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Gigging Singer

By Jeannie Deva

Looking back over my early years as a performing singer, it is easy to see now what I failed to realize then: I was totally unprepared when I arrived at rehearsals or gigs. This month's tip will help you be sharp and professional at your gigs by applying a well-known Boy Scout motto.

Always be Prepared

There were so many occasions when I was surprised with a request to sing a song. 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. After enough of these embarrassing experiences, I decided that my definition of professional would embrace the ability to deliver an excellent performance even with little or no notice.

Professionalism

I decided that being a professional included being prepared anytime someone asked me to sing. It meant having a list of possible songs in a variety of styles 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?

This is any kind of bag or case that 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. A three ring binder makes it easy to add or subtract songs
  • Sheet music or chord charts with extra copies for each band member
  • Audio copies of your repertoire on CD or iPod for practice or to help band members learn songs
  • Copies of your Set List
  • Your favorite vocal warm-up exercises on CD or iPod
  • A playback device such as a CD player, iPod, iPad or iPhone
  • 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 VoiceLivePlay
  • 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
I usually bring along my favorite mic stand. Adapt the gig bag to your needs so that you're prepared to sing and sound good in any situation!

All the Best,
Jeannie Deva

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