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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Blackcatter Is it Ok to sing from a song book? (539* d) RE: Is it Ok to sing from a song book? 03 Feb 10

I do gigs on a semi-regular basis - 2-3 times a month. all paid and usually with a partner. We always have our lead sheets in front of us on music stands. The stands are low and the print is large so our heads aren't buried in the books.

If I did this as a living and did a regular set list that was unchanged from gig to gig, the aid of the lead sheets would not be needed, BUT we need the lead sheets to remind us occasionally of:

starting a song
key & capo position
additional instruments (tin whistle, harmonica, drum, spoons, jews harp, etc.
key for the additional instruments
parts for each of us
notes about the songs in case people ask

We've got some 60 songs that we regularly pull from and probably another 60 that we can do if someone requests. There is no way with everything else in our busy lives that we can keep all that info in our heads. sorry - if you can, bully for you, but it's not possible for everyone.

As for informal song circle and open-mic nights. These are places for amateurs to have a chance to enjoy what it feels like to perform in public. Telling people they have to do everything YOU do is insensitive and is one of the reasons why amateurs don't come out as often as they could.

I've been co-running a monthly open mic for 16 years and we get all sorts of people up on stage. The last thing we would ever do is tell them they can't have the 'safety' or 'aid' of the words. We are well know for being a safe place for very good performers to try new material. Sometimes they use music and words to aid them.

People here might have forgotten that just performing in public is a huge step for some people in the first place. Anything that can be done to make them comfortable should be done.

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