You’ve finally done it! You have managed to land your first real BIG gig, the gig that is going to take your singing career to the next level, and you could not be happier…
Until you realise that professional gigs often require an awful amount of preparation.
A two hour set-list full of songs that you barely even recognise, three part harmony on every track, choreography, costume/outfit changes, entrances and exits… and you have to do it all in high heels. Feeling the pressure?
These kinds of gigs are out there, and they’re the kind of gigs that us singers want to strive towards, because they’re often the most high-profile and the most rewarding. But what can you do to handle the stress of so much to learn when you need to make a good impression?
1.Do your research
Knowledge is power. Research the artist you’re working with, look into the history of the music; the writers, the original recording artists, world events at the time of the songs release… although this may seem like unnecessary extra work, having an in-depth knowledge of the material can make the world of difference when it comes to piecing a show like this together. Know where your part fits, and you’ll fit right in.
2. Start with your weakest areas
Do you have two left feet? Your first port of call is to hammer that choreography until it becomes as second nature as brushing your teeth. Not very good at picking out harmonies? Break down those harmonies and repeat them until your part is the only thing that stands out. Do you have a terrible sense of direction? Walk through those costume changes, entrances and exits until you can do it with your eyes closed. It’s tempting to focus on parts where you shine, but it’s the uncomfortable bits that will take the most work, so get those out of the way first, and the rest is a breeze.
3. Be organised
It may sound obvious, but a gig that’s three months away comes around damn quick, so don’t put off all of your preparation until the week before. Tackle it in bite-size chunks and your brain will digest everything much quicker.
4. The power of background music
One of the most effective ways to learn a lot of songs is to listen to them a lot, funny enough… but this doesn’t always have to mean sitting at your desk, staring at hundreds of pages of lyrics feeling like you want to cry. Take the set list on your iPod to the gym, on the train, in the car… have it playing when you’re in the shower, cooking dinner, getting ready in the morning… Our subconscious is a powerful tool, and using it can help you learn a bulk of material quicker than you might think!
5. Prepare for the distractions of opening night
Rehearsing and learning your parts is stressful enough, but the actual gig itself can throw all sorts of curveballs at you that may throw you off. Be sure to break in your outfit and heels early, practise actually moving with a microphone in hand, get used to the feeling of working with in-ear monitors and having a receiver pack strapped to your underpants (believe me, it can be off putting)… Avoid letting anything insignificant throw you off just before your big moment by mentally preparing yourself for the challenge.
These are my top tips from my experiences of many of these types of gigs, and I hope they have helped you in some way!
Now get on that
stage and show ‘em what you’re