How To Nail Your First Show As A Bassist

First shows can be rough. Not only do you have no idea what to expect, but nerves are likely running crazy and you’re stressed out about how the performance will turn out. This is totally normal and perfectly fine, but you’ll still want to play the best show as possible. Let’s go over some things to know before, during, and after your performance and see if we can relieve some of that pressure! 

Before The Show

El Khroub Actually Know Your Music

This one is obvious, but you should know your music by heart before the show. You shouldn’t be spending time before the show memorizing the music you’re about to play. By the time the show comes, you should be able to play the music perfectly without even thinking about it – it should just come naturally to you. Use Time Before The Show To Talk With Your Bandmates

Instead of desperately memorizing your music, time before the show should be spent calming yourself down and discussing stuff over with your bandmates, such as the setlist and any extras you guys have planned. You should have a solid idea on how the course of the show will pan out before you get on stage. Use the time before to show to figure that out, so you don’t have to waste the audience’s time doing so on-stage.

Bring Extra Equipment

There’s nothing more embarrassing than having to end a show early because a string broke, or your patch cord stopped working. You should always bring extra equipment with you in case of an emergency – this includes but is not limited to patch cords, tuners, and strings. If possible, you should even bring extra amplifiers and an extra bass. Yes, it’s more equipment you have to haul around, but you’ll thank me later if something ends up breaking during a show.

During The Show

Remember That Most People Aren’t Musicians

Most people that you perform for aren’t musicians, nor do they know your music as well as you know it. This means that they’re unlikely to notice small mistakes you make, despite the fact that they are extremely obvious to you. Instead of fretting about hitting the wrong fret, continue on with the music and pretend you never messed up. Even if you make a huge mistake, people will often forget quickly so long as you keep playing.

Even if there are other musicians in the crowd, they’re unlikely to be critical of you. They have been in the same shoes as you at one point, and chances are they’ve made huge mistakes with their first shows too. Nobody is perfect!

Stage Presence Is Almost Half The Show

Paul McCartney Performance GIF

Having fun, Paul?

To non-musicians, your band’s stage presence is almost equally as important as the music you play. It’s sad, but this is the reality for people that attend live performances. They want to see a show, not just listen to music (they could do that at home if they really wanted to!)

I highly recommend checking out the book “Stage Presence” which is available on Amazon for only $10. The book covers a lot of important stuff most musicians wouldn’t have thought about before, and let’s be honest – as a musician today, it’s important to utilize every advantage you can get. I see it as a great investment for performers.

The truth is, your audience can feel when you really get into your music. They can see when you enjoy playing, and they can tell when you’re not. Always have a smile on your face while you’re playing with your bandmates. Move around. Get into the groove. Which leads me to my next point…

Have Fun!

You’re in the spotlight for crying out loud! Showing off your hard work by performing is a lot of fun. Have fun, and your audience will have fun as well.

After The Show

Act Professionally

What do you want your band to be remembered for? Chances are, you want a good image. End the show and leave the stage professionally. Unless you know, screaming at the audience is the type of image you’re wanting to build.

Don’t Bash Yourself

Psychologically speaking, it’s been proven that people will think worse of you if you bash yourself. Likewise, they will think better of you if you praise yourself. Confidence and self-esteem go a long way, especially when people are supposed to form opinions on you. Additionally, nobody likes listening to you whine. Sorry!

That’s not to say you should go out of your way to convince people you’re awesome if you’re not (you don’t want to appear as egotistical or prideful) but you also shouldn’t go out of your way to bash yourself. It doesn’t amount to anything!

Stay For Other Bands

If there are other bands performing at the venue, be respectful and stay to watch them. Networking is extremely important in the music business and you’ll want to get on the ‘good list’ of as many musicians as possible. These are the people that are going to get you the opportunities you want as a musician.

Thank The Venue

If possible, thank the venue for the opportunity to play and ask about future performances if you wish. It should go without saying, but you must be respectful at all times. If you’re thanking the venue owner and the next band doesn’t, the owner is far more likely to remember you than the next guy.

Critique Yourself And Improve Next Time

Your first show will not be perfect, no matter how prepared you are. This is the truth for everybody. When you have time, review and critique the performance of yourself and your bandmates, and consider which areas you can improve for the next show. There is always room for improvement, and there is never any such thing as “good enough.”

Have Any Other Tips?

If you have any other tips regarding first shows or performances in general, we’d all love to hear them. Feel free to share your ideas using the comment box below. We look forward to hearing from you!

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