Open Mic Nights

Forget recitals… create youth-led performances that they look forward to! 

A culminating performance has always been the perfect way to build self-confidence and self-esteem in a young musician. Hosting an Open Mic Night promotes a supportive environment (regardless of skill levels) that is reflects your teen’s diverse styles and musical tastes. They can also be collaborative (featuring bands and groups instead of solo acts, like in a recital) and can be youth-led, empowering participants to take on more leadership opportunities.  

Read More

How to… 

Open Mic Nights become the primary performance opportunity for all participants.

  • Create a regular schedule (e.g. 1st Thursday of the month).  Participants stay motivated and grow musically when given a goal to work towards
  • Use your weekly programming, workshops or lessons to help participants prepare
    • Participants should choose songs they would like to learn and perform
    • Encourage participants to learn songs with the goal of performing at next Open Mic (don’t linger on songs too long… participants will get bored)
    • Help participants collaborate and perform the song in a band 
      • Create a band on their own with their friends
      • If a participant doesn’t have friends ready to play, mentors can use youth leaders or other talented musicians to form a band around them 
    • Individual/solo acts or other studio collaborations are also encouraged to perform
    • Performances can include: Acoustic acts, Vocalists or rappers performing to a track (originals or covers), Showcase original music productions or Music Videos
  • Youth-led event – There are other ways participants can be involved (not just performing on stage). Work with participants to: 
    • Design flyers and Marketing plans 
    • Determine setlist
    • Setup Equipment and lighting and run the sound board 
    • Be the Host or emcee 
    • Promote and support the performers
  • Transform the vibe of your music room into a concert venue
    • If possible, set up a stage with stage lights
    • Encourage dancing, cheering and an overall supportive environment 
    • Invite everyone in the building (e.g. Teen Center participants and staff) and friends/parents 
  • Promote a supportive environment 
    • “We are all still learning” attitude 
    • Audience cheers for everyone despite skill level (discourage booing) 
    • Ask audience to encourage/cheer when nerves are high 
    • Don’t pressure a participant who is not feeling ready to perform
  • Optional: Set a Theme for each Open Mic – ie. “Genre of the Month: 
    • Genre-specific events that promote learning about different styles of music including Hip Hop Showcase, DJ Showcase, Cover Song Showcase, Decades (e.g. 70s night, 80s night, etc.) 
To download a full, editable version

Explore similar resources in Performances