Feedback on open mic night

Hi all,

I’m new to this community and have come here after watching Justin’s singing video. I’m also very new to open mics and have only done 3 (the 3rd being earlier this week).

I feel even in this short space of time I’ve got a lot more comfortable at performing but watching the other performances on the night I’m asking the questions ‘how can I improve?’. There were some really great guitarists and singers there and I want to know a little bit about what separates them from me. Therefore, I was hoping some of you could watch my performance and give me some feedback on what you think (please be nice). If you see this could you maybe tell me what you like so I can keep doing that going forward and what you didn’t like so I can work on that or change it.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

The link to the performance on YouTube is below:


Kudos on getting out there and playing George. One of the things not to do too much is compare yourself to others… you’ve got no idea how long they have been playing for and it’s almost certainly longer than you.

How long have you actually been playing? If not long I really wouldn’t worry more practice and more effort and you’ll improve.

Don’t be too hard on yourself.

The above said ( and the video isn’t the best judge from) I would suggest a few things to look at.

First I don’t think the song is the greatest for acoustic ( great for a band not so much solo) so you might want to look at something else.

Second you haven’t got the vocal phrasing quite right in parts so you’re your rushing or squeezing words in and it all sounds a bit messy. I would listen hard to the original and sing along with it until you can sing that song as it sounds on the record ( without playing along). Then start doing it whilst playing.

Third there are no dynamics in your playing so it all sounds a bit the same all the way through with no variation. Have a look in YT and see if anyone else does it acoustically it might give you some ideas on how to jazz things up. Justin has some lessons on dynamics and mixing things up between verses and choruses. The overall rhythm also varies a bit ( maybe because you’re trying to fit the singing in) so focus on keeping it nice and tight tempo wise.

Not sure if the above helps. Again it’s all about practice and you’re doing great just getting out there.


Welcome, George!

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Hey George, welcome to the community!

You are sounding great! There is so much to love in this performance. Your vocals are on the pitch, and you sound like you are feeling what you are singing. Your rhythm feel is good.

I’d like to give you a few suggestions that I think you can quickly improve on some and sound better, and I feel would answer some of what separates other guitarists who are further into their journey:

  • Dynamics throughout the song. Your vocals and guitar were about the same loudness throughout. You added some dynamics towards the end but you can vary it a lot more throughout the whole song. Here is a great video from Justin on this: Strumming Dynamics for Beginners | Transform Your Play! - YouTube
  • Your strumming sounds great but a bit nervous at the moment, which is completely normal. Over time, especially your right hand will relax and sound more natural.
  • The way you strum the chords is the same throughout the whole song at the moment. Listen to any acoustic performance from a professional guitarist and you can notice that they will almost never strum two consecutive chords in the same exact way. They always vary it a little bit. It is something I’m struggling myself as I lose time feel when I vary too much, but it is one that adds a lot to sounding professional.
  • There’s a lot more you could do with your chord strumming. You could switch between playing arpeggios and strumming chords, add passing notes to chord changes, use more imaginative strumming patterns, use more interesting versions of the chords (e.g. play a dominant chord instead of a major V chord), and a million other ways you could make it a bit more sophisticated.
  • You are adding feeling to your vocals in terms of dynamic range (although you could do this a lot more, you could go very quiet in some parts, shout in others etc.), but they are a bit too much right on the beat. As you sing this song a couple hundred more times, you are likely to find that you can be more relaxed with vocal placement and shift the timing of your vocals slightly forward or backwards at times, which would add to the feel. Obviously, you can improve your vocal quality infinitely, but you are sounding very good already.

Hope these help.

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George, that was awesome. Sounds like you have imposter syndrome to me.

Singing is in tune, guitar playing is steady, in time with clean chord changes. Got a good reaction from the crowd. :+1:

The secret is to feel comfortable enough to play how you like it! Just keep turning up and it will get easier each time. I love hearing different perspectives on songs from folk at open mics, each person has their own style and interpretation.

One of the toughest aspects is learning to relax. I notice I have a super tight grip when performing and strum way too heavy, if you’re aware of it in yourself you can work on it over time. It can be frustrating when you don’t perform as well as how you practice at home.

Keep going, have fun :star_struck:

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Welcome to the Community, George.

Sounded good to me, in context of an Open Mic early days performance recorded on a phone. Some good feedback and tips already provided.

I’m just going to amplify this and suggest you post an intro in #community-hub:introduce-yourself that shares a little personal background, guitar history, and goals/aspirations as a student and member of JustinGuitar community.

That will help people to observe and experience your performance in some context and offer feedback that will encourage and enable learning and improvement.

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Hello George and welcome to our community. :slight_smile:

I enjoyed your performance. Some great advice from above, I’ll not give any though as I’ve never a done a real world OM and I’m still working through things myself.

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Hi George,
I really can’t add to what has already been said. It’s great that you are getting out and performing in front of people. Welcome to the community!

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You mentioned that you watched Justin’s singing video. I thought your vocal was very good. Enjoyed the whole performance. I’ve done a lot of open mics, I find them really fun and a great way to join a community. Keep it up!

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congrats on having the courage to do this! you sound amazing btw :slight_smile:

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Oh wow, I’ve only just seen all these replies. Thank you so much everyone for your support and help. I’ve definitely got some great tips to go away and focus on for my next performance and I feel a lot more confident now which is a big bonus.

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Thank you so much!

Thank you! I’ve definitely found them useful. I plan to do more going forward as I find they’ve been a good goal to focus on.

Thank you. :blush:

Thank you. I know I’m not the most experienced person but I would definitely say just get up there and do it. Everyone is (normally) very supportive and welcoming

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Thank you this very helpful. I will make sure I post something over there :blush:

Thank you for your comment, means a lot. I think you are right and one big thing I’ve taken away from this is a confidence boost. That will confidence will hopefully transfer to the stage.

I know exactly what you mean about the stiff hands aswell while playing. I feel a bit like a robot sometimes when I’m up there. But it’s getting better :blush:

These tips are gold!! Thank you so much. I’ve just watched that dynamics video and have applied it to the song and it is already sounding better. Crazy how something so small can make such a big diffenrence. I guess it is all in the detail :blush:

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Thank you :blush:

This is very helpful thank you.

I’ve been playing guitar for about 6 years now (so quite a long time) and I’ve been singing now for maybe 2.

I just found actually going up on stage was so different to practicing at home. It‘a great tk hear this feedback so I can go away and focus on something for when I play another open mic. :blush: