OPEN MIC by Eddie Rhoades ©2010 bittersweetgardens.com
Relax, You're not getting paid to perform at open mic so why be nervous? Some open mics require you to pay to perform as does the famous Eddie's Attic in Decatur, Georgia. What is the point of an Open MIc? They are generally held on off-nights when business is slack. These businesses hope you will bring in a few fans, friends, family who will in turn spend money on food and drinks. It's a trade-off, you get experience and exposure to new possible fans and other musicians. Don't be intimidated, It's like a church covered-dish where everybody brings something different to the table and it's all good. more than likely you will practice more for open mic than you would for say: playing to the basement wall again.The key is being prepared. Open Mikkers are a diverse bunch with some doing only cover songs with a repertoire of 4 or 5 songs they repeat. Some very young and pretty females learn 3 or 4 chords on the guitar and are singing songs they wrote about life and love from their 15 years of life experiences in a slow folk or Americana tune. Their next song is in the same key and the same tempo which puts you to sleep. But they all plan on moving to Nashville where they can be discovered.
A good point about Open Mic is you don't have to pack and set up a PA system and microphone, that is done for you. You can travel light, packing only your guitar and songbook. There is usually someone on hand who is running the open mic to see that each performer gets equal play time. Some are run on a first-come first-serve basis where you play in the order that you sign up. Whereas others are run at the discretion of the person running the show as to who plays when and for how long. On some occasions the venue may give you a free drink for playing and in rare incidences they have fed me. What the venue is looking for is business. They want you to bring fans, friends and family who will come and drink and eat and spend some money. They should keep in mind that the customers have a TV set at home and beer in their refrigerator so that is not all they are there for. It would be more respectful of the performers if the TV sets were turned off. It is a good idea to keep a journal of places that have open mic nights and ask fans and other performers to sign your journal so you can keep in contact. You never know when you might want to go in the studio and record songs and you may need a mandolin or a harmonica player. Don't abuse this list and make them regret giving you their email addresses. Relax and enjoy your performance and the performances of others.
Eddie Rhoades http://www.myspace.com/eddierhoades.