Sharing Your Music in the Real World
Found in: The Music Business
We’ve talked in this blog about sharing your music online; how to take the tentative steps to “put ourselves out there” in a digital world, whilst safely tucked up in the comfort of our homes with our bunny slippers on!
While this offers amazing opportunities these days, we often, both as creators and appreciators, miss out on the experience of live music. As a fellow music creator I wanted to broach the nerve-wracking idea of taking the bunny slippers off and venturing out of our houses to create and share our music!
I’m not necessarily talking about stepping out of the living room and straight onto the concert hall stage. There are lots of ways we can play for and with others that are as rewarding as they are humble. But let’s start this conversation by dreaming just a bit.
Personally I don’t think there is anything quite as amazing an experience as performing live. The rush I get when someone comes up to me saying that one of my songs gave them an experience that touched them in a personal way – well, there is nothing quite like it, and I could go on and on about performing and writing music, but that is not the point of the article! The point is, as a musician, where can I find opportunities to perform live?
The easiest way to do this is to go to an Open Mic night. They are held anywhere and everywhere! Folks of all experience and skill levels go along to share their music. They are really supportive and nurturing places for those that haven’t taken the metaphorical and physical step onto the stage and into the spotlight before.
Busking is another great way to perform and get paid! Yes, it can be a little soul-destroying with so many people walking past you like you don’t exist, BUT you can turn that into a challenge – how do you make your music and performance interesting enough that folks are going to want to stop and listen and part with some change? The other awesome thing about busking is you don’t have to have a lot in your repertoire. You’ve got a new crowd every few minutes.
A lot of community markets also have buskers or performers stages. Performing at events like these can be a baby step into taking it to the street – folks are usually friendlier when shopping for their produce in the open air (and most often these markets are cash only 😉
Festivals: Your local music community music festival will 9 times out of 10 have a tiny tiny budget, and they are always looking for artists to play for next to nothing. Festivals are an amazing place to showcase your talents – people come to hear music, share music and make music. Playing at Festivals is also an amazing way to start creating a fan base and following for your music. Even if you don’t have anything to sell, you can let them know about your online music presence (this is a whole different article’s worth of raving from me!)
I could keep going on and on about all the different places you can perform live, but instead I will list a few below:
- Nursing Homes – they often employ musicians to play music for their residents. I actually used to take my Bagpipe students to my local nursing home – if they’ll take learner Bagpipe players they’ll take anyone!!!
- House Concerts – Invite your friends and family over and perform for them! You know they’re going to love you… or at least not tell you they don’t to your face 😉
- Songwriter groups – these are a great way to share new music & receive feedback.
- Start or join a Jam group – get your friends together and play music to each other.
- If you’re a grown-up with a little of the rebellious rock’n’roller still waiting to break out, there might be a Weekend Warriors program available in your area. This wonderful scheme gives you expert guidance in putting together a band and performing with like-minded rock lovers.
- You might be lucky enough to have a Play Me, I’m Yours event organized in your city. People of all skill levels have the chance to just walk up to a piano and express themselves!
For those fearful folks who aren’t ready to take the centre stage just yet, why not try:
- Local Choir or Orchestra – Community choirs are everywhere these days and you don’t have to be a trained singer to join most of them. Likewise with local orchestras and bands, who often cater to students and keen amateurs.
- Performance group – As well as choirs and orchestras, other performance groups have a lot to offer, helping you gain experience in areas like drama and musical theatre, usually having great fun along the way.
- Your Church Choir or Band – it’s hard to imagine a more supportive atmosphere than sharing worship music at your own church.
- Even a public speaking group can help you with your performing.
I completely understand how daunting playing live can be. I wanted to end with one invaluable and very simple thing I learnt from an experienced performance coach.
What I would like to share with you is this: your audience wants to like you.
You wouldn’t stop in the street to listen to a busker you wanted to dislike, and you wouldn’t pay to go to a festival to listen to a band that you really wanted to hate. Why would the people that have taken time or spent money do the same for you?!
I know this sounds silly, but it is the first thing we forget when preparing to go on stage; our brain gets the “what if they don’t like me” panics. Unless you give folks reason not to, they really do want to like you, they want to connect with you as a person and you through your music and isn’t that why we create music? We want to connect.
I would really like to encourage anyone who hasn’t or isn’t taking their music out of their home and comfort zone to do so – it will be absolutely worth it.