WHEN TO GET OUT THERE AND START SHARING YOUR CRAFT AS A MUSICIAN
As i’ve switched my focus from producing, arranging, and accompanying, to performing as a solo artist I’ve had to ask myself “when is it time to get out there and start performing?” Although I’ve performed all over the world as an instrumentalist it doesn’t mean that I get to go right back to those same venues and perform as a vocalist/songwriter. In a sense, my new presentation demands that I start back at the beginning. One question I’ve had to ask myself is “when am I ready to start performing?” Here are my thoughts around this:
New endeavors, especially ones as vulnerable as singing for a crowd, can inspire fear. If you listen to this fear, the right time to start will never come. You will keep delaying until the pain of not starting becomes greater than the fear - and that may never happen. So how do you decide when it’s time? While the jist of my advice centers around starting on the sooner side - I want to add that starting too early can work against you. It can discourage you from wanting to try again or it can burn bridges with booking agents, venues, or audiences. That said, here is my answer:
EXPERIENCE IS THE BEST TEACHER. You will learn more and improve a lot faster from going out there and performing than you will from rehearsing and/or from practicing. Also, the more you are out there performing, the easier it will be to hone in on the things that you need to practice the most.
2. TAKE HALF A STEP INTO THE RING. You can find partial ways to start performing (ex: open mics, sit in on other peoples performances, perform for friends and relatives.)
3. PREPARE YOURSELF AND MAKE YOUR NEXT STEP EASY TO VISUALIZE. If you want to perform at a certain venue go there and watch someone else perform there. See what the audience is like. See what the stage is like. This will allow you to have the clearest vision possible of what it will be like when you perform there. Sometimes just seeing it is enough to make you feel prepared to do it yourself.
4. GET FEEDBACK. Find 1 or 2 trusted friends or family who will give you honest feedback that can help you. Be careful to choose people who support you on your goals and mission.
5. TRUST YOURSELF. The timing will never be perfect. Don’t expect to be perfect in the beginning. Bands like The Beatles and Phish played hundreds or even thousands of shows before they built the audience that they ultimately reached. You will have to go through a learning curve no matter when you start. Start when you are ready or even a little before you think you’re ready.