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Starting Out

Rehearsing and First Gigs

Rehearsing

Rehearsing should include playing your set as if it was a gig and placing all your equipment as you would on the night. Your band should be set up as if they are facing an audience. Decide your positioning. For instance, your left-handed guitarist should not be banging into your right-handed bassist

Paul Gray, ex-bassist with Eddie & the Hot Rods, The Damned and UFO, now MU Regional Officer for Wales & SW England.

Before you book your first rehearsal, discuss the aspirations and level of commitment of the musicians in your band. Are you all prepared to hit the road for a month or more if you get the offer? Problems often arise when half the band wants to go professional and the others do not.

Take care to remember that excessive sound levels can do untold harm to your hearing and will not help in assessing what you really sound like. Rehearsing acoustically at first can be really helpful in the early stages of songwriting.

 

Your first gigs

If you find your band at the bottom of the bill with no sound check, this is just part of the journey. Use these early days’ experiences as time to get 'gig-fit'. Preparation for your gigs should always include some necessary administrative basics. Establish how much you are going to be paid, together with how and when you will receive the money. See  Fees and Payment for more advice.

Kelly Wood, Live Performance Official

Touring with a sound engineer who knows your sound and your set is a good idea. Consider carefully whether your sound engineer is to be a partner in the band and if the desk and PA are his or hers.  Do they have adequate PLI and equipment insurance?

Your first gigs should be low-key. They should allow you to try out various songs, sets and running orders, to perfect your performance and settle on a basic stage set that you feel comfortable with and that will maintain an audience’s attention.

Use these early days’ experiences as time to get ‘gig-fit’. Try to establish relationships with the other bands – it’s possible you will be bumping into each other again on the circuit.

The most important consideration on accepting any engagement is: will you be able to get a good crowd in? If you have any doubts as to whether your fans will come and see you on a particular night, at a certain venue, then you should decide whether or not to do the gig.

It pays to concentrate on one city, big town, or area for your gigging.

Remember that when you hire a self-drive minibus, splitter or van, if your driver is being paid/ hired, this could invalidate the self-drive hire insurance. Furthermore, anyone who receives payment for taking bookings or supplying drivers for hire without an operator’s licence is breaking the law and may be prosecuted.

Tech Specs and Stage Plots - what you need to provide and how best to provide it

We often get asked about what to include in a band information pack. The info you send out to venues, production companies or just the couple who book you for their wedding is really important.

It is really good to have an up to date list of requirements that can help make the gig go smoothly and the ‘get in’ and sound check less stressful. We have therefore made available a Guide to Tech Specs plus accompanied this with a sample of a more detailed Tech Spec. Should you need further information in setting up for a gig, please contact your Regional Office.

Related downloads

Tech Specs and Stage Plots (PDF 4 MB file opens in new window)

Example Tech Spec (PDF 484.27 bytes file opens in new window)