This week I’m all over the place. Monday I played in Winston-Salem, Tuesday in Raleigh, Wednesday in Morrisville, Thursday in Pittsboro, Friday in Burlington, and Saturday in Smithfield and Burlington. Yes- Burlington twice in one week!
I’ve worked pretty hard to get to the point where I can play a gig every night. Most of these shows have repertoires which are challenging and unique. With a crazy schedule like this, one thing I struggle with is how can I be prepared for each show?
I like to have all music memorized before a gig, but there are a few bands that I play with where I haven’t had the time to sit down and memorize everything. That makes preparation easy: I just buy a binder and plastic sheet protectors from Staples, and then arrange the music in alphabetical order. Much better than the ‘pile of random sheets of paper’ that I used to use.
For all my other gigs, I love to get a set list determined a few days in advance. Then I just practice the songs on the list, hitting the most difficult ones the hardest. Often I will program the set list into iRealB in my iPhone and practice along with the backing tracks as if I were at a gig- this is an excellent way to prepare. First chorus I’ll play the melody, then I will do comping and soloing.
There are always just a few songs which I don’t have time to finish. I just have to forgive myself for the fact that they aren’t prepared well, and do my best. After all, there are only so many hours in the day, and I have a 3 1/2 year old little girl to take care of!