1st Edition

Performing Popular Music The Art of Creating Memorable and Successful Performances

By David Cashman, Waldo Garrido Copyright 2020
    208 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    208 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book explores the fundamentals of popular music performance for students in contemporary music institutions. Drawing on the insights of performance practice research, it discusses the unwritten rules of performances in popular music, what it takes to create a memorable performance, and live popular music as a creative industry. The authors offer a practical overview of topics ranging from rehearsals to stagecraft, and what to do when things go wrong. Chapters on promotion, recordings, and the music industry place performance in the context of building a career. Performing Popular Music introduces aspiring musicians to the elements of crafting compelling performances and succeeding in the world of today’s popular music.


    Section 1 - Creating Memorable Performances  

    1. What Makes a Performance Memorable? 

    2. Creating Memorable Live Performances  

    3. The Role of Personal Practice in Preparing for Your Performance 

    4. Rehearsing in a Group 

    5. Your Audience 

    6. Working as a Musician 

    Section 2 - Making the Money: The Business of the Live Music Industry 

    7. The Players in the Live Music Industry 

    8. Earning an Income in the Live Music Industry 

    9. Planning Your Product 

    10. Technology and Live Performance 

    11. Getting the Gigs: Promotion, Travel, Contracts, and Talking Business 

    12. The Unwritten Rules of Music Performance 






    David Cashman is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Popular Music at Southern Cross University, and a working pianist. David’s research area is live music, with a particular emphasis on regional music and live music and tourism. As a pianist, David has performed all over the world, worked on cruise ships, and remains an active performer in Sydney and on regional and international tours.

    Waldo Garrido is a Lecturer in Contemporary Music at Western Sydney University. He is a well-known bassist, composer, and producer. Waldo has produced two solo albums and has had two radio hits in his native Chile. As a songwriter, he is currently signed to BMG. Waldo researches and writes on the music of Chile and on the migrant experience of Syrian musicians in Berlin.

    "Cashman and Garrido’s accessible book provides an absolutely first rate overview of all things related to the global live music industry. Based on their own extensive experience and interviews with live music stakeholders, the authors take the reader on a progressive journey through a multitude of factors related to this overlooked industry, ranging from experiencing live performance, to ‘types’ of performance, to advice on rehearsal and practice, to contracts and logistics, to earning a living from and monetising the industry. Written in jargon free language and crammed full of useful advice, the book is an ideal starting point for both the undergraduate student or any practitioner interested in musical performance Although not a research text in the traditional sense, the book does provide many areas for consideration, such as methods of stage communication, attracting audiences, rehearsal methodologies, stage showmanship and the mechanics of ‘experience’, all of which are fascinating points of discussion and analysis. I would imagine this book would be a really useful course text for all institutions teaching popular music performance and I certainly recommend it."

    —Paul Carr, Professor of Popular Music, University of South Wales


    "Never has the value of an engaged performance become more evident than during the social isolation enforced on much of the world during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.  Musicians quickly adapted where they could to the online environment, where the virtual barrier of the computer screen meant that knowledge and skill in creating an evocative and affective performance were never more crucial.  And while the live music industry itself struggled, understanding the workings of the industry and knowing how to monetise performances became all the more essential. The release of Cashman and Garrido’s overview of the live music industry and how to successfully navigate it predates the pandemic by only months, and it is testament to the book's thoroughness and breadth that it is as relevant to the live music industry now as it was then, if not more.  Covering topics from performance and stagecraft, from preparation to delivery, technology and the business of music, it is packed with useful and accessible information for not only the aspiring contemporary music student, but any music practitioner seeking to hone their skillset. I highly recommend it as a set text for any higher education institution in which popular music performance is studied."

    —Donna Weston, Associate Professor and Head of Popular Music, Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University, Australia

    "Written in a relaxed, informal manner and drawing upon the experiences of the authors and a number of industry professionals, the book not only explores the mindsets of popular musicians when it comes to creating successful performances, but also those of jazz and classical musicians too. Touching upon areas such as individual and group rehearsal techniques, constructing dynamically effective setlists, engaging a band manager and navigating the various roles of musicians within ensembles, the various challenges and necessary skillsets are all outlined very well. ... The last chapter of the book could be considered compulsory reading for those looking to undertake a career in music. Those who are finding their feet in the industry will find this book informative and insightful, whilst those with more experience will enjoy the philosophical and psychological nuggets of wisdom with regard to live performance."

    —Jenna Doyle, IASPM Journal