You’ve learned the tunes. You’ve watched some dance videos. What’s next?
Here’s a pdf that explains how a feis works from the dancers’ perspective
And here’s an amusing but informative article explaining what being a feis musician entails
Still interested? Then you’re ready to shadow a current feis musician at a feis.
Shadowing A Feis Musician
You’re ready to shadow a musician at an actual feis… Yay!
Most first time feis players will sit near the musician & play along throughout the day, but might not be plugged in to the sound system. Having a chance to safely experience a full feis day with no expectations or pressure on you is key to being comfortable when it comes time to go solo.
Ask questions during lunch break, after the feis, or write questions down for later. It’s important to keep the dances running on time & smoothly. Observe, play along, but don’t interrupt the flow, if possible.
** I’d highly recommend shadowing a couple of times at different feiseanna and with different musicians.
Preparing for the Feis
Luckily, we don’t have to bring our own sound systems anymore in this area (but we still occasionally did when I first started playing for feis 20 years ago). Most local feiseanna hire a Sound Company to transport, set up, run, monitor, & tear down all of the necessary sound equipment.
Equipment Provided by the Feis
Small multi-channel PA (some have phantom power), Monitor, Power Strip, Extension Cord, Microphone with stand & cable ** Occasionally there will not be a microphone provided. Bring your own if you’ll need it in order to play
Things You Should Bring
• Instrument & accessories
• Sheet music
• Tune lists arranged by tune type & tempos
• Instrument pickup or microphone that you’d normally use on stage
• Cables for pickup/microphone
• DI or Preamp, if needed
• Plenty of extra batteries &/or plug-in power supply for DI/Pre-amp
• Metronomes (and extra batteries) always bring a spare metronome
• Ear buds or headphones plus extension cord to plug from headphones into metronome
• Music stand that’s sturdy, like a Manhasset
** If you are using your phone for a metronome: put the phone in airplane mode, hold calls, & make sure all notifications are turned off. You don’t want the metronome app to stop or glitch while you’re playing.