If you’re playing a long set, it’s easy to zone out and miss an important part live. Here’s a few tricks to avoid making an embarrassing mistake live:
1. Take notes beforehand.
When I say take notes, I mean chart out every song, write notes for every transition, write in the notes for every solo you play, include which patches you need for each song, etc. It’s very hard to take too many notes, and mentally writing down what you need to focus on in each song will keep you attentive at the gig.
I keep saying this in blogs because its so important: listen. Lock in as much as you can in the feel that the other band members are creating onstage, and blend in. Don’t go on autopilot with what you’re playing, or it will show. It’s easy to sonically get in the way of others when you stop listening to them.
3. Finesse your dynamics, not your notes.
By the time that you’re playing the gig, you’ve probably got all of your notes locked in. Rather than throwing off the other musicians in the group by switching your rhythms or notes, focusing on being subtle with your dynamics can keep you interested while locking in more tightly with the rest of the group.
4. Use self talk.
Keep the running dialogue in your head pointed in productive directions, and make it laser focus on your own musicianship instead of pointing out faults in other players. Above all, stay positive about your performance. Say stuff to yourself like “I’ve got this” and “you’re doing great”. It sounds stupid, but it will make a big difference in your performance.