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Musician's Gig Journal | Setlist Designer

After identifying and working out the songs you perform, it's time to design your sets. When Faye and I first started gigging as an acoustic duo, we would spend hours going through printed song sheets, rearranging the order, and painstakingly inserting them into plastic covers and organising them in sequence into ring binders for our performances. However, Faye would often decide to change the order during the performance, leaving me in a panic as I would lose track of where we were and what song to play next. Much folder shuffling ensued diminishing my moody guitarist vibe!

We would sometimes peak too early in the set or find ourselves with too many songs we wanted to fit in without considering the style and flow of the performance. What I eventually realised was that Faye was reading the crowd and making adjustments to our setlist in real-time. This needed to be combined with a strategy in place for how the sets should be formed from the beginning and form part of our Musician’s Operational Excellence.

This led me to create a tool to help establish consistency and eliminate the element of chance. In this book, you'll find five sheets specifically designed for designing your setlists. They begin with a line chart that visualises the energy and pace of the set, guiding the audience through an emotional journey of our performance.

Example Chart:

From here, you can determine the desired length to dedicate to each energy and pace, ensuring there is good contrast and flow throughout the overall set. Even if you're expecting to provide mainly background music, as we’re not robots I encourage you to still strive to drawing modest attention and gaining appreciation in those settings.

Now that you have your setlist strategy, you can revisit the song list earlier in the book and select songs based on their energy, pacing, and overall duration.

By utilising this setlist planner, you can create well-crafted and balanced sets that engage and captivate your audience, while ensuring a smooth and enjoyable performance experience for both you and your listeners.


Links to purchase the paperback directly from Amazon:

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