Finding the balance between your passions and responsibilities can be challenging with the demands of motherhood, family life, and career goals. However, it’s crucial to keep exploring new opportunities and expanding your artistic reach. Open mic nights offer a unique opportunity to showcase your talents, meet new people, and grow your network. These events allow artists of all skill levels to showcase their talents and receive audience feedback. This post will explore how you can navigate open mic nights as a mother/parent, from selecting appropriate material to building connections with other performers and venue owners. We’ll also discuss the positive impact of participating in open mics on your skills and career as a performing artist.
Research and Preparation
Before you dive into open mic nights, it is essential to research and prepare. In starting this article, finding an up-to-date comprehensive list was challenging, as many venues closed with the pandemic, and others either stopped their open mics or only did them seasonally. The last thing you want to do is arrange for a babysitter, arrive ready for your performance, and learn that the date listed was for last year. So, find local venues that host open mic nights and attend as an audience member. This way, you will get a sense of the vibe and style of the performances, which will help you prepare the right material that aligns with the audience’s interests. Also, research the venue’s policies, such as time limits, sign-up procedures, and content restrictions, ensuring you are well-prepared and can showcase your best work. Finding the right venue can make your experience more successful.
Knowing what type of audience you’ll be performing for is essential. Some open mic nights draw in a more mature crowd, while others cater to a younger demographic. Some events even have specific themes, such as poetry or hip-hop nights. Research various open mic nights in your area and attend a few as an audience member. You’ll get a sense of which event will be best for you. Don’t be afraid to ask other performers for recommendations. If you’re new to open mic nights, starting with smaller events before moving on to larger venues is a good idea. It will help you build confidence and get comfortable performing in front of an audience.
Choosing the Right Material
Once you’ve found your open mic night, select material that matches the tone and audience. The key to nailing an open mic performance is selecting the appropriate material. You want to choose pieces that highlight your strengths and resonate with the audience. Avoid performing pieces that are controversial, offensive, or too long. Focus on the work that showcases your unique voice and tap into what the audience wants to hear. Start by choosing something you’re comfortable with, showcasing your strengths as an artist. But don’t be afraid to push your boundaries by trying out new material. Before taking the stage, practice and time your piece. Most open mic nights have a time limit, so make sure your performance fits. Choosing the right content for your staged performance is one of the most crucial steps. We advise selecting familiar material you know well, reflecting your artistry’s message. If you are a musician, choose a song you can perform confidently. If you are a writer, choose a piece representing your style and capturing the audience’s attention. Moreover, make sure the material is appropriate for the venue and audience.
Prepare Yourself Mentally
The thought of performing in front of others can be intimidating, so practice visualization techniques, deep breathing exercises, and positive affirmations to calm nerves. Visualize your performance and receive warm applause from the audience. Rehearse in front of your kids. Isn’t that what they’re there for? 🤭
As a mother/parent, you may have personal stories to share that can connect with audiences. It’s essential to relate with your audience and build rapport. Be sure to introduce yourself to the venue owner and other performers. A simple introduction and a quick chat after your performance can go a long way. Not only will it help you build a relationship with the venue, but it can also lead to collaborative opportunities with other performers down the line.
Networking is vital to success in the performing arts industry. Open mic nights provide a great opportunity to connect with other performers and venue owners who can offer you options in the future. Feel free to share your contact information or social media handles. You never know whom you might meet at an open mic night, so being friendly and open to new connections is important. After the open mic, attend other events where your new connections perform. Building relationships with these people can lead to future collaborations, bookings, and opportunities.
Take Advantage of Feedback
Open mic nights offer the chance to receive feedback from audiences and other performers. Use this opportunity to improve your skills and connect with other artists. Be open to criticism and take time to reflect on the comments you receive. Remember that constructive feedback is essential for growth. Unfortunately, not every performance will be a hit. Sometimes, the audience may not respond in the way you hoped. But don’t take it personally! Instead, take it as a learning opportunity. Solicit feedback from other performers and audience members to understand what worked and what didn’t. Most open mic nights embrace constructive feedback to help performers grow. Additionally, open mic nights can lead to professional opportunities, such as invitations to perform at other events, collaborations, and recording opportunities.
Record Your Performance
Recording your performance is an excellent way to critique your performance after the event and determine areas for improvement. It can also provide material for sharing on social media platforms, helping to increase your reach and following. Before taking the stage, ensure you have permission to record your performance. Filming allows you to review your work later, improve, and share your progress with others. You can post the recording on your social media pages or YouTube channel or use it to apply for paid gigs. Additionally, you can use the footage to showcase your talent to potential fans, investors, and collaborators.
Participating in open mic nights offers numerous benefits. For one, it’s an opportunity to practice your craft, whether singing, stand-up comedy, or poetry. It’s also a chance to experiment and test new materials without the pressure of traditional performance. Open mic nights can also help you grow your audience and gain exposure, as many events are free and open to the public. Look at all the possibilities: gaining exposure, improving your performance skills, building your network, trying out new material, and getting audience feedback. You never know; if you share this article with your artist friends, you may meet another mom doing the same thing. Open mic nights are a supportive and encouraging environment where you can connect with and learn from other artists who are on a similar path.
Navigating open mic nights can be a valuable experience for performing artists. By starting small, selecting appropriate material, connecting with other performers and venue owners, and benefiting from the experience, mothers in the performing arts can continue to pursue their passions and expand their reach. Whether you’re just starting or a seasoned performer, open mic nights offer a valuable opportunity to connect with others, hone your skills, and share your talent with live audiences. So why not give it a try? You might just be surprised at what you can achieve. So, go out there and shine!
We have a starter list for you, just below. Be sure to comment below with your ideas and experiences!
Add to Our List of Open Mics!
This started as a long list and got shorter and shorter. We took out anything that didn’t look like it was currently offering open mics. Help it grow? We know the list is small and regional, but here is our list from June 2023 for:
Open Mics 413
Bishop’s Lounge – Northampton, MA
The Rendezvous – Turners Falls, MA
The Dream Away Lodge – Becket, MA
Wurst Haus– Northampton, MA
Play Incubation Collective Pic Salon– various locations in the 413
Luthier’s Co-op – Easthampton, MA
Paradise East Open Mic Night -Northampton, MA
Workshop 13 – Ware, MA
The Stomping Ground– Putnam, CT
Irish Ale House– Springfield, MA
Hitchcock Brewing Company– Bernardston, MA
Open Mic listings:
Eventbrite listing for Northampton, MA open mic June 2023
Boston Comedy Open Mics -all of Massachusetts