10 WAYS TO GIVE YOUR BEST PERFORMANCE AT A BROADWAY INSPIRED OPEN MIC NIGHT
With the Ghost Light Vocal Jam coming up in just a few weeks (July 21st at 7pm), I thought it’d be great to help you all feel prepared to give your best performance. Singing in front of people with an accompanist that you haven’t sang with before can be awesome and a little scary. Just like an audition! So, why not take control and get these 10 tips taken care of before you get there. And remember, the best way to get better at dealing with nerves is to get up, and get out, and SING in front of people. So, if you aren’t in SoCal for the Ghost Light Vocal Jam, get out and find somewhere to sing in your home town. If you can’t find anything like our Jam, CREATE SOMETHING! I guarantee there are others like you looking to get up and sing too!
1. KNOW EXACTLY WHERE AND WHEN IT IS HAPPENING
This seems so silly, but we often wait til the last min to figure out where we are going and then it becomes an extra added stress. The Ghost Light Vocal Jam is in Anaheim Hills at the Chance Theater, which is a little hard to find if you don’t know what you are looking for. If you have time, and you are close enough, I think driving by is a great idea. ALSO, notice what time the event starts, and then plan on being there early! (see the next tip)
2. ARRIVE EARLY
You might have noticed sign ups for the Vocal Jam start at 7pm and the doors don’t open til 7:30pm. BUT, in an open mic situation, securing a spot to sing is usually first come first serve. So, I would recommend arriving at least a half hour ahead of time if it’s your first time. What a bummer it would be if you put in loads of work to prepare a song and then you didn’t get to sing!
3. WEAR SOMETHING THAT MAKES YOU FEEL AWESOME!
This is a big one for me. Now, I know it’s not the most important thing about your performance, but if you feel good, chances are you’ll give off great energy that makes an audience want more. What you should wear to an open mic night will vary depending on the venue. However, in my opinion a broadway themed open mic night tends to be a little snazier than a singer/song writer open mic night. Don’t come in an evening gown or a tux, but a little bling never hurt. Feel your best and that’s what most important. (look for a more detailed post on this on Wednesday)
4. PREPARE MORE THAN ONE SONG
HUGE!!! SERIOUSLY!!! DO THIS!!! Imagine, you work your booty off prepping a song, you’ve followed all 10 steps in this post, you go to sign up and find out that someone else is already slated to sing your song. “WHAT!? HOW CAN THAT BE!? I thought I was the only one who really loved singing ‘LET IT GO!'” It doesn’t happen often, but it happens! Have a back up jic. Not only is there a chance that someone else might sing your song… the song you bring might be too hard for the accompanist. Or, maybe they have some weird issues with your song and won’t play it. You never know what might happen.
5. MAKE SURE YOUR MUSIC IS CLEARLY MARKED
We have a really great accompanist coming to play for us at our first Vocal Jam, Jennifer Schniepp. But, I can promise you this … no matter how great the accompanist is, they will not be able to read your mind. It is so important to mark your music clearly Use a highlighter, and go through it with them quickly before you sing like you would at an audition. Check out these posts which will help you know how to set your accompanist up for success…
6. MAKE SURE YOUR MUSIC IS IN THE RIGHT KEY
DON’T MAKE THIS MISTAKE! The fact you listened to the original recording, and purchased the “original key” online does not mean the music is the same! Singing a song that is too high or too low for you is such a bummer! You won’t know where to place the notes and you’ll end up switching ocataves all over the place. Be smart and get together with a voice teacher or friend who plays piano before you use a piece of music. OR… if you don’t have access to someone who plays, the Singers Musical Theater Anthologies are a really great resource and they are often sold with accompaniment CDs that are exactly the same as the sheet music. Here’s a link to purchase them on amazon. This is for the belter teen version, but if you go through this link, you’ll see others for different ages and voice types. (This is an affiliate link which means that I’ll get a small commission if you use this link – at no extra cost to you! : ) )
7. MAKE SURE YOUR MUSIC IS THE PROPER ARRANGEMENT
DO NOT MAKE THIS MISTAKE!!! (Do you see a pattern here?) This is another one that is so easy to control and if you don’t watch out for it, it can lead to disaster. So, let’s say you are so excited because you have the ORIGINAL SCORE for Thoroughly Modern Millie. You’ve seen the show several times and know it inside and out. You plan on singing “Not for the Life of Me” and you don’t even need to look a the music. It’s form the score and you are sure you know it. WRONG! The score has an extra verse that isn’t on the recording and is often left out of productions. If you get up there and sing the version from the Original Cast Recording with sheet music from the Original Score, you will be in BIG TROUBLE! Follow the advice in #6, or check out the singers musical theater anthologies! (Here’s my affiliate link for the Teen’s Bass/Baritone book.)
8. DO A FULL VOCAL WARM UP
You should be warming up every day anyway… but especially when you are going to perform! Not warming up is like kicking your face over and over again without stretching. Even if you can do it at the moment, your muscles will be mad at you later. Check out www.freeonlinevoicelessons.com and start clicking away at the video warm ups. Your voice will thank you!
9. INVITE FRIENDS
If you are just starting out as a performer… it’s not everyday that you have a place that people can come hear/see you on stage! AND, how awesome is it to have a group of people who love you cheering you on? Tell your friends that you’ll be singing at the open mic an invite them to come and watch – or sing too! One of the best things about living the life of a performer for so many years was the amazing group of friends that I met who are now like family to me. Start building that community now!
10. HAVE FUN!
This is always my number one rule. If you aren’t having fun while working as a performer. In my opinion, there is little point. It is so hard to work as a performer and takes such dedication. If you don’t love it – you need to step back and think about why you are doing it. Sometimes open mic nights can be a little weird because they audience members might be there just to hear a few select people, or even one person. They might not know how to follow proper theater etiquette and might end up talking through your song. DON’T LET IT GET TO YOU! Remember how lucky you are to be up their sharing your love for the stage with this audience. Remember that you can’t hear smiles and while there might be a Rude Rita out there yapping away, there is probably another audience member who is hanging on your every note loving the gift you are giving to the room. Seriously! And, if you are planning on singing at the Ghost Light Vocal Jam. Know that I will be there loving everything you are doing! It’s soooo hard to get up and give something that is truly yours to a room full of people. We are BRAVE and CRAZY! And, I wouldn’t want it any other way.
I’m so proud of you all and the fact that you are here pursuing your dreams and working your booties off! Don’t forget the most important bit of advice…