Friday, July 5, 2013

Battle of the Bands

A few months ago, I was on the panel of judges for the Utah PTA's Battle of the Bands Finals (2013).

In a nutshell, here are a few things I observed, and would humbly suggest to every band that is ever going to play in front of an audience, ever:
  • Don't let anything get in the way of good tone, time, musicality, etc. It's easy to get excited during performance, but put the music first.
  • Know your role. Good music is like a house, made up of necessary, quality parts. Not all of them are seen, but all contribute to the quality and comfort of the home. If that means you need to play back a little, or not have a solo, or play more texturally, then do it.
  • Listen, listen, listen. And act like you're listening. It's okay to make eye contact with other members of the band, especially during their solo.
  • Put on a united visual image. Differing styles distract from the music, especially if the look and feel are different from the music. This is why a lot of music groups show up on stage in neutral greys and blacks - it allows them to play what they want and let the music speak for itself.
  • Support the front man/woman. Know what's the "thing," and how to support it.
  • Have fun, and show it. Don't go overboard, but look happy and confident, not nervous and scared.
  • Play to your strengths and within your abilities. I'm not saying you shouldn't push the edges, but the audience "vibe" completely changes when they're worried that you might not land the next fill or riff.
  • Be humble and gracious, but don't stutter. "Um," doesn't help your show.
Put simply, do whatever you need to do to make the music speak for itself, and don't do anything that will get in the way of that message. 

Happy gigging!

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