Well, here we are. At the time of this article, we are coming up on almost 2 years since the beginning of the pandemic. As professional or aspiring musicians, we don’t need to reopen the pain of the wounds this unprecedented time has had on our industry.

Let us remember the good times. Let us fondly recall the greatest feeling in the world – playing at a sold-out venue or an intimate gathering. Let us remember that moment when everybody is feeling the music, the energy is flowing back and forth and after your set, and you are not exhausted but supercharged.

It truly is the greatest connection in the world.

While the timeline for the return of big shows remains murky at best, one saving grace of this pandemic has arisen and is also, apparently, here to stay. The rise of the live stream has been perpetuated by a combination of both venue closures and viewers’ thirst for live music.

And in that lies an opportunity for you, the performing guitarist.

In this article, we’re going to cover some of the technical requirements and creative considerations that you will want to take into account when setting up your virtual guitar performance.

Technical Stuff

Let’s dive right in and get the technical components out of the way. Depending on the level of extravagance you are going for – and your budget limitations (or not – lucky you!) you will need at a bare minimum a good smartphone with a decent camera and a strong internet connection. If you are looking for a little more production value (never a bad idea) you might consider using a device such as an Irig to connect multiple cameras or phones to your livestream.

There are a couple of different versions of this hub available out there ranging from $50 – 150. We aren’t going to dive into a step-by-step of setting it up. For right now, we’re going to stick to the high-level, fun stuff. An Irig will help you to maximize your performance whether you are using 1 phone or several camera angles, and here’s the main reason why:

You can hook up your audio straight to your device which gives a better quality of audio, rather than using your iPhone microphone and clipping it out – yuck. Your audience isn’t going to spend a lot of time viewing your performance if you are recording your set using a phonemic.

With that in mind, we come to our next consideration.

What Channel Should You Play On?

This is where it gets a little sticky. Different channels for live streaming have been popping up from familiar names – the usual suspects like YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram now allow you to put a show on live, but you may not have heard of some of the newer kids on the block.

Twitch has become a hot candidate. This channel got its start in gaming but has quickly turned into one of the most popular live stream channels going and there is a good reason for that which you should consider, especially if you play covers. Lastly, Reddit has introduced Reddit Public Access Network (RPAN) which allows live streaming and is very popular among musicians!

The bigger names in social media like Facebook and YouTube have copyright algorithms that are notorious for shutting down shows at the worst possible time. Alternative channels such as Twitch and Zoom aren’t quite as harsh on the copyright algorithms, so if you are going to play anything other than original works, you may want to consider that.

Of course, the tradeoff is that the established heavyweights also come with a larger audience, so the choice is yours to make. There will likely be some trial and error getting your performances off the ground, so take it in stride, and don’t worry if you get shut down – there’s always another channel to try.

The Fun Stuff

With all the techy mumbo jumbo out of the way, it’s time to get creative. We’re talking set decorating, show format, intro animations, and more. All of these little details that you put into creating a mood – a vibe that compliments your sound, matters more than you might think. Here’s a thought – nobody said you have to do this in your room or at home at all!

Finding a unique location can be a great way to draw in listeners and increase audience engagement with your performance, so get creative and have fun with it. If you are having fun, that will translate through the stream just like any other performance.

If you want to learn more about how to set up a professional quality livestream for your guitar performance, check us out at MI College of Contemporary Music. We can help you learn more tips and tricks to help make your next virtual performance stand out!

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