In Praise of Horrible Gigs

Every once in a while, I will have a horrible gig. For some reason, my fingers won’t move or my organ might sound terrible.

Bad gigs can be very discouraging to the point where they may make you want to quit music forever! But I’ve learned to view them as a learning opportunity:

When you have a great gig, what did you learn? You probably did everything right, had a great time, and went home to proclaim to your family, “I had a great gig!”. End of story.

Bad gigs are a golden opportunity to learn lessons. Here are some things that I’ve learned from bad gigs:

1. Bring a backup instrument
2. Keep dynamics between pp and mp
3. Leave plenty early for a gig. I aim to get places an hour and a half early, because you never know what’s going to happen, and something usually does. Getting to a gig early enough will allow you to solve nearly any problem
4. Prepare set list
5. Have a sound check, no matter how brief
6. Have a signed contract (if the gig pays enough to warrant one)
7. Check everyone’s amp placement to make sure they are not placed in weird or dead acoustic spots in the room.

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