Open Mic Nights

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

Teens love Open Mic Nights! Promote a supportive performance environment for all skill levels that reflects your teens’ diverse styles and musical tastes. Increase collaboration by featuring bands and group performances along with solo acts. Encourage your teens to lead these events, empowering participants to develop their leadership skills. 

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How to… 

Staff members provide inspiration to all their participants by supporting frequent Open Mic Nights.

  • Create a regular schedule (e.g. 1st Thursday of the month).  Participants stay motivated and grow musically when given a goal to work towards.
  • Set up a weekly Open Studio time and regular set of workshops to help participants prepare.
    • Participants choose the songs they want to learn with the goal of performing at the next Open Mic 
    • Help some participants collaborate to 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 
    • Encourage performances by solo acts or studio collaborations 
    • 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 – In addition to performers, rally other teens to help:
    • Design flyers and marketing plans. 
    • Make a setlist.
    • Set up equipment and lighting, and run the soundboard. 
    • Act as the Open Mic emcee.
    • Promote and support the performers
  • Transform the vibe of your music room into a concert venue
    • When 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), friends, and family members. 
  • Promote a supportive environment 
    • “We are all still learning” attitude. 
    • Audience cheers for everyone despite skill level (discourage booing). 
    • Ask the audience to encourage/cheer when nerves are high. 
    • Don’t pressure a participant who is not feeling ready to perform.
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