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

Pat A Flafla

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I did a no-booze daytime family-type gig once with a good singer who occasionally got out of control at regular bar gigs. He said it was brutal. I told him it was the best he ever sounded (the truth), and he just wouldn't believe it.

But muh substances...

Hey, I'm drinking right now, so I'm not a T-Totaler or anything. I just don't drink on the job at all. When people bring shots, if they're not well garbage or a college kid candy shot I save them behind the kit for load out. If it's junk, I give it to the bass player and drink scotch or a high % stout at home, haha.
 
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JazzDrumGuy

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I am the drummer for a "school of rock" type band made up only of kids (age 8-18) on acoustic guitars (and the occasional electric guitar). My 12 y.o. plays acoustic in the group for 4+ years. There are some volunteer adult teachers (including myself) and once in a while, we have an adult teacher on bass. Mostly just acoustic guitars, though. Gigs range from 100 people in a museum/library to street festivals with thousands of people! Great exposure for the kids, teaches them playing in a group, getting up in front of a crowd, etc. Somehow I transitioned from guitar teacher to the house drummer. It's a fantastic experience jamming with the kids (and my own, and now my 8 y.o. has joined). It is NOT about you, of course. It is about the kids, and supporting the band. We play surf music, Americana, blue grass, blues, pop and some Xmas music for our holiday programs.

My tips:
1) It's hard sometimes without a bassist. I sing the bass melodies in my head to keep time. In the few gigs I've had with the bassist present (he is fantastic), just lock into him. Both of you need to be playing together and in the same groove. I rely on the guitar teachers in front to know the beat and where the song is and the band swarms along, sometimes faster and sometimes slower, but they will all get in line by the 2nd or 3rd song.
2) KNOW the songs! You keep the time. You need to be as solid as possible within the song and the playing ability of the band. It helps if you get a say in the arrangement. We play The Lion Sleeps Tonight and it's very hard for me with that funky rhythm in the original song. However, having rehearsed it many times, I've converted it into a reggae feel and it's so much easier to play for me (I'm a ex-reggae band bassist, too) and hence I can lock into the groove easily and confidently.
3) Do NOT overplay. I lay back as much as I can. I get a little bit of spotlight on Wipeout only because of the song, but we start in 1/2 time and then crank up to full time at the end and the crowd goes wild. On some of the Americana tunes, I am just doing a basic groove with HH, bass, tambourine shaking and cross stick (or brushes), and I just try to concentrate on a basic groove pattern, and dynamics to not overpower the song or attract attention to me. It is not about over the top solos and being flashy.
4) I don't know your age, but it sounds like you are younger. I've been around the block so I don't get the nervous/stage freight thing. There is no liquor or drugs involved on my end as we are playing with kids under 18. We get big applause everywhere we go because everybody loves the kids, which is great for their self esteem. I don't like the band intro section of the gig because I don't like the spotlight on me at all or getting any of the credit - I let the kids have it. I take pride in the fact that I get to gig 8-10X/year, play some fun venues/events, my dude jams with me, and I am spreading the gift of music to the kids......it's a win-win.

So good luck and you will be great! Let us know how it goes......
 

Cauldronics

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The best advice I can offer is: don't lose the beat, stop or start over. If things go off the rails here and there, simplify your part until you can hear the band getting it together again. Even if you just play quarter notes with kick on 1 and 3, snare on 2 and 4, that'll give everyone a reference of where they need to be in the song. It might help to crash on the 1 every 4 bars too, in that situation. But try not to assume the band will mess up. Go in thinking you're going to kick ass and you'll do a lot better!

First gigs are the best chance you'll have to learn a whole lot at once about playing live in a band. Whatever happens, it'll be invaluable.
 

Pat A Flafla

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The best advice I can offer is: don't lose the beat, stop or start over. If things go off the rails here and there, simplify your part until you can hear the band getting it together again. Even if you just play quarter notes with kick on 1 and 3, snare on 2 and 4, that'll give everyone a reference of where they need to be in the song. It might help to crash on the 1 every 4 bars too, in that situation. But try not to assume the band will mess up. Go in thinking you're going to kick ass and you'll do a lot better!

First gigs are the best chance you'll have to learn a whole lot at once about playing live in a band. Whatever happens, it'll be invaluable.
There was this one bass player a long time ago who would get off the beat and get stuck there when he got too fancy. I would simplify the beat, and even hit ONE real hard while shouting it, but the only thing I could do was to get the rest of the band to flip to his beat. I do not miss that band at all.
 

dyland

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Regardless of what y'all do on your gigs, I think "no booze" is a good piece of blanket advice for the 14 year old who started this thread.

That said, I do not imbibe on the gig. After? Sure. Not knocking on those who do, but I personally am a better drummer when my motor functions and perception of time are unadulterated.
 

Stickclick

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Now we have ANOTHER singer who doesn't know the songs very well.
I tell new singers, if you can't remember the words then just make something up. Lots of times that works.

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.
Stay with the beat. If necessary, change to a simple beat that the band can follow. If you know the words to the songs, sing them. Your voice will guide the band.

Practice with the singer and rhythm guitarist if you can. Rhythm guitar provides a continuation that a singer might follow.

Other musicians will be watching and listening to your performance. They may be looking for a drummer for their bands. One step leads to another. The first gig is scary but every famous musician went this way.

Wear sunglasses on stage. Sunglasses make the audience less distracting and reduce the stage lights shining on you. Listen to the sound, let the sound be your guide.
 

Drm1979

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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!
Your best bet is to do what was said earlier. Lock in with the bass player and rhythm guitar parts. If at all possible you and the bass player should try to get together just the 2 of you to run through your parts together until you 2 play like a well oiled machine. I speak from experience. In my younger days of playing I was in an 8 piece ska punk band and we always had trouble retaining horn players as they were constantly involved in various projects. So the horn parts would change from time to time. But my bass player and I would get together to run our parts without any other interference and we received several compliments on how locked in we were. And our horn players would pull back in if they got off from the main parts due to us keeping the time locked down.
 

NoMotivationDrummer

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I tell new singers, if you can't remember the words then just make something up. Lots of times that works.

Other musicians will be watching and listening to your performance. They may be looking for a drummer for their bands. One step leads to another. The first gig is scary but every famous musician went this way.

Wear sunglasses on stage. Sunglasses make the audience less distracting and reduce the stage lights shining on you. Listen to the sound, let the sound be your guide.
Thanks for the tip about the sunglasses!

The singer has obviously practiced a lot in the week between our rehearsal dates as she is much better now. She knows the words to all the songs and can sing them relatively well.
 

RIDDIM

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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.
- When you're on a gig, your job is to play the music to the very best of your ability. Give the music what it needs. One thing it needs is your complete attention. If you do that, you won't be thinking about anything else. Thinking about stage fright or who is in the audience is irrelevant. Prepare well, focus, and play the music as well as you can. That's your job. Be ready and do what needs doing. You'll be fine.
 

NoMotivationDrummer

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Hey friends!

Looks like the gig is off...

One of our band members tested positive for COVID 19 and now I've been feeling petty sick. I got tested yesterday and I am awaiting results. With this new development, our show could be in jeopardy. This sucks. I spent 5 months of my life preparing for this gig for absolutely nothing. This just makes me angry. I know it's not anyone's fault, but I am incredibly angry as this was my first gig and it was supposed to be an amazing time. We still don't know if the gig is off or not, but judging by the state of things, the gig is either going to be delayed, or our band won't be able to play in the gig.

Can y'all see where I'm coming from?
 

Pat A Flafla

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Hey friends!

Looks like the gig is off...

One of our band members tested positive for COVID 19 and now I've been feeling petty sick. I got tested yesterday and I am awaiting results. With this new development, our show could be in jeopardy. This sucks. I spent 5 months of my life preparing for this gig for absolutely nothing. This just makes me angry. I know it's not anyone's fault, but I am incredibly angry as this was my first gig and it was supposed to be an amazing time. We still don't know if the gig is off or not, but judging by the state of things, the gig is either going to be delayed, or our band won't be able to play in the gig.

Can y'all see where I'm coming from?
That is terribly disappointing, but it WAS NOT for nothing. You don't lose the improvement you worked for just because the show is off. Practice is like work. You built up some chops (the currency of practice) and now you can carry it forward and use it toward another show in the future.
 

JazzDrumGuy

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We all want gigs but safety is priority.....just take care of yourself and when you are better, get back on the throne.......
 

Redbeard77

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I know you're disappointed, but your preparation was definitely not for nothing! Whether your first gig is next week, next month or even later, you have that foundation to build on. Look at the bright side, if the gig is delayed it gives your group even more time to tighten things up.
 

RIDDIM

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Hopefully, you will test negative. And if you test positive, hopefully, you'll pull through ok.

We've all lost gigs because of factors beyond our control. Frustrating they are, but the sun will come up tomorrow. There will be other gigs.
 

Stickclick

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One of our band members tested positive for COVID 19 and now I've been feeling petty sick. I got tested yesterday and I am awaiting results. With this new development, our show could be in jeopardy. This sucks. I spent 5 months of my life preparing for this gig for absolutely nothing. This just makes me angry. I know it's not anyone's fault, but I am incredibly angry as this was my first gig and it was supposed to be an amazing time. We still don't know if the gig is off or not, but judging by the state of things, the gig is either going to be delayed, or our band won't be able to play in the gig.

Can y'all see where I'm coming from?
This is different. This is COVID. Do not play the gig for at least three weeks. Two musicians in my area died in part because of COVID. They had heart problems also. Let the disease clear out of the band and don't put the audience in jeopardy.

There is always another gig to play.
 

NoMotivationDrummer

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Show is still on apparently...

They are not delaying the show at all. I have recovered from my sicknesses which was in fact NOT COVID. I am assuming that the other band member is fine an has recovered. Our show is still a good 2 weeks out, so everyone should be cleared by then. There is a limited audience of only 4 guests per band member. If I choose to stream the show, I will send yall a link.

Thanks for all the help.
 

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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.
This is bad advice, IMO! Don’t drink and play, don’t drink and drive!
 

NDdrummer13

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Theres a lot of good advice here. I have played many live shows over the past 30(ish).....(Dear God I feel old typing this) years. Lock in with the bass player and do the best you can keeping time/tempo.......and no matter what happens DONT STOP TILL THE SONGS OVER. Most important Have fun. We ALL have the first gig. Enjoy it and I hope there are many more to come for you.
 


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