Gigging experience is invaluable, and the more you play live, the more confident your playing will become and the better your performances will be.
While you can hold rehearsals in gig-like conditions - not stopping playing if someone messes up for instance – it still can’t fully prepare you for looking up from your instrument and seeing a roomful of people staring back at you, wanting to be entertained.
Aside from bringing in money and increasing your fanbase, playing gigs gives you a chance to see which of your songs work best in a live setting. You may have a song that's a personal favourite, but if the bar suddenly becomes very busy whenever you play it live it might be time to take another look at it. Similarly, when preparing for a gig, it’s not uncommon for band members to squabble over what gets included in the setlist. You may be happy to play certain songs in practice, but if you don’t want to play them live there’s probably a very good reason. Even established bands banish songs from their setlist because they don’t work in a live environment.
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and lose drive when you’re making music, so booking a gig can breathe new life into the band – forcing you to polish off any rough edges in your material before you unleash your tracks in a live setting. It can be just the thing to make you nail that hard to play riff or key change - nothing gets a band playing tightly like the fear of performing in front of a room of people they don't know.
Originally from the BBC website