J.P. Kallio’s Musician Quick Tips Pt. 17
by J.P. Kallio
Here are this week’s musician quick tips, part 17.. In my nearly two decades as a full time musician I have learned a thing or two about this business. I also have become very fast at assessing what works and what does not when it comes to promoting, recording and performing your music.
These quick tips are simple actions that you can put to use straight away
Also you check out my full blog for more HERE:
Day three of live performance quick tips. This one s something we all forget in the heat of the moment. Keep calm. Things will go wrong during live shows, but you need to keep a cool head. There will be sound issues, there will be drunken members of the audience, strings will break, drum sticks will break.
What will separate you from the amateurs is your ability to keep calm. When things go wrong, don’t let it show, pretend like nothing happened. If you get all flustered, all you are going to do is let your self get distracted and the audience will pick up on this.
Keeping a cool head will not always be easy, in the middle of the chaos, but with time you will learn to do this. A Good start is always to take a deep breath, before reacting.
Treat every show seriously
OK lets face it, it can feel pretty crap turning up at a gig you have been looking forward to for a while now, and there is only handful of people in the audience. But those handful of people turned up, should they suffer just because you feel disappointed about the turnout? After all they made the effort to turn up.
Treat every show seriously. No matter if you are playing to two or two thousand people. There is nothing more disrespectful than looking like you don’t care during a show, just because you are not playing to a full house. Always give act professional, always give the best performance you can. And treat every audience, no matter how small with respect. In fact, you can even turn a small show to your advantage by going after the show and shake hands with everyone in the audience and thank them for coming to the show. I bet those few people will remember you for it years to come.
If you want to be a professional, act like it. Your audience, no matter how small is the reason you get to play music,so value them. Treat every show seriously.
Don’t disturb the guy talking to the microphone
So to wrap up a week of quick tips on performing live, here’s a one I keep repeating over and over again, and it drives me mad when I need to do this. If a band member is talking to the audience over the microphone, do not try to comment on what they are saying, do not try to throw in a smart comment, and damn sure do not try to correct them. This is extremely distracting.
Talking to an audience in a fluid effortless sounding way, takes time to learn to do. Most of us get hit by a stage fright from just the tough of it. And having someone try to talk to you in a mid sentence, will stop your flow. But the audience don’t necessarily hear the comment, all they see is the person talking to the microphone stumbling in their words. And yes this will make not only the person talking on the microphone, but your whole band look unprofessional.
Sure you should have fun, but the audience is not interested in inside jokes. First of all, be professional and conduct your work professionally. There is plenty of time for the fun after the job is done.
And don’t get me started on arguing on the stage! But that is a blog post for another day
Let’s face it, recording studio time is expensive. As soon as you walk in to the studio, the bill starts running. There is a reason for this as well. You see quality recording equipment is expensive. Even though you can buy a nice home recording setup these days for a fraction of the price from what it would have been let’s say twenty years ago. But even more so, a great studio engineer is an artist in their own right.
But when you go to recording studio, you should be prepared. When you are paying by the hour, you should not be working on the arrangements. All this should be done in the pre-production. Get some basic home recording software on your computer and demo all the songs you are going to record in he studio. Work out all the arrangements in these demos. When you are going in to the studio, you are going to reproduce those demos in a professional quality.
Whether you’re recording a demo to try to get some shows, an E.P. or a full album, you need to be smart. There is no point in blowing a massive budget. Be smart and get your pre-production done properly. And don’t forget, studio is not a place to practice new stuff. Make sure you are able to play that “mind-blowing” guitar solo in your sleep, before you go to record it.
Prepare your instruments for the studio
Yesterday I talked about how pre-production can save you money in the recording studio. Another thing you need to do before going to studio, is to make sure your instruments are in the best possible condition.
Guitar and bass players, make sure your instruments intonation is set properly. If you are in doubt, it might be a time to get your instrument serviced. Make sure your frets are in good shape, there are no buzz anywhere on the fretboard. If you play acoustic guitar, make sure there are no broken string ends inside the body rattling around. And last but not least, fresh set of strings on the instrument and spare for the studio.
Drummers, if it is an important recording, fresh skins might be in order. Make sure your drums are well tuned and there is no nasty overtones. Also your kick drum pedal should not have any squeaks, this will sound nasty on the recording. And the most obvious, have enough fresh drum sticks to get you through the recording session.
Last but not least, singers make sure you are well rested. Stay off dairy products on the day of recording. Warm up your voice, and no drinking of alcohol or partying the night before.
As I mentioned before, Studio time is expensive and you are there to do a job. Act professionally and get the job done.