Guidelines for featured artists


Duration of performance:

20 minutes total

Please, please, please: rehearse your program with a time-piece.

I know this sounds like something that should not have to be said, but some of our worst offenders have been among our most experienced featured performers.

The steps are simple:

  1. Compose a complete program, aimed at 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Start your timepiece.
  3. Perform your program to an empty room.
  4. While rehearsing, include general remarks as well as any introductions for the individual pieces.
  5. Stop your timepiece at the end of each rehearsal of your program.
  6. If your program goes longer than 20 minutes, cut something.

During your actual performance, maintain awareness of the time you are spending with introductions.  We’ve seen these things get out of hand.  Based on your rehearsals, you should know in advance what you are going to say between each piece.  I strongly urge you to construct a program of 15 minutes, which then leaves you breathing space to talk between pieces as the feel of the room may move you.

If you do these steps, you will never need to ask the host if you have time for another piece.


Please do not ask, “Do I have time for another piece?”

If you really must ask, then you do NOT have time.  Either you don’t know your times, in which case you are almost certainly running long, or you do know your times and you are asking the audience to tell you they love you by asking for more of the beauty you have brought.  Very bad showmanship either way.  If the question arises in your head, do NOT give voice to it.  Instead, wrap up your performance immediately.


Typical Program:

7:00 (or so) Sign-up begins for open mike

7:30 (or so) to 8:00 Introductory music

8:00 Brief opening remarks from the host then open mike launches

8:40-ish Featured performer

9:00-ish Featured performer finishes, musical meditation, break

9:15-ish Break ends with one song (5 minutes or less)

In the second portion of the evening, we finish out the entire open mike sign-up list.

10:00, 10:30, 11:00, something like that: Open mike finishes and a last song.


Please remember:

This is an open mike, with a featured artist added on.  You would not be there if it weren’t for our open-mikers, not the other way around.

Our attendees have come to be listened to, not to listen. The listening they do is their payment for getting heard.  This is the standard contract for all open mikes.  We conduct the evening in respectful service to this contract.  This is why we urge you to respect the time and attention of our open mike performers by staying within your allotted performance period.