This amazing image makes me think about preparing for a sporting adventure – one that is extreme and physical. A lot of people might not think of singing in public as an extreme sport or adventure, but it can be! It is holistic and involves your time and energy, commitment and physicality.
In the same way that we prepare both our bodies and our baggage for a sport or travel adventure, we should prepare our support kit for our vocal adventures. I choose to call this my “gig bag”…because I refer to any vocal commitment as a gig, and the stuff I need for this goes in my gig bag. You could call it anything you like!
In the business of singing and performing, whether paid or volunteer, there are particular items that you will reach for on a regular basis. Some are predictable and often used, others are less obvious and only occasionally used. Some might even feel more like a just-in-case insurance policy.
Here is a list of items for you to consider putting together as a support kit for your vocal adventures – I’m sure it will help you think of other things to include as well! It is mostly applicable to all singing and performance styles, but a few will better suit, for example, theatres, or pubs, or outdoor venues…
You might want to obtain a couple of different sized bags for different needs. If you are singing outside your home practice space often, then having a stocked bag is ideal and saves you time getting things together. And when you run out of something – replace it straight away!
Places you might take a gig bag:
- Singing lessons
THE STUFF IN THE BAG
- Steam inhaler
- Saline spray
- Non-medicated lozenges
- Personal medicine
- Chewing gum
- Ear plugs
- Thermos of hot water
- Salt (for warm water gargle)
- Herbal tea
- Protein snacks
- Barley sugar
- Hand sanitiser
- Deodorant (non-aerosol, low-perfume)
- The Work
- Script, libretto
- Recording device
- Clothing – check underwear jewellery
- Shoes (eg dancing, loading in, performing etc)
- Set lists, cue sheets etc
- Music stand
- Mic & leads
- In Ear Monitors
- Spare glasses
- Gaffa tape
- Bobby pins
- Safety pins
- Hair & make-up supplies
- Relaxed clothing for a walk or stretching
- Outdoor venues
- Portable chair
- Extra food/water supplies
- Contingency clothing plan in case there is nowhere to get changed
- Pegs or bulldog clips
You can download a handy checklist here.
Baxter, M. (1990). The Rock-N-Roll Singer’s Survival Manual. Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation, Milwaukee.
Rutherford, N. (2012). Musical Theatre Auditions and Casting. Methuen Drama, London.
Wilson, P. W. (2013). The Singing Voice: An Owner’s Manual (Second Ed.) Lazy O’Rhinus Press, Sydney.
Zangger Borch, D. (2005). Ultimate Vocal Voyage. Notfabriken Music Publishing, Sweden.