What’s So Special About Open Mics?

By Chris Nauman

I love being part of the open mic scene for several reasons.  One, is the opportunity to work on new material before a live audience.  As a singer/songwriter, I am always interested in how my new song connects with an audience, my listeners. Also I am interested in how the song feels when I perform it live as opposed to playing it alone in the warm, familiar surroundings of my studio (a.k.a man cave) at home.

Important to me is the ability to connect with my audience and feel a sense of togetherness.  I want to leave the listener with a sense that we have shared something together.  I want to walk away from the performance with the same feeling!  So I look for that in the songs I write and sing.  What better format to have for testing this out than the open mic!

Secondly, the open mic provides an opportunity to practice technical skill.  When I practice my guitar and sing at home, it is a way different beast than when I perform.  Learning a new lick on the guitar is awesome fun.  But then to replicate that on stage with the emotion and intensity I felt as I was playing in the man cave is an altogether separate talent.

You have to practice the art of relaxing in front of a crowd to be a good performer.  Again, the open mic forum provides the “practice space” you need to get it right.  Its kinda like folks who sing great in the shower but choke up otherwise.  If you want to invite an audience into your bathroom, great, go right ahead.  But most of us need another place to get it right.  Open mics are a less steamy but more seemly manner of practicing this.

Lastly, one of the really rewarding parts of the open mic scene is the sense of community it inherently generates.  Many talented artists are my friends and neighbors.  Having a venue where we all can come together and share our art in a comfortable supportive environment is important to nurturing the art that is our music.

Whether you are a songwriter sharing a new song or simply playing one of your favorite songs by another artist, having a forum to do this in is important to your development as an artist.  I know it’s important to my forward movement.

Having the opportunity to network is important to furthering your art. The open mic provides an opportunity to meet other musicians.  This can lead to collaborations that, in turn, might lead to forming a new band or maybe meeting a songwriting partner.  Socially, it provides an opportunity to meet and make new friends with other like-minded artists.

I have made some friends who can offer positive, constructive feedback which has proven to be very helpful to improving my performance and art.  By networking with other musicians, you can learn of other possibilities for gigs too.  I know I’m not going to get that by staying in the man cave.

Chris Nauman’s CD, “Share the World”, is available at: www.cdbaby.com/chrisnauman

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