They say hindsight is 20/20 and I certainly agree when I look back at my early years as a performing singer. It never occurred to me then that I was totally unprepared when I arrived at rehearsals or gigs. In this blog post, I’ll help you be sharp and professional at your gigs by applying a well-known Boy Scout motto.
Always be Prepared
On many occasions when I was asked to sing, my mind would go blank while I fumbled around trying to think of an appropriate song for the circumstance. Has that ever happened to you? It doesn't present a very professional image at an audition or jam session to be fumbling around because you have been asked to sing more than you expected. After enough of these embarrassing experiences, I expanded my definition of professionalism to embrace the ability to perform well even with little or no notice.
I decided that being a professional included being prepared anytime someone asked me to sing. This meant having a list of possible songs including one or two that I could sing a cappella if there was no accompaniment. Using my imagination to envision various situations where I might be asked to sing with little or no preparation, I assembled a versatile repertoire and a list of accessories I would take to auditions, rehearsals, gigs and even social occasions where I might be asked to sing. This evolved into the Gig Bag.
What's a Gig Bag?
Any kind of bag or case will serve as long as it is large enough to hold everything you may need when you go out to sing. You'll use it when going to jam sessions, open mic nights, rehearsals, auditions and performances or whenever you might be called upon to sing. By keeping your gig bag packed and conveniently stored at home or in your car, you'll be prepared to rush off with last minute notice and not forget important accessories like a microphone, sheet music or lyric book.
Gig Bag Checklist
Personalize this checklist to suit your needs.
- Lyric book - each song's lyric sheet should note the key you sing it in.
- Sheet music or chord charts with extra copies for each band member
- Audio copies of your repertoire on a mobile device for practice or to help instrumentalists learn songs
- Copies of your Set List
- Your favorite vocal warm-up exercises on mobile device
- A mobile playback device and headphones
- A charge cord for your playback device
- A microphone matched to your voice and a mic cable
- Your vocal effects pedals - such as the TC Helicon VoiceLive 3 Extreme
- Thayer's natural Dry Mouth Spray or lozenges
- Bottles of water
- Pencils and erasers for making changes to chord charts
- Ear plugs (if you're playing with a loud band)
- Extra batteries
- Your business cards
- CDs of your recorded music for sale or promotion
- Digital camera for any photo opportunities
on July 13, 2015 at 4:24 PM said:Jeannie, this is a great reminder. I've been doing a few of these things but not as prepared with all that is on your list. I had the privilege of singing at two private parties this summer. I was fairly prepared but must expand my gig bag. Thank you! Dana Manzella
on July 14, 2015 at 12:57 AM said:What excellent advice. I had not thought of a quarter of your suggestions. Thank you very much Jeannie.
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