I started out playing live music around 2007, and I have learned a lot of difficult lessons since then. First and foremost, playing music live is a skill unto itself. I could practice a song a million times in my bedroom, and it wouldn’t mean jack when I got up on stage. I eventually learned how to overcome this.
When I started out I always performed to the same group of friends, and I told myself I had to play three new songs every gig otherwise my audience would become bored of me. The only result was that I learned to play a bunch of songs…not very well. Since I only ever performed a song once, it never had time to sink in, and I was convinced I was getting worse at playing guitar.
Then I suddenly decided to keep playing the same songs every gig, and in time, I actually learned to play them convincingly well. Through friends, I slowly found a few different open mic events and went there to play the same few songs I had been playing before. These performances contained few mistakes, and went down better than I ever could have dreamed (really). It then dawned on me that this is exactly what the pros do; they learn a few songs really well, then travel around playing them to different people. Clearly, this was how you became good at playing music live, practice (seems obvious right?). To put it another way, you could define practice as "The intentional repetition of a task to improve your ability at performing that task". The key work there is "repetition". There was no repetition in my live performances until I kept playing the same songs.
So, I had to find new places to perform. But I didn’t have any idea where to go to find more of them. The few existing websites were either hopelessly out of date, hideous, or both. I eventually realised somebody needed to do a proper job of gathering all the information about open mic nights in one place. I decided to give it a try myself, hence FindAnOpenMic.com.
The mission statement of Find An Open Mic is:
I am completely serious about this. I want Find An Open Mic to become a ‘household name’ among performers of all types, and there is no reason why this cannot happen.
Matt Coston. January 2010
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