To Make Your Live Band Better Schedule Gigs

The best way to improve your live band is to schedule a gig and get out and play.

Bonne Nuit Live Show 5-15-10 pic 2
Bonne Nuit Playing A Live Gig

   Every live band wants to be the best band that they can be. I’ve seen so many bands that practice, practice, practice and never really feel ready to get out and play a gig. I’ve seen bands begin and end in the practice studio without ever getting out and playing a live show. The biggest reason for this is the fact that the band never feels ready to get out and play a gig. So they practice and practice until they’re bored and then they end up giving up.  

   One of the biggest truths I’ve discovered in my years playing in live bands is that there is nothing like having a gig on the calender to make your band improve. If you’re practicing and you don’t have any shows scheduled then you’re missing some very much needed motivation. A gig deadline will force your band to get down to the essentials needed to perform a live show. You’ll stop wasting time at practice working on every little detail and focus on what needs to get done to play your upcoming gig. The arguing about what songs to learn will stop as you decide on a final set list for your show. It will be time for every member to commit the time needed for rehearsals and personal practice in order for the gig to happen. Nobody likes to look bad onstage and that will help your band keep it’s focus as you prepare for your gig.

   After you play a gig you’ll have a reference point for where the band really needs to improve. You’ll know which of your songs didn’t go over well onstage. You’ll know what kind of stage showmanship the band will need to practice. You’ll also hear your band improve simply because you successfully played an entire gig from start to finish. The more gigs you play, the better your band will become because it’s virtually impossible to simulate the gig experience in the practice studio. That’s why I’m telling you that gigging is the best way to improve your live band.

   So my advice today is to get out and schedule any gig you can get. Even if that means playing for free at your cousin’s birthday party. Having that deadline will make your band better.

Author: Live Musician Central

My name is Matt Rushton. I have been playing in bands for 27 years. I've been playing professionally for 21 years. I have opened for Sheryl Crow, Barenaked Ladies, Joan Jett, Little River Band, and Quiet Riot.

2 thoughts on “To Make Your Live Band Better Schedule Gigs”

  1. Have been enjoying some of the posts here; keep up the great work.

    This post is GREAT advice. Having watched several “rehearsal” bands come and go, and having been a part of one myself back in my younger years, I can honestly say that without a gig on the calendar, there’s no reason for the band to rehearse more than a few weeks. One “modifier” I would add to this, though: Gigging improves SOME areas of your band… however the musicians must understand that in reality, gigging does not improve individual musicianship. One must continue the diligent practice between shows, independently, to refine skills that will never be refined in a live setting — and in fact, reverse some “bad live habits” that come from gigging-only situations. Gigs are the motivator for the group; the individual skills must continue to be honed.

    My 2c!


  2. Hey Marc, you’re right about the need of individual players to keep honing their skills. Playing gigs will help keep your band moving forward and to make the band the best it can be will take a combination of gigging, band practice and individual practice. I’ve just seen too many bands fail because they can never make it out of the rehearsal room because they’re afraid to go ahead and schedule that first gig. Thanks for your comment! -Matt-

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