PERFORMANCE PET PEEVES PART 2
All of the issues are from various shows. While no show or performers will be named, I offer these random observations for the purpose of growth. Sometimes shows teach us what NOT to do!
- One person at an Open Mic had such a tremendous R&B voice but they had no mic technique and literally blasted us out of the room. Sometimes loud is just loud. You have a great, big voice but I could not hear you!
- Going along with the “less can be more idea”, sometimes when it comes to creating an arrangement, ALL of your great ideas do not have to make it on to the page. Riffing until you cough up a lung or repeating the same melodic theme over and over and over again requires restraint and editing! It’s like the great painter that adds that one last brush stroke and realizes he’s just ruined the entire painting.
- SHUT UP AND SING! – Particularly if you are doing a one song spot in an Open Mic situation…give us one line and let us hear your beautiful voice. ‘Nuff said.
- I saw a show where the singer was incredible, the voice fantastic, the band to die for and I walked out of the show and asked my friend, “Why did I hate that show so much? It was fantastic but I’m leaving feeling angry.” My friend turned to me and said, “Arrogance!” Confidence is great but when it crosses a line of alienating or seemingly being self-congratulatory on stage, it’s off-putting.
- Do you really need that extra instrument? Consider the size of the room and the size (or limitations) of your voice and know that when a horn enters in and makes the audience jump, it’s not a good thing.
- Faux patter exchanges with your Musical Director when you are funny and enough as you are can become a detriment to the overall show.
- PRESS KITS (See my tutorial in Cabaret U.) – There are two kinds of press kits:– one that you send to get a job to a venue or booking agent where you need to include all of your bells and whistles (reviews, postcards from previous show, etc.) and the one that you present at a show for a reviewer to use to review your show. As a Reviewer, I personally do not want to read what anyone else has written about you on previous shows and certainly not the show I’m there to review! I usually just take the Song List and the card for the show I’m reviewing and leave the rest.
- SONG LISTS – Ideally? Song title, writers listing who did lyrics and who did the music and whether it’s from a show or not. The year it was written is optional but appreciated. (Again, to view a tutorial on how to create a program, song list, press kit or ideas on how your postcard can help sell your show, visit Cabaret U.)
Great Advice! “Less is more” is indeed the way to go. Don’t throw everything and the kitchen sink at the audience! Remember that these composers and lyricists wrote everything in the music! Sometimes if you just truthfully present what the writers intended, you will touch your audience way more than just trying to show off all your tricks.