10 Tips for a successful Open Mic Night

These tips will help you with the next Open Mic Night!

An Open Mic Night is great for many reasons – it allows musicians, comedians and other artists to test their new material, to practice, to meet other artists, to get new ideas and to get their name out. There are certain things you can do to get the most out of this event. Here are some things that will improve your experience (and that of everyone else):

open mic night

  • Get in touch with the organizer before going to the show. It is crucial that you understand what the rules are and what equipment can be used. E.g. if you’re a drummer, ask before if the stage is big enough for drums or, in alternative, it is possible to bring other percussions (e.g. a cajon).
  • Get there early. Nothing slows down the flow of the night, if you’re setting up your guitar pedals seconds before your performance. After you contacted the organizer and assured that you’re allowed to use certain technical equipment, get there early and set it up before the show starts.
  • Always ask. Wanna change the volume of your voice on the mixer? Then ask the sound technician or organizer, if it can be changed. Don’t just play around with the mixer yourself. It is unpolite, and if something happens (feedback etc.) you’ll be held responsable. Also, you don’t wanna piss off the organizer, do you?
  • Don’t apologize yourself before starting the performance. It is normal that you might be nervous before your show, especially if you’re not used to perform in front of an audience. But if you’re nervous, you’ll make the audience nervous, too and your performance will suffer. It is ok to have stage fright – you don’t need to point it out, though. Very often you’ll be surprised that even though you feel stage fright, many people don’t even notice it.

open mic night

  • Get that instrument in tune before going on stage. People came to see the performances on stage – they’re usually not interested in instruments getting tuned on stage, so don’t annoy them.
  • Show must go on – many things can happen on stage. Maybe a string breaks. Maybe the PA system fails. Whatever happens, keep on going – unless there’s a fire breaking out.
  • Bring your CDs and promotional material. An Open Mic is great for connecting with others – it’s a shame if you loose that opportunity to network.
  • Don’t take over the stage. While it sure is stimulating to be on stage, don’t forget that there are other musicians as well. If you’re abusing your stage time, you’ll only piss of the owners and steal time off the other artists.
  • Record yourself. If you have the chance, film your performance. Both the audio and video will give you valuable feedback on your skills as a performer. There are many affordable devices now that record great audio and video (such as the Zoom H1 or newer models), and if you want to improve, that’s the way to go.
  • Share and be friendly. Don’t just use the Open Mic to show off in front of your friends or to satisfy your Ego. Make new friends, stay friendly with everyone. Don’t abuse your privilige to be on stage and who knows, if the owner of the venue likes you and your music, you might even get a gig in there!

If you feel like there are some tips missing or if you want to add something to the tips above (or if you disagree with some aspects), leave us a comment! Soon we’ll write an article about 10 Tips for running a succesful Open Mic Night, which will address anyone who would like to start their own Open Mic!



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2 thoughts on “10 Tips for a successful Open Mic Night

  1. Alessandro

    I would add: don’t come 5 minutes before playing and leave immediately after. How would you feel do perform on scene without public? Like it or not an open mic is about sharing experiences and not about showcasing: take it or leave it.
    I once was in an open mic in Madrid where musicians where drinking their own bottles outside the hosting pub waiting to perform qnd they left just after playing on scene…how mean!

    1. openmicrome

      I agree. It sort of feels like those people that walk into your restaurant just to use the bathroom.

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