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Monday, November 7, 2011

Cover A Friend's Song

Very few of us will ever have one of our original songs 'covered' by anyone. It's a shame, because hearing somebody else's spin on your tune can be very cool indeed!

Why not trade songs with a friend? You learn their song and they learn yours.

Go to an open mic and play the songs 'live.' Bring friends that are familiar with your song.

It's a lot of fun. Try it this week!

Monday, October 10, 2011

If you love it, support it or lose it.

I often hear from musicians how much they love performing at the open mics and then I don't see them again for a month.

If an open mic doesn't draw a significant crowd each week, it is likely to be canceled by the venue management.

Why not put 'play at the open mic' as a weekly item on your personal calendar. It's a good thing!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Variety - Songs Outside the 'Zone'

If you're like me, when picking out which cover songs to learn, you tend to stick with one-primary genre. Mine is 'classic rock.'

A while back, I started adding songs from other genres and it really has come in handy at gigs.

I now have about a dozen 'country' songs and a few 'Sinatra-style' tunes that I pull out when the timing is right. It 'kills' every time!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Music Travel

Have you ever considered taking a trip to play music? I don't mean, 'getting the band back together,' but rather, planning a vacation with the intent of performing.

I do it all the time and it's very cool.

If you're a pro, you can pick a destination location, research live-music venues, and contact them directly about playing a gig while you're in-town.

Another great option is find the open mics near where you're staying.

Plan your trip around the performances and let everything else fall into place.

Another fun thing that enhances these kinds of trips is the keeping of a journal. It's fun to look back over the years at the various venues that I've played. Good times!

Monday, May 9, 2011


Music is such a personal expression that a lot of people don't want to let others influence their writing or their performance.

A number of folks have shared the joy of collaboration with me. I've tried it, and it has increased my enjoyment of writing and performing immensely.

The next time you get an idea for a new tune, invite a fellow musician/writer to help you 'flesh it out.' Enjoy the process and you'll be amazed at the end-result.

The next time you go to an open mic, reach-out to other musicians and invite them to perform with you.

It may take a little 'getting used to,' but I think you'll like it.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Vocal Harmony Technology

If you're a music performer 'purist,' please ignore this post.

Have you ever tried using vocal harmony technology? If not, I strongly suggest that you do.

I have a Digitech Vocalist Live-4 that I use at every gig. I love it!

You plug your mic and your guitar into the 'box' and then take one-output to the board. The 'box' analyzes both the chords you're playing and the notes your singing to create perfect vocal harmonies.

There is a wide variety of harmonies that can easily be selected via the foot switches. As many as four-harmony voices can be selected.

The 'box' also has a large number of effect options for your guitar.

When performing as a solo-act, I find that the vocal harmonizer gives me that 'little something' that enables me to change-up my sound throughout the performance. Keeping the audience engaged and interested is very important and this tool does the trick.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Indie Artists Use Open Mics To Build Fan-Base

Today's 'indie' musicians have a plethora of marketing tools at their disposal. The Internet provides a virtual ‘touch-point’ that allows for constant, on-going communication with their fans. But, the Internet is no substitute for personal contact.

Many ‘rising stars’ use live-music open mics to build their fan-base.

Jamie D., an Atlanta-based musician, frequently attends local open mics. He stated, “I’ve tripled my fan-base by working the open mic circuit. It’s the most effective method for meeting new people, gaining fans, and networking, that I can think of.”

The formula is simple; take the stage, give it your best, circulate through the crowd and trade ‘demo’ CDs for email addresses.

The net result is that the audience members have seen you perform, talked with you, and have your music to play in their car on the way home.

When artists take the time to cultivate new fans using this method, the new fans are more-likely to respond to email invitations to purchase music and to attend shows.

In today’s crowded indie music space, it’s critical to make a personal connection with fans. Open mics provide a music-centric, fun, environment where musicians can perform their original music, network with other musicians, and build their fan-base.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Open Mic Idea - Invite People to Perform With You

Next time you perform at an open mic, which I hope is soon, try inviting your fellow musicians to perform with you.

Pick out the best guitarist to play lead and pick a great vocalist to back you up on the harmonies. If there's a harp player, percussionist, or drummer in the crowd, invite them to join the fun.

Choose a 'standard' that everyone will know.

This exercise will provide you with the following benefits:

  • You'll make new friends
  • The crowd is more likely to listen when they see a new configuration on stage
  • If you're new to the open mic, the 'regulars' will be more accepting
  • You'll have more fun
I've seen this in action for years. It's a winner!