A GUIDE TO GRASROOTS GIGING & TOUR­ING, part 2

MORE THINGS TO KNOW IN PREPA­RA­TION FOR YOUR FIRST SHOW/TOUR

Rhythm - - DRUM LESSONS - JOE YOSHIDA – ACM TU­TOR/TOSELAND Go­towww.acm.ac.uk for­more

Last month we had a look at the im­por­tance of a sound­check and how ba­sic in-ear mon­i­tor­ing could en­hance your ex­pe­ri­ence on stage. The stage is your work­place and, while we spend a lot of time and en­ergy pre­par­ing for the hour we per­form, good fore­sight should be placed on the smooth run­ning of the jour­ney it­self, as well as the gen­eral ‘be­ing’ out on the road – whether play­ing a sin­gle show or an en­tire tour.

Main­tain­ing good health and be­ing away from home com­forts are just some of the chal­lenges you will face when gig­ging and tour­ing, so here are some tips thatI hope will put you at an ad­van­tage.

Road ‘Life savers’

Ba­sic re­quire­ments vary from person to person. For me, one of the most in­ter­est­ing things about tour­ing has been shar­ing with other budding mu­si­cians how they each sur­vive and what they bring to pre­serve their san­ity. In my per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence, keep­ing healthy has al­ways been high on the agenda as be­ing sick whilst I’m working away from home has al­ways been my big­gest fear. My ba­sic guide­line is to al­ways take a holis­tic stance by sim­ply get­ting in the habit of do­ing ev­ery­thing to pre­vent your­self from get­ting sick. Sat­is­fy­ing the ba­sic needs of eat­ing right and get­ting enough sleep can some­times be chal­leng­ing when liv­ing on the road and be­ing in con­stant tran­sit. Just try to do your best and ad­here to a sys­tem that works for you.

Stock up on food in ad­vance: when you make a road-stop, grab some healthy op­tions for the day. Plan­ning ahead will pre­vent you from mak­ing those spon­ta­neous, less­de­sir­able choices af­ter the show! Although sup­ple­ments aren’t a cure, I al­ways take mul­ti­vi­ta­min tablets daily whilst on tour just to help the im­mune sys­tem.

Bring any­thing you might need to en­sure good sleep: pil­lows to re­tain some home com­fort and earplugs could help, es­pe­cially if you’re shar­ing ho­tel rooms.

Other things that gen­er­ally help whilst on tour in­clude a power ex­ten­sion (for ho­tel rooms/dress­ing room), power socket con­vert­ers, lan­yards, spare cur­rency (for road-stop toi­lets!); if it fits in your suit­case, just bring it along!

Dress­ing Rooms and your Rider

Dress­ing rooms can vary tremen­dously in size and com­fort (and clean­li­ness), and at a grass­roots level of gig­ging and tour­ing you will quickly learn to sim­ply get‘ on with it’. As a head­line act you may be en­ti­tled to your own space, how­ever, it can still be com­mon to share a room with the other bands on the bill. In my ex­pe­ri­ence, shar­ing a room has al­ways al­lowed us to get to know the other bands bet­ter, ul­ti­mately mak­ing the evening more en­joy­able. You will even en­counter some smaller venues that don’t have dress­ing rooms – in which case, be pre­pared to dress in your van.

When it comes to your rider, whether it’s food, snacks, bev­er­ages, can­dles, in­cense sticks and so on, it’s fair to say that the big­ger you are, the more am­bi­tious you can be with it. It’s easy to ask for the world, but you have to bear in mind that in some sit­u­a­tions your rider bud­get could be de­ducted from your show fee. If you share a dress­ing room it’s likely that you’ll have a com­mu­nal rider too. Per­haps at times a more favourable al­ter­na­tive to the rider would be a ‘buy-out’, but if you do ar­range this in ad­vance, do a bit of re­search and look into whether there are plenty of op­tions near the venue (you could be in the mid­dle of nowhere).

Pri­vacy and be­ing mind­ful to­wards oth­ers

Tour­ing re­ally teaches you how to work as a team and it’s re­ally im­por­tant to avoid be­ing self-cen­tred. Al­ways re­mem­ber that you are shar­ing space with your band and crew pretty much at all times, so think ahead.

Lug­gage size: try to min­imise this so you don’t hog all the stor­age space in the van, ho­tel rooms and dress­ing rooms. The big­ger it is the harder it will be to get changed in small dress­ing rooms.

Look out for ev­ery­body in­volved – this in­cludes the other bands. The more you get along, the bet­ter the show will be, so leave space for each other in com­mu­nal ar­eas and leave food and drinks for oth­ers.

Get used to not hav­ing your own space! You will all travel to­gether, eat to­gether and sleep to­gether (at times in the same bed). Go with it and you’ll get used to it.

You re­ally have to get along with your band and crew when you are to­gether – even be­yond the wak­ing hours. Share with other budding mu­si­cians about how they man­age them­selves and pre­serve their health, and you’ll grad­u­ally con­sol­i­date a sys­tem that works for you over time. Re­mem­ber, be­ing ap­proach­able, pro­fes­sional and flex­i­ble is one of the key el­e­ments to be­com­ing a suc­cess­ful mu­si­cian. Good luck!

The Academy of Con­tem­po­rary Mu­sic( ACM) is a lead­ing mu­sic in­dus­try ed­u­ca­tion provider. Hav­ing trained mu­si­cians, pro­duc­ers, song­writer sand en­trepreneurs for ca­reers in the mu­sic in­dus­try for over 20 years, with state-of-the-art fa­cil­i­ties, world-class fac­ulty and ex­ten­sive in­dus­try con­nec­tions, ACM of­fers mu­sic pro­grammes that de­velop stu­dents to their max­i­mum po­ten­tial and in­stantly im­mers­es­theminthe­mu­sicin­dus­try.Vis­itwww.acm.ac.uk

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