First Solo Gig

Posted: 11/26/2007 9:49:03 AM

From: Richmond Hill, Georgia

Joined: 9/18/2005

I have my first solo gig coming up soon. On December 3rd, I have a half
hour of time to provide music for one of the large radio clubs in this
area. The event is their yearly Christmas banquet. I am to provide
"atmosphere" prior to the start of the meeting. After dinner, a quartet
of kids of one of the members will sing. Probable attendance is around
50. I figure I should plan for one piece every 5 minutes. Is this too
ambitious? How many pieces does the assembled multitude think I should
plan for in a 30 minute period? I realize there will probably be LOTS of
interruptions as people wander in to the meeting and say "GEE WHIZ",
stumble into my playing field, etc.

I know a lot of these people, so this is kinda a friendly crowd, with
no rotten veggies anticipated. Any ideas on dress? Everyone will
probably be in their street or after work clothes, so its not a formal
atmosphere in the least.


Posted: 11/26/2007 6:03:03 PM
Brian R

From: Somerville, MA

Joined: 10/7/2005

Hi, Philip--

This sounds like an occasion for which your attire perhaps ought to fit the category my college choir director called "Schoolteacher Dress"... which for men, meant dress shirt, dress slacks, dress shoes, jacket, and tie.

Me, I prefer to be as comfortable as possible while I play any instrument... so I wouldn't bother with the tie, I'd wear sneakers instead of dress shoes, and if the floor's carpeted, I'd even play in my sock feet. But then again, I was brought up in a barn. Well, a suburbarn, anyway.

Posted: 11/26/2007 6:18:04 PM

From: Kingston, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

Whatever costuming choices you make, do a full dress rehearsal in them. You never know what it's like to play in your suit till you do.

Not sure what you're considering but the average holiday carol, especially on theremin where you probably won't want to do every single verse - without words it can become dull unless you do a lot of variations - will probably round out to about three plus minutes. That leaves you with a minute on either side.

My first impulse would be to prepare about seven pieces, knowing the first, a favorite choice middle, and a closing piece I'd play for sure.
Then you can adjust as interruptions happen and add or cut from your total line up to make sure those choice three are performed.

This is a little tougher than a "set" concert because you probably won't have control really over the total time. If it's critical you set up and strike in a given time, rehearse that too, seriously, in a recent situation I had to choreograph my load in and strike to be under ten minutes. (I'm sure many others will tell you all this too.) A few dry runs helped a lot. Especially a final dress with audience! Invite your neighbors. It helps in more ways than you can imagine.

Posted: 11/27/2007 7:05:35 AM

From: Kingston, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

PS - are you making backing tracks, a good play-a-long CD or are you lucky enough to have an accompanist?
It's a common challenge, please keep us posted on how it all progresses.
Posted: 11/27/2007 8:46:18 AM

From: Jax, FL

Joined: 2/14/2005

Go with a vest.

Vests are nice and lool good on thereminists....
Posted: 11/27/2007 8:46:24 AM

From: Jax, FL

Joined: 2/14/2005

Seriously, being the musical entertainment, you have a lot of latitude in the clothing department.

I would go with a nice pair of jeans and a good shirt, something hip.

Wear comfortable shoes that look good if you have any. People don;t conciously pay much attention to shoes but I think we all see them and react subconciously to them.

Posted: 11/28/2007 6:10:24 AM

From: Leicester, UK

Joined: 9/23/2005

dress? Well you could wear a dress I suppose...
I tend to go with long sleeve t-shirt - black is good - this looks good with or without a jacket if it prooves too hot or cold either way.

The only thing I would recommend it make sure you can hear yourself REALLY well with a speaker near you. If you're plugging into the house PA and the speakers are either side of the hall it makes picking out notes really hard from so far away.
Better to take your own amp and be relatively quiet than be far away from the sound. If you are using the house PA - set up in front of one of the speakers rather than central. Just a thought - sure you have it all in hand anyway.

Congradulations and have a great time.

Posted: 11/28/2007 6:33:39 AM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Wear something comfortable that you feel good in.

Let the audience see your hands - plain dark top.

It's more about attitude than attire. Stand tall, look the audience in the eye and smile a confident smile, and they will believe in you even before you start playing...

Which helps you believe in yourself.

And that comes across in your playing.

Posted: 11/28/2007 6:50:27 AM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Oh, and a take a couple of extra handkerchiefs.

Just in case you discover, as I did my first time, that your pre-performance nerves express themselves as forehead perspiration.

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