As a professional musician, it goes without saying that you want each performance to go as smoothly as possible. Whether you have been earning a living as a musician for some time or are relatively new to the paying gig scene, it probably didn’t take you long to realize that a seamless performance goes beyond your own vocal chords — you need your entire roadie crew to be on top of their game as well. To make sure you are getting the most from your team, check out the following tips:
Depending on the size of your venue and the rowdiness of your audience, you might need to hire some security guards. Before your show starts, listen to their recommendations and communicate your own concerns and needs about the venue’s security.
For instance, if you tend to get a rowdy group up front, ask at least one security guard to be near the stage to make sure your band members stay safe and to discourage the audience from making bad decisions. If you want the security guards to keep a low profile, request that they stay near the back of the venue. Security also can check people at the door, making sure they are not bringing in glass bottles or any weapons.
To be a successful musician you must treat your entire support staff with respect. If you have a great team of instrument technicians, realize they are in high demand in the music industry, and don’t expect them to read your mind in terms of what you need or want.
Present them with a song list well ahead of time, and ask for their help in making sure each of your instruments is ready to go, whether you need your piano tuned or your guitar strings changed, before your gig starts.
When it comes to working with your sound crew, STD has rather blunt and useful advice: “Don’t piss off the sound man.” Keep in mind that these people show up early, head home late and have to deal with a huge amount of equipment. The sound crew also listens to your songs more carefully than your most devoted fans.
Go over your set with your sound crew, and come up with an efficient way to communicate before, during and after the show that doesn’t involve shouting over the audience. Make sure everyone has portable, durable and robust smartphones like the iPhone 6s that help coordinate your sound needs before the performance and allow you to communicate quickly.
If you’ve ever been to a show where the singer looks great half the time and is standing in the dark the other half of the show, chances are good the communication is lacking between the performer and lighting technician. Like the sound crew, the lighting technicians come in early to get everything set up so you look as good as you sound.
Go over the set with them and clearly communicate if you want to have fancy lighting effects like strobes, lasers or multi-colored lights. Also be sure to see what they suggest for the size of the venue.