Acoustic sets aren’t just for folk bands and songwriters. They’re opportunities for artists working in every genre to show audiences a completely different side of their music listeners couldn’t have heard otherwise. For many musicians, this isn’t easy, and that’s exactly what makes it special. There’s a creative resourcefulness required for bands and solo artists who choose to fit their music into the mold of acoustic shows for special occasions. And, believe it or not, many listeners will resonate with these performances as much or even more than conventional shows and recorded and produced songs with full instrumentation in some cases. For musicians interested in paring down their music for acoustic sets, we’ve got a few tips to help.
Thanksgiving isn’t just the time of year where you get to gather around the table with your crazy uncle and aunts, avoiding heated conversations while scooping a second helping of mashed potatoes onto your plate. At its core, it’s meant to be about finding gratitude in things. Which I get can sound a little hokey. Of course it’s in the name itself “THANKSgiving” and we know we’re supposed to be grateful because every year a million social media posts (and now this blog post) tell us so.
If you want to be a great songwriter or performer, you’ll need to be a great music listener first. What we hear and how we listen makes a huge impact on the way we write music, collaborate with other musicians, and perform on stage. So thoughtful music listening ends up being a massive deal if you’re a serious musician. If you’re looking for ways to improve your music listening skills, these tips will help:
If you’re reading this, the chances are good that making music is something you live and breathe to do. You probably feel like writing songs is your life’s calling, and that it’s the only thing in life that truly makes you feel understood. If this is the case, consider yourself lucky. There’s a huge segment of the human population that floats through life without having any true passions. Whether you’re a mega pop star or simply look forward to producing music in your bedroom during every spare moment, it’s truly a gift to get wrapped up in the endless pursuit of making the best music you can. It’s something that will enrich your life as long as you choose to keep going.
Succeeding in music is a frustratingly vague thing to wrap your mind around because it means something different to every music-maker. For some, success might be the idea of transforming into a mega popstar overnight and earning enough money to buy an island. For others, success means making music audiences love and being praised by critics. But no matter what success means to you, you won’t find it without doing the work.
When you first learned music, practicing your instrument was probably a daily struggle. Whether it was dealing with the pain on your fingertips from playing guitar or learning how to master the embouchure on the trumpet, it’s safe to assume you spent months learning the basics of your instrument and years honing in your technical skills. The world knows how hard it is for someone to sound truly great on an instrument and that musicians can’t excel without thousands of hours of practice. Unfortunately, musicians and non-musicians alike often don’t see songwriting the same way. Many musicians and non-musicians alike have the idea that songwriting is a talent that can’t be developed with years of practice. They’re wrong.
With data being readily available on streaming platforms, musicians and booking agencies can book more location-targeted shows. For emerging artists who haven’t played a tour, most booking agents have to take a risk about how many tickets they can sell. With the availability of streaming data, now everyone can see how many listeners there are in each city and country, and they can make a more realistic estimate of how many listeners they can bring to the show.
In 2021, artists that are accustomed to playing big stages in front of huge crowds are bringing their music to smaller audiences by necessity. Whether you’re playing a modest outdoor show or a small house concert, it’s important to be able to pare down your set for a small, intimate audience. This isn’t a big deal if you’re a solo acoustic artist, but what if you play in a five-piece synth-rock outfit? Bands like this have challenges paring down their sets for small shows, but it can absolutely be done. These tips will help: