Preparing for an Open Mic Night 

If you need to know how to prepare for an open mic night and what to do, here is where you’ll find some helpful insider knowledge. Read on for all information you need to know and how you can get ready for this amazing opportunity.  

Open mic nights give performers the opportunity to showcase what they’ve got, and a great show comes from even greater preparation. It can be scary putting yourself out there, but if you feel you are well prepared you can get on that stage and enjoy every moment.  

Open mic nights are 100% live, therefore the preparation for these events is crucial. This is your moment, so make sure you are ready for it!  

How do you prepare for an Open Mic Night? 

getting ready for an open mic night

#1 Practice

Practice can be the making of performance and, although it may sound simple, it’s extremely important for not only the quality of an act but also a performer’s confidence on stage. It is a huge opportunity to present yourself as a well-rounded, assured performer.

You have an excellent platform for your music and talent, so don’t waste it, embrace it.  

#2 Choose wisely

If you have a catalogue of original songs, make sure you pick the ones that reflect you as an artist. Remember to listen to the previous audience’s response.

If this is your first live gig, then talk to friends or family that may be able to give you some advice and even constructive criticism. 

#3 Complement yourself

If you’re a singer, then how can you show off your voice? If you play instruments, which do you play the best and have confidence with?

These aspects are under your control to ensure you put on your best performance.  

#4 Do your research

Research the venue and the open mic night itself, even feel free to contact the organizers. This is your best way to answer any queries you might have, such as how many songs to prepare or how long is each performer’s slot.

For even more insight to how open mics might be run. 

paid open mic nights

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#5 Be unique

Every performer is an individual, so think about what makes you stand out? How are you going to make the audience remember you? For example, if you are tackling a cover, make it different; what can you do to make it personal and have your own spin on it? If you are performing original music, then ensure you are picking the ones that represent you most as an artist.  

#6 Warm up

It is always important to warm up before you perform, which many of you will already know, however sometimes the nerves get the better of us and we can forget the smaller details.

Check out this 5-minute vocal warm-up:

Why should you warm up properly? 

You should always warm up before a performance, just like you would before exercising. If you are a singer, vocal warm-ups protect against things such as vocal strains, similarly to how warming up before exercise prevents injury.  

Imagine your performance as a sport. Every athlete warms up, just like every performer should.  

Not only does this help on the occasion you are performing, but vocal warm-ups also help maintain your voice. Your voice needs to be a well-oiled machine and just like you would tune your guitar, you need to prepare your vocal chords.   

Here’s a little more information about warming up before a show:

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The Benefits of preparing for your open mic night 

  • You will feel and act more confident. As a performer, it is all about your presence on stage which is ultimately going to be a reflection of your preparation. Imagine taking an exam without any revision or classes, you most likely won’t pass, so why would you not revise for your performance? You want to be ready, prepared and raring to go. 
  • Your act will be slick. This is a professional show, so be a professional act. This is the opportunity to show off what you can do and allow everything to run smoothly. This will come with time and experience too, but every show is different and you want each of your performances to go as well as it possibly can.  
  • You will know what to expect. If you have done your research, you’ll know about the venue and how that event is going to run. This will all enhance your confidence and performance to ensure you are the highest standard.  This is also an opportunity to network, so if you have done your research fellow performers and organisers of the event will be able to tell. Who knows you could be booked again or even for something else.  
  • You will get a better reaction from the audience. The audience can make or break a performance, so if they feel you came prepared they will feed off your energy. If a performer has the confidence developed from their preparation and audience can bounce off them to create a vibrant atmosphere.  
  • You’ll know you’ve done your best. If you put the work in you are bound to see the results. Just like training in a gym, you can see the hard work you have put in physically and from a show, you will get this from the reaction.   

Where can I find an open mic night near me? 

things to think about when performing live 

You can find open mic nights all over the UK! Whether you want to look into applying/ auditioning to become an act or want to attend a show as an audience member, there is loads of information out there.  

Now is the time for you to start looking! First things first, what are you looking for?  

things to think about when performing live 

successful open mic night

#1 Engage with your audience

Don’t forget, everyone is there to see you, so let them know you appreciate it. Make them feel a part of the show and this will only add to your confidence and amp up the atmosphere.  

#2 Have fun!

If you are enjoying yourself the audience will too. This is meant to be what you love doing, so make sure everyone knows that. If you have done your preparation and you are confident in your act, then now is the time to get on that stage and relish the moment.

#3 Create memorable moments

Remember this is a live show, not just a recording session so what can you do to make it different? How can you create moments in your show to make people want to see you again? This is your moment and you create your own outcome.  

#4 Be prepared to improvise

The performance is 100% live so don’t be afraid if things don’t go to plan. Don’t panic and stay calm, this is your time to improvise and adapt your performance; you are a professional after all. These moments make an artist/ band, and trust us it happens to the best of them. 

#5 What’s your image?

You are on stage for all to see, so how do you want them to see you? This is all in your control and an image of a performer can make all the difference. How will you reflect your music? 

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How can I calm my nerves if I’m new to performing? 

We’ve all got to start somewhere and of course, everyone has those newbie jitters. It is how you deal with these nerves that will help you perform to the best of your ability.  

It is always important to take a moment before you go on stage to compose yourself. This can be anything from having a glass of water to going to a quiet space to have a moment for you. 

Here are a few of useful tips: 

  • Talk to the audience members 
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol  
  • Psych yourself up 
  • Don’t be afraid of your nerves 

All ready to perform? 

open mic performance

Any performance can be a little daunting, whether you’re experienced or new to the open mic scene. Preparations are the key to success and remember that each show is different so adapt your prep in order for it to suit your show.  

Take your time and keep in mind that these opportunities are for your own benefit. With the performance, you put in what you get out and the outcome is truly in your hands. Once you are fully prepped you have the chance to enjoy and fully immerse yourself in the experience.   

Related questions

  • What should I do on the day? 

Make sure that you feel ready and stay calm. This is a fun and exciting opportunity for up and coming acts, so take every moment in and enjoy it! Even if you feel you didn’t do your best or messed a part up, remember it is all an experience you can learn from!  

Remember to drink water throughout the day to keep hydrated. Rememeber to get to the venue early. No one wants to be rushing around or worrying about anything on the day they are performing. You want to be early, relaxed and ready to go. 

  • Can I use a backing track if I am solely a singer?  

The important thing to remember is that open mic nights are not karaoke. If you are a singer and do not play an instrument, your best bet is to pair up with a musician/ accompanist prior to the night to ensure you can practice with each other.   

If you don’t know anyone, get down to some open mic nights to meet them! The great thing about these nights is they are full of like-minded and talented people, so get chatting! 

Are you a newbie to the open mic scene? Let us know how you get on in the comments below!

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Sindu
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Sindu

I just registered my daughter to Open Mic audition. I am not sure how I can get backing track for her song.

Laura
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Laura

Hi Sindu, you don’t need to use a backing track, but you can put burn it onto a CD or USB stick. Hope that helps.

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