Open Mic Etiquette

Sign up when you arrive – Usually, you will play in the order that you have signed up. If you have to leave early, try to arrive early since sign in sheets can fill up pretty quickly. Do Not call in to reserve a spot. It puts the host in a difficult position and is guaranteed to upset the other players.

Tune up your instrument before you go on stage. If you waste time tuning, it will reduce your set time.

Don’t repeat a song someone else already played. How would you feel if you just played Stormy Monday and someone does it a set, or two, later? It almost feels like a competition and that is NOT what it’s all about.

Have your songs, and a few extras, picked out before you arrive, or at least before you take the stage. You’ll perform better and avoid repeating a song.

Stick to the time or song limit for the set and don’t ask for more. It’s disrespectful to the other players and the host.

Don’t ask to borrow an instrument unless one is offered to you.

Introduce your song, especially if it’s an original, but don’t take excessive time explaining it. That’s what the lyrics are for.

Don’t play and leave. It tells the other players that you’re not interested in their performance. Obviously, there are times you’ll have to, but don’t make it a habit. Everybody likes playing to an audience.

If your lyrics are a little “off-color”, ask the host if it’s OK to do the song. A song that’s OK in an all adult bar may not be acceptable in a restaurant with children present.

Ask any questions before you’re on stage.

Ask the host if you want to know about getting a gig at the venue. Many times the venue will have the host screen talent.

What do you think?

Steve Falter

Visit Steve’s Web Site

2 thoughts on “Open Mic Etiquette

  1. Is this just for musicians with instruments. My instrument is my voice? Are you set up for CD background music?

    • Yes, Pauline, I can run your CD backing track through the soundboard and monitors, no problem. Just about any musical performance mode can be accommodated.
      I hope you can make it out.

      Taking you back to a simpler time… with music,

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