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10 Tips for New Musicians Taking the Stage



1.  Practice.  A bunch.  Every practice is a rehearsal for your show.  You should all start at the same time, and end at the same time.


2.  Tune before your show.  There is no exception.  If you’re first tuning on stage, you are behind the game.  It’s unprofessional, and you look amateur.


3.  Fuck ups happen.  No one is perfect, some worry about the show, while others worry about the music.  But you need both. Not just one.. if  you are a solo act, you need to pull double duty, if your drummer is a great showman, but a good musician, and your guitarist is a great musician and good showman…. you have the balance. Keep it going. .


4.  Don’t spend too much time yapping in between songs.  if you spend more than a minute, and you’re losing the new people to your music, this is particularly hard if your songs are being well received.  We get it, you want to tell the stories that go with these songs.  Tell them after you get off stage.

5. Have a set list. Don’t get up and just randomly pick the songs you think you’re going to remember.  You are either going to forget one…. or spend too much time talking.


6. Time your set.  Are you famous? no?  Then you don’t deserve extra time.  It doesn’t matter how many people you brought to the show, it makes you look like an asshole, both to those who aren’t your friends, but to the bands you may not know.


7.  If you have a show with a group of your other musician friends, and everybody is there to see their buddies all play…. and you invite a musician who isn’t in your crew…. stay. watch. clap. cheer. enjoy. The band that isn’t your friend, was asked to play to your crowd, if you leave… you took a major reason they said ‘Yes!’


8.  If you can’t stay in the building when you’re done playing, don’t tell the band they rule.  How do you know. They played in front of two people that they didn’t bring, and you weren’t one of them.


9.  Leave your drama at home. Or in your music. or if you have a stage show to go with your drama… use that. But if you don’t have those, and you throw a tantrum on stage about something else…. you lost your audience.


10.  DO NOT RESTART SONGS. If you fuck up the beginning… push through and catch the time again.  I know that you haven’t done anything on this list if you fuck up your opening song.

Every musician has made these mistakes, unless they were a prodigy…. and even then, some of these mistakes are just part of growing.  But someone should tell you, because you should know this.  If you disagree with this list…. you are wrong.   These are things that will give you the respect, and trust of your peers who play music, and share the stage with you.