During GNUF I had the pleasure to attend Mims workshop that was titled “From Seat to Stage: Map out Your Musical Journey”. It was not a traditional ukulele workshop where you learn new skills (we actually didn’t even use our ukes once) but 1,5 hours filled with lots of encouragement and great tips on how to hit the stage.
In addition to all the great encouragement Mim gave us a worksheet to map out our musical journey. It had some really great questions and things to think about on it, that’s why I want to share it with you – (if you have the chance to attend the workshop with Mim, do so. It is absolutely worth it and you’ll come out with a new sense for yourself, your art and lots of encouragement).
So, first up on the worksheet was the question about my ultimate goal. Yep, pretty tough one but the answer was actually easy for me: “be happy !!” (I actually wrote it with two exclamation points, though I usually never use those because I find them pretty rude). The answer was true back in May and it is still true today and I really hope it will be true for the rest of my life. After that first easy answer, I started to think of it in terms of my music. What is my ultimate goal with my music and I wrote down: “Touch people with my own songs”. Again, I still find this very true. I write songs and make music for myself, but ultimately I want people to listen to my songs and I want to evoke an emotion. I want people to feel something when they listen to my songs.
Second part of the worksheet was about myself as an artist. What is my name – that was easy, I am nikky.and.the.ukulele.
Define yourself? Getting more difficult but I wrote down: “I am a singer-songwriter”. I feel that’s true. I write my own songs and I also perform them. I am having a hard time to put my music into any kind of genre, so I guess the singer-songwriter fits (at least for now).
Describe yourself? What would I want people to say after my gig? It’s getting really difficult. I had no idea what to write down but finally came up with: “touching, relatable, authentic, fun”. Seeing this now, I would probably describe it as connection. So what I really want people to say about me, is that they felt a connection. A connection between me and my music and them.
Last question of this section was to present myself. Mim said something very important about that. When you’re about to hit the stage, you have to be stage ready. This includes not only music, lyrics, instruments etc. but also yourself – your clothes, your hair, the way you act, the way you engage. I thought this was interesting because a lot of people have asked me about my clothes in the last 1,5 years and whether the way I dress was for special occasions only (aka festivals and going out) or if I go to work like that. And you know what. I do go to work like that. Same outfits, same make-up (incl. pink/red lipstick). And you know why. Because I hit the stage almost every day. In my job I do a lot of presentations, moderations, attend lots of meetings and therefore I hit the stage quite regularly. And I dress accordingly. And even though I might act a bit different when I’m on stage with my ukulele, than when I am on stage at work, it’s me both times. And being me doesn’t need a different outfit. Tbh, having a stage outfit to hide behinde might actually make it easier, because with being me, there’s nothing to hide behind.
The next section on the worksheet was about a “goal buddy”. Someone who also has a goal and you can support each other. I left it blank. I couldn’t think of anyone. Why? Because I am used to being my own goal buddy. But now that I think about it, I should probably write down my husband. He might not have the same goals as I do, but he does have my back and supports me in any way he can. I also have my vocal and ukulele coaches who support me. It might not be the traditional goal buddy, but I do have an amazing support system in place.
After all those tough questions it was time to set some micro goals. Meaning small goals, that are achievable in a set amount of time.
Micro Goal #1: Play my two song set on Mims stage at GNUF – 11.05.2019
Micro Goal #2: Play open mic at Austrian Ukulele Festival – 26.05.2019
Micro Goal #3: Learn all my seven songs for Oslo Ukulele Festival off book – 20.06.2019
Micro Goal #4: Hit main stage at Oslo Ukulele Festival – 22.06.2019
All those four goals I wrote down were in a very near future and have happened by now. I hit all the goals, I did great. However there was a fifth goal I wrote down, that I am not sharing right now ;). I’ll tell you all about it when it happened.
Try it out
It really helped me out to think about all those things. To hit the stage and make a lasting impression it’s important to know who you are and why you’re doing this. It’s important to have that stage persona, know how this persona might me you or a special aspect of you. If you’re unsure about hitting the stage, the questions above might be helpful. So try it out for yourself.