and you’ve got great stage presence, you’d think that would be enough, but one thing that a lot of otherwise awesome bands lack is professionalism. Exuding professionalism on stage can work wonders for a career, in more ways than one. Venues and other professionals will be relieved to work with you, gigs won’t be as stressful, and audiences will respond better.

So, here are some tips for becoming a true pro on the stage.

Be Early

“Fashionably late” isn’t for gigs. Arriving at show time is not only late, it’s hours late. Find out when load in time is, be there a good 15 minutes before that time, and get to work.

Be Prepared

Changing your strings 5 minutes before the gig? Wondering what the set list is during sound check? These and a whole list of common habits are big no-nos. Instead, rehearse well and often, plan your show, and do all your gear maintenance before show day. To boot, make sure you practice loading and setting up gear and streamline that process. And of course, tune up before sound check.

Be Disciplined

Discipline comes in a lot of flavors at gigs. To start, keep silent during sound check. You should not be riffing, tuning, or otherwise making noise with a bass or a guitar while the drums are being sussed out (or vice-versa). You should warm up, but you should do that before sound check.

Communicate

Probably the best way to keep things running smoothly is to communicate well, and thoroughly. Let band members know where you’ll be before the gig. If your car breaks down the day before, call a bandmate immediately. On stage, communicate everything about your set up when the sound engineer asks. Talk about the set list and any changes that need to be made. If you’re planning any cool surprises during the show, tell the band so they don’t freak out.

Be Flexible

Even if you communicate well, you won’t always get all of your needs met. Even if you’re prepared, problems still crop up. Be prepared to go with the flow and still be positive. It could be there’s only one mic when you’d rather have two so you don’t have to carry it. It could be that the show time is pushed due to unforeseen circumstances. Maybe a string breaks mid-song or a band member doesn’t show up. The nimbler you are, the better you’ll fare.

Be Polite

Crew people, audience members, and bandmates don’t easily forgive rudeness, entitlement, or being mean – even if you are a big shot. So, keep polite, courteous, and humble. Ask for what you need, offer help, and generally just be a cool person to everyone. Believe it or not, this one is often the thing that creates the biggest sense of professionalism.

Be A Team Player – But Stay In Your Lane

If you want to be helpful, that’s fabulous. But you should ask if bandmates need help before grabbing their stuff or interfering in their set up time. Focus on your job, and if you’re done and ready to go, be ready to assist. This goes double for the sound engineer. Don’t mess with their set up. Instead, assume they know what they’re doing and let them concentrate – and be ready to help with a smile if they need something from you.

Stay Sober

Professionals don’t get high or drunk on the job. That’s just the end of that story. You may counter with stories about Jimmy Hendrix or Jim Morrison or any number of legendary inebriated rock stars, but even for stars, that can only lead to ruin. Have a beer, sure. But having twenty just isn’t a pro move.

Be Responsible

We all make mistakes. You can earn big points when you own up to yours. If you’ve forgotten a stand, stepped on a lyric sheet, or said the wrong thing, it’s ok. Be quick to own up and quick to forgive others’ mistakes.

Do What You Say

In case you hadn’t heard, musicians get a bit of a bad rap when it comes to integrity, and it’s no wonder. Many musicians promise a lot and deliver little in the way of kept promises. Be the opposite. Do what you say, when you say. That includes being on time, but it also extends to everything else you can imagine. This one may be the most powerful tool in a professional’s arsenal.

Be Honest

Finally, be honest and fair, especially when it comes to money. We all know that music can be a tough business, rife with swindlers and thieves, but if you’re not one of those, everyone will notice and love you for it. They’ll also appreciate you being honest with your feelings, communicating thoroughly, and being forthcoming and transparent about money.

 

Being a gigging musician is a gas – it really is. Being a real professional only serves to make it easier and more fun, so don’t be afraid to take honest stock of your professionalism on stage and make any necessary improvements. You won’t be sorry.



Also in Guitar / Bass Amplifier Info & Education

Finding New Bandmates or Collaborators
Finding New Bandmates or Collaborators

May 19, 2022

Whether you’ve been isolating for a couple of years due to the pandemic, or you’ve just always worked alone, now may be a great time to find some new blood to work with. Maybe you’d like to start or refresh a live band, collaborate on some tracks with other producer/musicians, or do a featured performance on an artist’s next hit.

Read More

How to Memorize Lyrics Quicker
How to Memorize Lyrics Quicker

April 21, 2022

If you’re a singer, nothing messes with your confidence more than flubbed lyrics - but you don’t always have weeks on end to memorize them. So, if you’ve got plenty of songs to put to memory, it helps to have a few pro techniques for memorizing lyrics faster and with more solid accuracy. Here, we’ll go over some tips for making lyrics stick.

Read More

5 Tips for Writing Better Lyrics Faster
5 Tips for Writing Better Lyrics Faster

April 15, 2022

Lyrics are a bane for some musicians – for others they seem to come quickly and easily. But it’s not just God-given talent that makes good lyrics come quickly. There are a few tried and true techniques for speeding up the journey from nothing to something good. Here are our top 5 tips for writing better lyrics faster.

Read More