Guide to getting and playing better gigs


   

Play Safe

     
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If playing in cold environments, wear clothing that will keep your core body temperature maintained. If your band has standardized clothing, then consider long underwear to keep you warm. Also, consider how the cold will affect your finger dexterity. Temperatures below 62 will lead to decreased dexterity and clumsiness. Maintaining hand warmth is critical to preventing repetitive strain injuries to the tendons and muscles. Besides that, your speed and dexterity are much better when your hand and fingers are warm.

If you're playing in warm environments, such as outdoors in the summer, remember to take with you at least two water bottles filled with spring or filtered water. Take sips between every song or at least every 10 to 15 minutes to maintain hydration. Wear clothing that will "breath" and allow air flow to the skin, while allowing heat from the skin to escape. Avoid costumes and suits if at all possible. Have two towels handy, one to wipe off perspiration, and one that is dampened with cold water to wipe your head and face with. This will help keep your body cool. Maintaining proper hydration days before the performance is just as important. Drink six to eight glasses of water daily in preparation for the hot climate.


Sun Exposure:
Everyone knows, or should know, that sun exposure increases the risk of skin cancers. Musicians who are continually performing outdoor gigs throughout the summer must take preventative measures to reduce the risk of overexposure to the sun. Use sun screens with SF 30 or greater. One application should keep you protected through a typical two hour performance. Wear sunglasses that block UV rays. It's been proven that sunglasses without an ultraviolet ray block can actually cause retinal damage in your eyes. Just because everything seems darker doesn't mean your eyes are being protected. Most sunglasses made today offer protection against UV rays, but if you're still using those retro sunglasses from 1975 then take a good look at purchasing some new "shades."

Dry Ice:
This is gaseous Carbon Dioxide. Blocks of frozen carbon dioxide are put into water and the solid form goes immediately to the gaseous form to create those clouds that reflect lighting so well and create that misty appearance on stage. Many performers state that this dry ice irritates their throat and affects singing. Breathing in large amounts of carbon dioxide over a long period of time can affect your overall health and throw off your blood gas levels. (Such as the carbon dioxide/oxygen ratio) If you're involved in stage performances that include dry ice use, consider the location where the ice will be blown from and attempt to position your equipment away from that location. Talk with the production manager about pointing the dry ice machine away from the performers. In most cases, working together with the stage crew can provide the desired affects of the dry ice, while at the same time preserving the health of the musicians.

Sore throat:
If your singer always gets a sore throat before an important gig, it's often a case of nerves. Learn to recognise and deal with physical symptoms brought on by stress. The most common reason for a cancelled gig is the singer losing their voice. You can't insure against it without vast expense and one cancelled gig on a theatre-sized tour can put the whole tour in the red.

Accidents on stage:
Most bands with wild stage shows risk injury every night. Try to remain in control on stage, even if the performance is on the wild side.

Electric shock:
Always take this one seriously. Watch out for water on the stage. (The Bee Gees once refused to play an outdoor gig during a thunder-storm saying it was unsafe. The promoter asked whether they'd perform if the support band survived!) Check your power leads to make sure your not going to form a link to earth.


A musician who's serious about maintaining health will take a serious look at these factors as well as many others when preparing to perform. Don't go into a performance with no knowledge of your playing environment. Knowing your environment is as important as the amount of practicing you've done over the past few years. Poor preparation can ruin your performance and even lead to health complaints down the line.

Let's face it, rock 'n' roll is risky. That's why your mum wants you to go to college. But we love music and we love the lifestyle, so we're probably just going to go on taking those risks. Be careful out there!!!

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