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Preshow Music

2009-12-22Where in the world am I today?: North Vancouver, BC, Canada

This post is in part tied into the post I made yesterday about crafting an appropriate Introduction for your show. If you’re in a stage show situation where the audience arrives in advance of the show and spends some time in the theatre/venue waiting for the show to begin, then having some show appropriate music playing before the show begins can really set the stage for the performance people are about to see.

Music has a way of unifying an audience or suggesting tone and mood. Why not take advantage of this before the show even begins? Doing so will make your job as an entertainer easier because you will have already developed the right energy in the room before you even step on the stage… This was pointed out to me a couple of years ago at which point I sat down and created a 30 minute pre-show CD that I hand to the Sound Tech in the rooms where I work or put on myself if I’m self producing the show.

In my own case I’ve gravitated towards jazz and big band instrumental tracks because I feel they are particularly well suited to the energy I craft in my show and have avoided the distraction of lyrics because if peoples attention is caught by listening to lyrics they may get distracted from paying attention to what ever it is I’m presenting. This is my theory… Completely lacking in any sort of documented evidence, but it has worked well so far.

A friend of mine uses a soundtrack of what sounds like old phonograph records before his show starts. This is a brilliant set up for his quirky character and the ‘vintage’ feel he so successfully creates in his performance.

Classical? Pop? Jazz? Hip-hop? Country? Rap? What sort of music best represents the style of show that you present? Now it’s reasonably important to make sure that the demographic you’re playing to can on some level appreciate the music you’ll be playing for them and you may choose to craft your pre-show musical selections with them in mind. If for instance you were playing on a Cruise Ship that caters primarily to an older crowds and you opt to used Death Metal as your pre-show music, well you might just chase people out of the theatre instead of welcoming them in, but chances are if you show is based around the Heavy Metal vibe you may not have landed the gig on a ship in the first place.

Successfully marry your show style to the right demographic audience-wise and make the appropriate musical selections that get people tapping their toes and on the same page rhythmically, and you can tap into an almost hypnotic effect that will unify the audience even before you step on stage. What you do with them from that point is completely up to you.

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