Top Tips

Polishing your live performance

Use open mic nights to boost your confidence, stage presence and to develop your craft.

Open mic nights are great.

No really… they are. The days of the beardy weirdy, real ale bores have gone. Now the rest of us weirdos can have a go too.

For those of you not familiar with the format, the open mic night is an evening of music usually located in or at least within close proximity of a pub. Simply arrive early, give your name to the organiser and, if you’re lucky, you will get a 10 or 15 minute slot to play what ever you want. Although a PA will be provided, due to logistics and time constraints, drums and electric guitars are often not permitted, but pretty much anything else is. The most common setup is an acoustic guitar and vocal.
So why play an open mic night?
Apart from a good night out, playing at an open mic night can help to develop your confidence and really add polish your performance. Think about it… its still a gig, but your music has been stripped down to its barest form. There is no where to hide. Half of the audience are also performing, so there is a real shared appreciation and genuine support whatever the skill level or ability.

Open mic nights are a fantastic opportunity to make connections. Entire bands have formed and gig dates set all on a rainy Thursday evening down the pub… and yes, for some reason, open mic nights always seem to be on a Thursday (someone told me this is because it was traditionally Karaoke night). You can watch and learn from old pros or help and advise younger players.

I have always found the low-fi, ‘naked’ approach to music (not literally you understand) the best way to break through the stale, dead-end rut that we all find ourselves in sometimes. Being able to see other amateurs playing with real passion, for me at least, re-ignites my enthusiasm and creativity and at the open mic, you have a stage and audience to try out new ideas, preview new songs and receive genuine and constructive advise.

How to get involved
Wherever you live, there is almost certainly an open mic running near by. Perhaps your first port of call should be local pubs who regularly host live music. In the BlackFrog area, The Three Horseshoes in Towersey and the First Thursday Music Club operating from The James Figg are two of the main events in the calendar. If there is not an open mic running in your area…why not start one yourself? Approach an approachable landlord (apparently they do exist!) and pitch the idea… there is nothing to lose and everything to gain.

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