I'm really excited (and nervous) for my first gig.

NoMotivationDrummer

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Hey all! I am going to do a gig with school of rock later this February. I am really excited to finally get to play for an audience, but I am also terrified that I will screw up and make my bandmates look bad. I have been practicing a lot and it is getting closer and closer to the date of my gig

I keep on messing up during band rehearsals due to constant changes in singer. Our first singer was a School of Rock staff member, then we got another girl to sing for us, but she never showed up and eventually dropped out. Now we have ANOTHER singer who doesn't know the songs very well.

I tend to listen for vocal queues when drumming and It's hard to play for me. When the singer loses tempo, I lose tempo, and the band loses tempo. I feel like it's my fault that the band messes up certain parts.

What is really infuriating is that the band director tells me to "learn the parts". I have already learned the parts! I have been practicing for this gig since early October and I don't know the parts? I can't blame the singer as she had to join incredibly late into our practice sessions so I guess it's on me.

Does anyone have any tips on how to lower stress for this upcoming gig? I feel like it's my fault the band doesn't sound great. It is really frustrating and I would like some tips.
 

Redbeard77

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You say you've learned the parts, that's the biggest thing! It's natural to take cues from the singer, but if she's unreliable that makes it even more important for you to lock in with the bass and guitar players to set and keep the tempo. I bet she's even more nervous than you since she's up front, so if you can lay the foundation with those guys it will make things easier for everyone.
 

NoMotivationDrummer

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I bet she's even more nervous than you since she's up front, so if you can lay the foundation with those guys it will make things easier for everyone.
Yeah, I can't imagine being the singer for a rock band. It would be so embarrassing for me if I messed up a part. I would probably die. Like, when we play welcome to the jungle, the singer will sometimes sing about a half measure off. Of course, I can't judge as I'm a pretty terrible singer. Like I said, I don't blame her. I know it's hard to be pulled into another band less than a month from the show. All my blessings go out to that singer!
 

dyland

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I'm a Music Director at a School of Rock and have put on over 20 shows since 2014, so trust me when I say, you're going to do fine! And I'm not just saying that blindly to boost your confidence, it's coming from direct experience. Your first show is filled with unknowns, especially considering this singer situation, but based on your post I can make two assumptions pretty safely: 1.) you love music, and 2.) you practice. Those two factors are all you really need to be successful in the Performance Program. Once you get this show under your belt you're going to become addicted to playing on a stage and the nerves will be converted into excitement.

As far as dealing with an inconsistent singer, you may have to leave her in the dust. It's always helpful to be able to "save" a singer and adjust your pulse to theirs, however in a situation where the singer themselves is floundering around without a pulse, you're better off sticking to your own time. The rest of the band is listening to you and will follow you wherever you take them. If you're chasing a singer, and the band is chasing you, all of a sudden you've got a game of rhythmic telephone happening and it's no good for anybody. It sounds like you know the song forms. Just stick to those and let the singer do her thing. She needs to learn how to sing with a band too and ultimately the experience will benefit her.

Remember, the School of Rock mantra is that we don't teach music to put on shows, we put on shows to teach music. Even if you go out there and lay a giant goose egg, it's all good! It's your first of many, many, many gigs. Just the fact that you're gonna get up there and count off tunes is an accomplishment. I look forward to hearing how the show goes! If you're live streaming the gig then drop a link in this thread, I'd love to check it out.

We have our seasonal show tomorrow. Motown and Metal. It's gonna be a blast.
 

NoMotivationDrummer

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If you're live streaming the gig then drop a link in this thread, I'd love to check it out.

We have our seasonal show tomorrow. Motown and Metal. It's gonna be a blast.
Thanks for all the advice! I can't wait to get on stage and bang some drums. I absolutely love drumming and I plan to gig as much as I can. I will be sure to let you know if we're streaming the gig.

Our show is mostly rock. I am in the Guns N Roses and Velvet Revolver part of the show. I cant wait!
 

CC Cirillo

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Welcome!

With young players like you around, I think the future of music is going to be just fine.

I’ll confess that I’ve been doing this a long time and I still get pretty nervous. The thing is I’ve learned to rename it. I’ve learned to take that energy and turn it into the beginnings of a superpower. I’m not nervous: I’m excited! And exciting things are fun. Sounds like you already know that, so right there you are decades ahead.
It also seems you are doing your homework. Rock and Roll is a big bulldozer and you’re the pistons. Knowing your parts and playing them the best you can is all you can do to make the band sound good. Your bandmates share in that responsibility. That right there can help lower some stress.
When playing a cover I also never expect it to sound just like the real band. It can’t, but it can sound like an amazing version of you playing that song.
Another thing I used to do while lying in bed just before sleep is I imagine I’m playing the show. I’m running through the set list in my head; I’m playing the gig in my mind and I’m visualizing playing it well. I’m feeling good. This helped me prepare to execute my parts but it also allowed me to visualize that I’m going to have fun. Players having fun tend to play better.

If you can impart joy and energy into your playing, make the song feel good, mission accomplished. You have rocked. It’s infectious, too. The band feels it, and that moves to the audience.

Regarding the audience: I try not to fixate too much on them. That sour look you seen on the cute girl’s face. Maybe the person next to her farted.

Sometimes I’ve had to pump up my band before a gig. “We are going to kill it guys! I love playing with you.” While I’m supporting them I’m convincing myself as well. Rock and Roll is a team sport.

Lastly, you know, everybody makes mistakes. It’s okay. Everybody drops sticks. Everybody has missed a cue. Or come out of fill a little sloppy. Let go of the mistakes and they will happen less and less. The key is: How do you react to your mistake or the band’s mistake? Just keep playing. Stay in your lane. Don’t make a face (and don’t make a face if a bandmate makes a mistake).


The fact that you are only 14 and playing a show and on the greatest drum forum in the history of the internet seeking advice: Dude, you’re amazing.

Would love to hear how it goes.
 

dyland

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Thanks for all the advice! I can't wait to get on stage and bang some drums. I absolutely love drumming and I plan to gig as much as I can. I will be sure to let you know if we're streaming the gig.

Our show is mostly rock. I am in the Guns N Roses and Velvet Revolver part of the show. I cant wait!
Have a blast dude!

Oh yeah, audition for House Band when you get the chance.

If you have any SoR-specific questions feel free to PM me.
 

TonyVazquez

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I was just like you when I did my first gig: nervous.
Only difference was that I danced and sang to a record (Andy Gibb "Shadow Dancing")
in front of the summer camp audience and their parents and camp staff, a few hundred
people during a talent show; and I won 2nd Place. I was 12yo.

My first band came at age 15, I played guitar/bass in a Christian rock band for our church.
We played at Christian youth rallies around the east coast as we visited other congregations.
I was very nervous, but every gig turned out awesome.

My first band/gig as a frontman was in my mid 20s, for a hardcore metal band
formerly known as Bitter, in Los Angeles, circa early 90s.
We played the Hollywood club scene. I was really nervous, but I wore out
my Henry Rollins influence quite well, LOL.

My first band/gig as a Drummer came when I was in my mid 20s, in a thrash-metal band
in Los Angeles around the early 90s. We played the metal underground backyard scene.
I was extremely nervous for my first show with the band... but I was certain
of one thing: the band had to stay in time with Me, not the other way around.
I played to the music, no fancy fills and tricks, just straight up grooving in the pocket.
I didn't care if the singer sounded like James Hetfield dunked head-first into a garbage can,
the rest of the band had to stay tight with Me the drummer.
And that is why they acquired me in the first place. I was the elder with some experience
whereas the band were just starting out, but they were good in practice.

YOU are a Drummer, You keep the time and the band must follow you...
...or at least the bassist must follow you.
As a drummer, I rely on vocal cues; but I also underscore every dynamic
and accent beneath the other band instruments. It keeps the band tight with me.
If the drummer sucks, the band sucks. Strive to be good, and you will ace every time.
Dave Grohl said it best: Without a Drummer like YOU, the band would suck.
But there will always be mistakes along the way, because you're only human.
Don't take it as weight on your shoulder, and don't let it go to your head;
wear it as a badge of Honor and Pride, be humble, and be ready for younger
aspiring drummers who will look to you for inspiration.

I wish I could go back to my younger years as a drummer knowing what I know now.
But it's all good. I feel your nervousness and excitement. Just wing it and have fun.
This won't be your first show. You'll have many more shows to come.
And who knows, your classmates may be seeking a drummer to start their own bands
and they'll find You right there ready to rock-n-roll.
It's a journey and a learning experience. Nothing else compares to that. :thumbup:
 

Pat A Flafla

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NO BOOZE!!!!!!!

Once you start depending on any substance to make you comfortable on stage, it becomes a necessary crutch no matter how many stage hours you log.

Would you run a race or drive the oval track after a beer? No matter how much better you think it makes you, and even if the others in your band dull their own senses and reflexes, mastering your nerves and playing unimpaired will make you the indispensable rock of the group. I follow Neil Peart's example: clean performance; plenty of scotch afterward.
 

Pat A Flafla

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Thanks for all the advice! I can't wait to get on stage and bang some drums. I absolutely love drumming and I plan to gig as much as I can. I will be sure to let you know if we're streaming the gig.

Our show is mostly rock. I am in the Guns N Roses and Velvet Revolver part of the show. I cant wait!
That sounds fun! I always look forward to any Appetite tunes that made it onto a setlist. One of my few gigs since the plague garbage had Night Train on it, so I celebrated by bringing a cowbell. (I'm usually a bit more spartan in my bar band setups.) Man, I pounded that thing so hard the stand walked several feet and I was glad for the wingspan I have.
 

drumstuff66

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Some great advice so far...I'd only add that when I feel like it might be dicey on a gig (no rehearsal gigs, sub gigs, "hey guys, let's try this one, I think I know it!" while on the gig, etc...) I will sometimes grab the bass player beforehand and say, "If things get weird look at me...". If you and him/her can maintain eye contact & lock in it might shore things up for everybody else if it starts to drift...

God luck and have fun!
 

chrisr777

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Focus on the band. The audience is just there. Don't look at particular faces. Not even the ones you know. At least for the first song. That first burst of a applause will feel very good. Maybe calm the butterflies a bit. My first "gig" was in a pit band for a play in Junior High School, so nobody was really looking at me. Made it a little easier. Of course, that was 45 years ago.
 

bassanddrum84

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One tip that helped me was learn the song start to finish. Practice it over and over until you can play it with no music. Then you can do it live and never half to worry about anyone throwing ya off. The singer in my band has bad hearing and gets off time here and there and it doesn’t phase me just learn my parts and if anyone messes up I’m still going. Not every show nor every song will ever be played perfect from the singer all the way to the drummer. Even the pros mess up time to time. Just sit back and have fun!!!!!
 

Pat A Flafla

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One tip that helped me was learn the song start to finish. Practice it over and over until you can play it with no music. Then you can do it live and never half to worry about anyone throwing ya off. The singer in my band has bad hearing and gets off time here and there and it doesn’t phase me just learn my parts and if anyone messes up I’m still going. Not every show nor every song will ever be played perfect from the singer all the way to the drummer. Even the pros mess up time to time. Just sit back and have fun!!!!!
I have a couple of related quips:
A) I like to say that my job is to make singers sound like they know what they're doing.
2) I did a couple years in a live karaoke band, and it wasn't too different from being in a regular band.
(Heyoooooooo)
 

bassanddrum84

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NO BOOZE!!!!!!!

Once you start depending on any substance to make you comfortable on stage, it becomes a necessary crutch no matter how many stage hours you log.

Would you run a race or drive the oval track after a beer? No matter how much better you think it makes you, and even if the others in your band dull their own senses and reflexes, mastering your nerves and playing unimpaired will make you the indispensable rock of the group. I follow Neil Peart's example: clean performance; plenty of scotch afterward.
I strongly disagree with this. I drink when I play it’s the only time I drink. I don’t get hammered I have a drink when setting up and one during our first set (90min) I play sober as well. Depends on the night. If the crowd is good and super fun I’ll have a drink or two. If I’m pulling three day weekend gigs sometimes two a day I won’t drink. Most of us play in bars with other people drinking. Offering shots and drinks to us. I think it’s depends on the person. I’ve never had one complaint in the past 16 years about my playing while Drinking from anyone. Some people can’t handle it. I’m not there every night to be a well oiled perfection machine. I’m there to have fun and put on the best darn show for people that come to see us. With playing every fri-sun all the way through Covid and for the past 4 years with this band I’d say we do a pretty good job as our asked back rate is 98% of the places we play. So again every person is different don’t preach don’t drink while playing. A lot of pro musicians drink when they play. Dave grohl, Taylor Hawkins, chad smith, literally tons of pro musicians drink while playing.
 
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hardbat

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You say that you rely on the singer for vocal cues. But the singer may be relying on you! If there's a tricky spot, maybe you can give her a cue.

That said, if the singer messes up the form, everyone's gotta adjust and go with the flow.
 

Pat A Flafla

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I strongly disagree with this. I drink when I play it’s the only time I drink. I don’t get hammered I have a drink when setting up and one during our first set (90min) I play sober as well. Depends on the night. If the crowd is good and super fun I’ll have a drink or two. If I’m pulling three day weekend gigs sometimes two a day I won’t drink. Most of us play in bars with other people drinking. Offering shots and drinks to us. I think it’s depends on the person. I’ve never had one complaint in the past 16 years about my playing while Drinking from anyone. Some people can’t handle it. I’m not there every night to be a well oiled perfection machine. I’m there to have fun and put on the best darn show for people that come to see us. With playing every fri-sun all the way through Covid and for the past 4 years with this band I’d say we do a pretty good job as our asked back rate is 98% of the places we play. So again every person is different don’t preach don’t drink while playing. A lot of pro musicians drink when they play. Dave grohl, Taylor Hawkins, chad smith, literally tons of pro musicians drink while playing.
Sure. The thing is that until you get into it, you don't know if rolling the gig booze dice will yield no adverse effects or a counterproductive dependency. Some people drink and drum OK, but we've all played with people who "need" the booze (or other substance) to play, but it makes them suck. Someone new to gigging is just better off not potentially becoming the clam factory nobody wants to gig with. I'm not suggesting seasoned musicians change their status quo, but there's no downside to fresh meat learning how to do it without booze.
 

bassanddrum84

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Sure. The thing is that until you get into it, you don't know if rolling the gig booze dice will yield no adverse effects or a counterproductive dependency. Some people drink and drum OK, but we've all played with people who "need" the booze (or other substance) to play, but it makes them suck. Someone new to gigging is just better off not potentially becoming the clam factory nobody wants to gig with. I'm not suggesting seasoned musicians change their status quo, but there's no downside to fresh meat learning how to do it without booze.
Agree for sure. I knew a guitarist that was so dependent upon alcohol that he’d pee himself on stage being so drunk and fall over and not finish the night. Those are the worse. As far as a fresh never gigging def don’t wanna test the waters anytime soon lol.
 


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