I just returned last week from a trip to Spain, the UK and Germany to meet up with some musical collaborators (ok, and I admit, also to go to the beach and get some sun). Here are some tips that occurred to share with you while I was traveling, to help you take advantage of your travel to benefit your music.
1) Network before you go and while you’re there.
I recently went to Barcelona. A couple weeks before going, I looked on Spain’s equivalent of Craigslist, loquo.es, in the music section just to see what was there. I found an open mic night, even advertised in English.
I also connected with a musician friend-of-a-friend by checking first to see if some of my closest friends knew any musicians in Barcelona.
2) Keep charts and lyrics on your smartphone or iPad.
It’s taken me an embarrassingly long time to think of my smartphone as a second computer, but of course it is. (It has about half as much storage space as my first laptop!)
Your phone is always with you; your computer is not! And when traveling, it’s often inconvenient to find a printer.
So I found while traveling that I relied several times on charts and lyrics I had copied to my phone.
3) Always have several standard songs you’re prepared to sing on a moment’s notice.
The genre is up to your area of expertise, but when someone finds out you’re a singer they’re probably going to ask you to sing. Take advantage of it! I sat in on three gigs in the UK, and thank goodness we had several jazz standards in common.
4) Be prepared to sing with or without a stage or a microphone.
I sang while seated in the corner of a restaurant in Hamburg. I sang in the walkway of an English pub, near the door. I sang on the street at Stratford-upon-Avon. Go with it.
5) Always carry CDs.
People are most likely to buy CDs right after you perform, so take any opportunity to do so, and then mention your CD. You never know when you’re going to sell one. You can’t sell ’em if you don’t have ’em with you.
And when you hail from a distant land, you’re more of a novelty and have an even better chance of selling CDs than you do when in your hometown.
(c) 2011 Adrienne Osborn