Preparations

Ever wonder what goes into show preparation? Quite a bit. Let's look at an upcoming competition, for example. From a large pool of entries, 14 acts, including myself, have moved from the video submission round to the live audition round and advanced to the live semifinal round.

The Michigan State Fair Superstar competition is just under a month away, and preparations are already well under way. I've been working on song selection, memorization, arrangements, set lists, and more for weeks now. With my final show before the competition now behind me, it's time to really ramp up rehearsals.

With that in mind, I've organized my music room, cleaned out the things I won't be needing, and brought in the tools I'll likely be including on stage.

I've included instruments, pedals, and a music stand while I work on my evolving version of the assigned song. In the stand is my trusty Taylor 114e 6 string guitar, my mandolin, and a 6 string guitalele, and near the door is a 4 string cigar box guitar. I've also included a stand for video recording my rehearsals, stereo microphones for capturing room audio, and I can capture the feed directly from my mixer simultaneously, as well.

The instrument mic, shown just above center can be routed to the loop pedal or into the mixer, depending on what I decide I need. You can also see my porchboard stompbox pedal, my harmony pedal, and a tambourine. I have lots of sonic options available, and many that could be incorporated if I feel it's a good idea as I get closer to the final show design.

This is my view from the microphone. Large full length mirrors are always helpful so I can see how different motions and expressions look, and work on minimizing the stuff that makes me look silly.

There's lots of work to do, and not a lot of time to do it, but at least I have the space and tools I need to do my best. My semifinal performance is from 8-1:15 on Friday, September 1st. The top 5 perform a half hour set the next night between 5 and 10pm. The winner, runner up and honorable mention perform again on Sunday, with the winner has two 45 minute sets.

In other words, everyone needs to treat this competition as if they have already won, and have a full hour and a half minimum prepared, and be ready to hit the stage running on Sunday.

It's go time, wish me luck!

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