Header for How to Get Back on Stage in 2022

How to get back on stage in 2022

After two years of livestreams, canceled tours and false starts, live music is officially back in 2022. Artists are getting back on the road, and fans are excited to head out and see music in real life.

That means you should be hitting the road too, or at least making some appearances on stages in your area.

But after so much time away from performing, you’re likely (and understandably) a bit rusty. Maybe you’re nervous, excited, or a little bit of both. Don’t worry. We have six tips to help you deliver your best performance.

1. Rehearse! Rehearse! Rehearse!

Yes, this bears stating three times, three hundred times, three thousand times: The absolute most important thing you need to do before you perform onstage is rehearse.

We don’t blame you if you’ve relaxed your practice regimen over the past couple years. But you’ll need to be discipled if you’re going to play live again. Singing in your basement is not a suitable replacement for performing in front of 100 or even 10 people. Nothing is.

If you’re in a band that’s somehow managed to rehearse virtually without pulling your hair out, it’s time to start playing together in person again. Practicing IRL is obviously the best way to prep your stage show. Just make sure to gauge everyone’s comfort level regarding masks, no masks, vaccine status, etc.

2. Test your gear

Cables crackle. Strings break. Synths that go unused still collect dust.

Plug everything in. Run through your set with all the gear you normally use. Make sure everything is in working order.

Because one thing hasn’t changed since the Before Times: venues hate when bands take forever to get on and off the stage.So if you haven’t played at a venue in years, you should even practice your load in, set up, and tear-down.

3. Shake off the rust with a low-risk performance

Chances are some venue in your area hosts an open mic. This is a great way to shake the rust off before any triumphant “official” return to the stage.

Why? Well, you can make mistakes and no one will care. Like Planet Fitness, an open mic is a judgment free zone. If you’re really uncomfortable, you can bail after a few songs without worrying that the audience paid a door-fee. The audience (if there is one) has few expectations.

And if open mics aren’t your thing, maybe there’s an informal basement show or other small gig in your area where the stakes are low.

4. Value your physical health

Unless you have a home gym or you’re disciplined about getting outside, the pandemic years have been rough on most of our bodies. We’ve been sedentary and have dealt with anxiety or poor eating habits.

That’s completely understandable, but if you’re heading back to the stage you’ll need to be in better shape. And that doesn’t just mean getting back on the treadmill or hitting the weights; if you’re a vocalist, your vocal cords might be out of shape too. Same goes if you play drums and lost some stamina behind the kit. Get back into playing shape before you perform to a packed house.

5. Be kind to yourself

We’ve all experienced something we never expected during the pandemic. It will take a long time to process these experiences.

Don’t assume you’ll be 100% normal just because some things appear to be normal again. Take it slow. If you’re still not comfortable getting onstage or mingling in a crowded room, don’t do it. If your first show back isn’t stellar, forgive yourself. If your old audience didn’t show up in droves, don’t resent them.

We’re emerging from a two-year hibernation, and everyone is in a different place.

6. Prepare for sparse gigs, but stay ready

There’s fierce competition for gigs right now. Touring artists are trying to hit the road all at once with fewer venues to accommodate them.

That means you might not get as many gigs as you used to, but you have to stay ready. Stick to a frequent rehearsal schedule regardless of whether you’ve booked gigs or not. That way you’re always on your game.

You never know when there might be a last-minute opportunity.

This checklist highlights just a few of the things you’ll want to consider as you prepare to play live again. For more tips on getting your music career back on track in 2022, watch or listen to our full podcast episode “The Post-Pandemic Plan for Musicians”:


Are you planning to get back on the road this year? Let us know in the comments!