10 tips on how to be a great performer
Having Booked literally thousands of entertainers and acts throughout the last decade, we have amassed a wealth of knowledge and insider info when it comes to pleasing a client and making a performance stand out. This knowledge is only good if it reaches the right people though, so we kindly ask you to pass on this newsletter to anyone you feel it may be of benefit to. None of this is rocket science, just common-sense. Remember, these aren’t rules, just ideas to think about. Maybe some will work for you and some won’t. Maybe some could if you tried them; an act should always be looking for areas of improvement so we hope this helps!
This sounds obvious, but we are still amazed at the number of musicians or entertainers that don’t take their ‘jobs’ seriously. It really is as simple as this; the more professional your act is; the more shows and higher fee’s you will command. Things like being on time, making sure you know the contact name at a venue, ensuring you have backup strings or equipment on hand and knowing whats required. All these details add up to paint a picture of your act in a client or agencies mind. The more professional and reliable an act is, the easier it is to make the decision to book the act.
Another obvious tip! People respond to politeness & courtesy above anything else, though in our industry this is sometimes much harder than it sounds. Yes you have to deal with drunk audience members, perhaps hecklers at times, and very stressed event organisers and promoters on regular occasions. But a rude client or difficult audience is never justification for an act to respond in an unprofessional or rude manner.
Be on a Winning Team
A band is about working and playing together, so being a good player is fine, but unless you’re so phenomenally brilliant that you’re in constant demand, then it’s actually more important to know how to work in a team of people. Working in a good team can be fantastic. You can get a real buzz when you pull off a successful gig together. In the band, it benefits you, as a band member, to leave space for others to grow, learn and make mistakes.
Get with the Times
An old, tired set is the last thing an audience wants! Take a step back and look at your setlist or style. Is it relevant? Is it a 21st century show? Keeping your set fresh and current is one sure fire way to keep one step ahead of the competition! Make sure that your publicity is up to date and current -no one wants to see a cheesy photo of you that was taken in the living room of your house or in the Loos on a night out. Make sure your publicity is professional and current, after all, this is what sells you and promotes you to clients for gigs and to the public at your bookings. Make sure you have an up to date, good quality video. The majority of acts have videos now to show just a snippet of one of their performances, so make sure you get one. People who are looking to book, love to see a live snippet of you in action. But beware, make sure its professional and looks the part.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Tedious, yes. Rewarding, yes. Today, every music magazine is packed with playing tips and ideas for every music style you could want. There are instructional videos, YouTube and a wealth of web resources and cheap guitars are excellent value and very playable. So practice, look, learn, listen, read, question, experiment. If you haven’t made ten mistakes today, you’re not trying hard enough!
Have Fun… And Show It!
If you don’t enjoy playing or performing, then don’t. Chances are that you do, and you can benefit from one of the best kept secrets in the industry – it’s OK to smile! Start practicing this with the corners of your mouth, and when you finally get the nerve, flash a bit of tooth! If you have fun, so will the people you’re playing to, then you feed off their energy, they feed off yours, … and the result? A great gig, brilliant references & future bookings.
Know your industry
Working with people outside your band or act is important – know your agents, promoters, employers (the ones who pay you) and your customers (the ones you’re playing to). Find out what they want, and treat them well. Understand that your average (non-musician) audience will notice more than your music alone. Knowledge of the music you are playing, the act you are playing tribute too and information about the agency you are representing; all these details are important and should be known!
Don’t blame your audience if they don’t dance, your audience if they don’t applaud, your employer if you don’t get booked again, other band members when things go wrong, your engineer when you can’t hear yourself, your equipment when it fails, your partner when you’ve had a rough gig etc. All of these and more will happen over and over again in your career, and guess what? Blaming makes every one of them worse for you. Every situation is solvable with a positive and mental attitude. So use every disappointment as an opportunity to learn to relax and think calmly about how you can do things differently next song or show.
Ok, so there will be times in your career where due to unforeseen circumstances you have had to cancel a show or booking. Some things can’t be helped and all parties will understand. But a show cancellation for unexplained reasons or within a short time is the one thing above anything else that will tarnish your image in the eyes of agencies and clients alike. AND ALWAYS CALL YOUR AGENT OR CLIENT WHEN CANCELLING! A FACEBOOK MESSAGE IS THE HEIGHT OF BAD MANNERS! DON’T BE THAT GUY!
You don’t have to prove this to anyone except yourself. Just like being physically fit, this is about being mentally and emotionally fit. Know what you want to do now and in the future, and work towards your goals. Trust your own intuition and your own judgment.