What to Expect Your First Time Playing Live


If you’re in a band and you haven’t played live yet, there’s a pretty big part of being a musician that you are completely missing. Though practicing on your own and playing among your friends is fun, there’s simply nothing quite like sharing your music with the rest of the world (or a at least with an overcrowded club).

Sooner or later every band decides is time to play a gig and after the initial excitement wears off, you start to wonder: “What’s going to happen? What if I forget my part in the middle of the song? What if I trip? What if a meteor falls from the sky and fries our pedals?”, well, there’s no guarantee that your gig will be flawless, especially not if it’s the first one ever. But you’re better off worrying about strings potentially breaking than a random act of nature. Here’s what you should expect.

Prepare for Random Accidents

Strings do break, pedals often malfunction, musicians get the jitters, and the sound can definitely be off. First of all, the fact that all those things can happen, doesn’t mean that they will happen, but it does mean that you need to be prepared in case they do.

Preparing for technical issues isn’t really that hard. You can bring a spare string and if you guys have extra instruments, have those prepared as well. Bring a second guitar or bass if you can. Now, for “human issues”, you need to be more creative. As a band, you could workshop ideas about what you can do if the sound is bad, or even prepare for potential heckling. Anything can happen during a live gig. The idea is to expect the best while preparing for the worst.

And Mistakes

You’re in a band, you know exactly what this is about. There’s that particular song in the setlist that you know takes extra effort to get just right, or you have a really shy bandmate who has a hard time concentrating in front of an audience and is prone to come in earlier on crucial parts. Mistakes happen all the time. The good news is that when they’re small, the public barely notices (if they do at all), and once the show is over, they won’t even remember.

You’ll still need to prepare, though. And this should be more about what kind of attitude you’ll face them with, rather than coming up with outlandish ways to avoid them. Especially if one of the solutions is having one too many “shots of courage” right before going on stage.

Wait for the Adrenaline Rush

The main thing you can expect on your first gig is an adrenaline rush like no other. You’re going to be up in a stage with your bandmates playing your music in front of strangers, and that’s always exhilarating. Go with it, let it wash over you and enjoy it to the max. Don’t be afraid to seem excited, you should be.