The Dutch singer-songwriter Maarten van Veen already performed at more than hundred living room concerts. He is sharing his best tips about playing and organizing living room concert for both musicians and bookers. This is part one: 6 tips for musicians.
1. Make contact
I keep my best anecdotes for living room concerts. I tell the stories behind the songs, joke in between and ask questions to the visitors that I then answer in the songs. In a pub or club I would never do that, then the focus is much more on the band and pop music with not much text and high energy. But in a living room it’s allowed - look your audience deep in the eye and enchant them ;-)
Maarten van Veen playing in the intimate setting of a living room
2. Keep it spontaneous
Living room concerts are like the palm beaches of the performances. Less tight, nice and relaxed. Sometimes I change my set if that fits better with the atmosphere. Sometimes I change part of the lyrics on the spot in response to something that happens in the room. In reactions and reviews about the performance people often indicate that they really liked having my program adjusted to the occasion. Spontaneity is highly appreciated and a mistake is a less serious problem.
3. Prepare your presentation
I often see musicians who play their songs in an unparalleled way but become very uncomfortable when they announce their next song. That is extra noticeable in the intimacy of a living room ...Singer-songwriter Vincent O'Brien makes music that is perfect suitable for a living room concert with sensitive and beautiful songs
4. Use the playground
You don’t have to fight for attention, because it’s there. So sing your songs with the best lyrics and that are most fragile. Tell about yourself, make it personal. People come to a living room concert to experience something they miss during larger shows: the personal connection. This connection also helps you with the following tip, namely:
5. Encourage people to help you
You have told me about your songs, brought people into jubilation and joked in between. You play your final chord ... And now? It’s the right moment for you to ask people to follow you on social media. Let a tablet circulate that allows visitors to subscribe to your newsletter and invite you to your next shows. If you feel uncomfortable about this, find a way to ask the question in a way that suits you. With a song? With a joke? I always take a special lamp with me, it gives an easy reason to ask if people want to follow you on social media. I also know songwriters that use a guestbook, in which people can write down what they thought of the performance. Let them come to you for that, then you can make a chat and tell about those CDs that you sell.A living room concert can also be only instrumental, like the exciting guitar-play of Antoine Boyer.
6. Bonus: how do you start?
Have not you been busy for a long time and don't you know how to get bookings? At the very beginning, I asked friends to invite their network to their living room. In cities where I did not know anyone I approached residents with a lot of roommates, such as residential groups or student houses. You do not have to wait until someone books you. Just start yourself ;-)