Monday, September 28, 2009

My two best gig friends

Hey everyone,

Last weekend I was getting ready for a gig and I came to realize my two best friends that help me in this endeavor.

My ipod and my GPS unit.

Almost all the gigs I do include some tunes I don't yet know so I have to spend some time learning them. Typically I'll block an hour or so out of one of my practice sessions to do this, but I also like to review the songs right before the gig. This is where my ipod comes in handy. I just plug it into my car's stereo and play the songs through a few times while I drive to the gig. This helps me ensure that the songs are fresh in my mind and I'll play them accurately on the gig.

Prior to this method I would always be fumbling with CDs in the car, having to swap them out if I had multiple songs to know. This is dangerous to do while driving and having to carry around multiple CD's is a pain. Nowadays I just load the songs into iTunes and then upload them to my iPod. Simple.

I create playlists in iTunes for each group I work with. Whenever the bandleader sends new songs I just put them in the appropriate playlist. This helps me keep track of all the material I have to know. Trust me, once you start working with multple bands, it gets complicated! I then sort the songs by the date uploaded so I know that the songs at the top of the list are the newest ones. Then I sync this all onto my iPod.

This technique makes it easy for me to play them in the car - I just plug in the ipod, select the appropriate playlist, and hit play. I know that the first songs I hear will be the new ones.

GPS System
We all own certain gadgets that we can't go without (and wonder how we existed prior to their invention). Well, my GPS system is such a device. It is so easy even a drummer can do it! ;-)

I'll get the address to the gig venue from the bandleader and enter it into the system before I leave the house to go to the gig. Then I mount it in the car and away I go. It's a lot safer than reading printouts (or worse my own writing) and the system always calculates the quickest possible route to the destination. My system even has traffic alerting capability - this has saved me from being VERY late on several occasions.

When the gig is over and it's time to go home, my system has my home address programmed into it so all I have to do is press the 'Go Home' button and it guides me back to la casa de Jeff. Very slick.

Another great feature is I can save all of the trips I've taken (I'm not sure how much the system can store - I have over 50 so far). This is convenient when I'm doing taxes and I need to calculate my mileage. (You do keep track of your mileage right??) My system has software that allows me to connect it to my computer via bluetooth. I can download all the trips and save them in a spreadsheet. Again, very slick.

So, if you want to streamline your gig preparation, I highly recommend investing in these two nifty gadgets. They save time and help keep the stress away! Until next time, happy gigging!!

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