I strive to plan my shows ahead of time so I can rehearse when I have small moments here and there and so I’m not rushing in the end. When I book a job, I can expect that many jobs are coming after that, so I like to put together the set list right away to maximize learning time for new lyrics, plan costumes and prepare for the show.  It makes me feel good that one job is planned already  when other stuff starts coming in.  For instance, if I  have an upcoming job in thirty days, and my plan is to put the show together right before the job, that is poor planning.  If you are a freelance performer like I am, several other jobs might come up before, which might use up the time that I originally planned to rehearse.  The problem is that I wouldn’t have expected that time to be used and now, I’m stuck not having time for either job.

We have stresses that we have to brush off as we perform, so creating less stress to start is smart. Organization is key to reduce stress with upcoming jobs.  And, we all know that preparedness is an essential key to having a great show.  So here’s my tip of the day.  When you book a job, find out the parameters quickly. Every time I get booked I set the show up immediately and then I put all the playlists on my phone and rehearse them when Im sitting around.  That way if you get busy you will already have it done.  My planning tips include creating your iTunes playlist immediately.

  1. Find out how long of show they want, and plan your show the minute you get the information.
  2. Find out what songs the client requires.
  3. Go to your iTunes and create a playlist called “whatever the job is”  June 12 booking, 80’s Madonna, etc.  I like this because next time I book a show, I know these are my latest tracks, etc., and can create new playlists from these playlists and save time, even if it’s not the exact same show.
  4. When you create a show from an iTunes playlist you will know exactly how long the show is musically.  You can then cut songs accordingly or plan ahead for talking breaks, etc.  *You can also save other information into playlists, like choreography that you created in iMovie or PDF’s that are your charts.
  5. I assume that you have your tracks uploaded in iTunes.  If you do not not, follow these steps
  6. You must select the song and right click to prefer the way to open your songs.  Simply select iTunes to be your preferred way to open a song.
  7. When the song opens in the top bar in iTunes and as it is playing, drag your mouse over it.
  8. As the song plays in iTunes you will see blue dots like this … next to the song. Click the dots to select your playlist and it will send the songs to your playlist.
  9. Select your next songs by repeating steps 4 through 6.
  10. Listen to all the tracks transitions and make sure you have not selected faulty tracks, otherwise this is what the audience will hear in your show.  You have time for fixes since your show is in thirty days.
  11. See that all of your tracks are .wav or .mp3 files.  If they are not, you can change them in iTunes by selecting iTunes/preferences got to import settings/ then choose from the drop down menu/ import using mp3 or wav.  Wav files are larger and a higher quality format, and may be difficult to send or download.  Mp3 is generally preferred but I like using the high quality when I perform.
  12. Now go in to your playlist and select the song that needs to be converted. Go to the top bar and select file and scroll down to convert and it will give you the option to select what type to create and select mp3 or wav.  Just make sure everything in the playlist is in the same format.  Repeat this for any songs that are not.
  13. Side note.  If you don’t see the times and kinds of your song files you should select view in the top bar, go to view options and a list shows where you can select all the categories that will show up in your iTunes folders. Select kind and select time also. There are several other iTunes tips that make your iTunes experience easier, but I won’t go into them here.  Look for upcoming articles.
  14. Now above your playlist folders find the Songs folder and go to it.  Open it to see new converted songs.  I have mine in the view where you see the latest entries.  If not select View in the top bar again and then select sort by and then check date added. If  you do this you will see the converted song right on top.  If it’s not you might search for it and select the one you just created by seeing the latest time stamp.
  15. You’ll have to Select the song again to send it to your playlist.(see #6 if you can’t remember how to add this song to your playlist)
  16. Now you can burn a CD by selecting file in the top bar and burn playlist to disk.
  17. Nowadays most people do not use CD’s so if you want to put your tracks onto dropbox or email them or put them on an external flash drive, here are the steps.
  18. Move the playlist to your desktop using these steps.
  19. Open the playlist you’re working on.
  20. You can highlight your songs in the playlist by selecting the first item and using the shift button before selecting the last item, which highlights all of the songs.  Drag them to the desktop.  Now you can drag them to a flash drive or into your dropbox folder or email them.  If you email them you will only be able to do a few at a time in the mp3 format. You won’t be able to email any in the .wav format, those should go through drop box or another way to send large files.

Look for my other tutorials:

1. Edit tracks in Audacity, a free program for MAC or Windows.  It’s a super easy     program.  Download it at  Find Audacity here and then look for my editing article.

2.  iTunes tips for easily navigating your playlist files for set lists.

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