‘Practice makes perfect’ is more than some ancient proverb your parent’s have probably overused at this point, but it’s really very accurate.
As a growing artist, you probably know how important practice is for improvement. You might know your instrument inside and out, and you might have a handle on singing and memorizing lyrics now, but what’s next? How about playing out to a crowd of strangers?
That’s a scary thought. But you know what people say: sometimes the scariest things are the most fulfilling! I know I cannot get up in front of a crowd and act like a normal human being without sweating profusely and having my wobbly knees betray me. Fortunately, I know that stage fright is something that can go away, or at least get easier. It’s scary, but not impossible.
Open Mic’s are a great place to start. Artists of different ages and experience levels come together under a very important commonality: they want to be heard. Showing up to an Open Mic will not only be a great way to push yourself to practice playing in front of a crowd, but you’ll also begin to gain confidence from that, as well as be able to network with musicians of all levels. It’s great to support and make connections with other musicians. You never know what you might be able to learn from or help someone else with. The music scene is a community, and you can strengthen your own self by getting involved in it.
If you aren’t ready to play out just yet, check one out anyway. They’re usually at coffee shops or bars, so grab a drink and check out the local music scene. Talk to the artists and build relationships. Find out for yourself and then get up there! Even if you’re nervous, just go for it. You’ve got nothing to lose!
I’ve compiled a short list for you about several Open Mic’s in the surrounding area. There are plenty more out there, Google is your friend. And, as I’ve said, the more musicians you meet at these might know of more places!
Do you know of any other Open Mic’s you’d like to tell people about? Post them in the comment section and add them to the list!
The Ridgewood Coffee Company
phone: (201) 493-1002
info: Monday nights. Sign-up is at 6 PM, performances start around 6:30 PM.
It’s a first come, first serve basis. An artist (depending on how many are signed up) will be able to perform 2-3 songs each. Mic & amp are provided.
Cool Beans International Coffee & Teas
phone: (201) 634-1400
info: Every other Sunday. Sign-up is at 6/6:30 PM, performances start at 7 PM. There is a $3 cover for performers & audience members. An artist may perform 3 songs each. Piano, mic, & amp. are provided. Must call ahead of time to bring for approval to bring in a bigger instrument like a drum kit.
The Fine Grind Coffee Bar
Little Falls, NJ
phone: (973) 837-0199
info: Sunday nights. Sign-up is at 7 PM, performances from 7:30-9:30 PM. It’s a first come, first serve basis with 10 available slots. An artist may perform for 10 minutes. Sound board, speakers, & mic provided.
phone: (973) 744-1333
info: Wednesday from 7 PM until 12 PM. Sign-up upon arrival. 2-3 songs per performer.
phone: (845) 358-3120
info: Wednesday nights at 9:30 PM. They have a whole band set up but artists are welcomed to bring their own instruments. Artists may perform up to 3 or 4 songs.
Caffé á la Mode
phone: (845) 986-1223
info: Friday nights. Sign-up is at 6 PM, performances start at 7:30 PM. It’s a first come, first serve basis. An artist will have 15 min. to perform. Mic & amp. provided.
phone: (845) 987-2050
info: Thursday nights. Sign-up is at 6:30 PM, performances start at 7 PM. It’s a first come, first serve basis. An artist will be able to perform about 3-4 songs. PA system & mics provided.
Fair Lawn, NJ
phone: (201) 797-4878
info: Tuesday nights at 8:30 PM. It’s a first come/first serve basis. Mic & amp. provided.
phone: (201) 384-0900
info: Wednesday nights at 10. An open jam runs from 10-12. Featured artist starts at 9. Sign up starts at 9:30. Artists can perform 2 or more songs depending on length of sign up sheet. They have a whole band set up but artists are welcomed to bring their own instruments. Must be 21+.