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How To Prepare For and Setup Your Show (Part 1)

Updated on January 18, 2014

Putting a show together requires a good deal of organization. There are many steps needed to put on a show and your setup and preparation are the major components that will make your show the best it can be. Things do not stop with just the creation of your music. The next step after you've created your work is


1. Figure Out Your Set:

How are you going to present your music? Come up with a great flow for your show. Decide what song will get your audiences attention when you start. Figure out what order of your music will keep their attention. Be mindful that this does not necessarily mean pick your favorite songs that you have done, instead pay attention to feedback you've gotten from your fans already. What do they think is cool and what makes them feel moved. Your set should be like a roller coaster for them filled with ups and downs to keep them engaged.

As an exercise, write down all of your songs on a sheet of paper. Go over which ones your fans know best. Start and end with one of these songs. Use this same method to decide when you should change the feeling of your show to keep the energy of the crowd going.


2. Make A List Of All The Equipment You Will Need

Think of all the things that are going to compliment your music. Do you need strobe lights and smoke? Are you going to go simple with just a stool and a guitar? Also, think about what your niche is then decide what equipment is essential to for the selections in your set list then add on things items that will enhance presentation. For example if you are playing at a club and bringing all of your equipment yourself and are giving everything you've got, you'll probably bring everything you need for your instruments plus extra goodies like lights.

How long does it take you to setup your show?

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Make sure what you are planning to bring is not already at your venue. You wouldn't bring a PA system to a venue that has a sound system and PA integrated in the place you will be. Also, some venues require that musicians use the equipment they have beyond the sound system such as the drum kit or microphones. Find out ahead of time what the requirements and restrictions are for the venue you will be at.

To make sure you don't miss anything, categorize your items. Also, make sure you are bringing extra of essentials like cords and batteries for cordless mics. You shouldn't leave anything to chance. The same goes for your smaller setup too. If it's just you and a guitar, make sure you have extra picks. There is always something you will need and you don't want to have to figure things out or go without it during the middle of your show.


3. Promote

Don't forget in the midst of your organizing to tell people about what you're going to do. The last thing you want is to prep for an amazing show and realize no one is there because no one knows about it! Tell everyone! Tell the milkman! lol While you're out getting things done tell the people you talk to about your music and your upcoming show. Don't be afraid to get guerrilla.

Use your social networks to spread the word out. I do caution you to not rely solely on that though. That could leave you with some serious disappointment since people really prefer to connect with a performer. You yourself would be 10 times more likely to see someone perform if they gave you a personal written or face to face invitation than if they sent you a facebook invite. Facebook invitations are easy to be looked at as junk mail if you are not already aware of an event. Let the people know what you have brewing then send reminders.

Use your social networks to spread the word out. I do caution you to not rely solely on that though. That could leave you with some serious disappointment since people really prefer to connect with a performer. You yourself would be 10 times more likely to see someone perform if they gave you a personal written or face to face invitation than if they sent you a facebook invite. Facebook invitations are easy to be looked at as junk mail if you are not already aware of an event. Let the people know what you have brewing then send reminders.


4. Get There Early

Once you have all of your equipment packed away, make sure you leave in enough time that you are not just on time but early. In this case being on time really means you are late. Just being on time does not allow you to do the things you need to do when you get to the venue. One of the biggest things you need to account for is the time you will need to setup your equipment. Sometimes this step takes no time at all and the venue provides everything but if this is not the case for you for your next show then you'd be best leaving time for it.

If setting up your equipment is not an issue than think of the universal rule that anything that can go wrong will. There will always be something that happens. My band really likes when we play in the Pocono's. We get to get out of New York and New Jersey for a night, play some music and not have to worry about lugging around a PA system because the venues we play at over there have them built in.

The catch seems to be that every time we head over there it rains. Often times it is monsoon like weather and it just feels like the worst! We have to drive ridiculously slow on narrow winding roads then put on game faces and think sunny thoughts before we get out of our cars and settle into the venue. So know there is and will always be something! Make extra time for it and make extra time for...

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