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  • Chris Anderson

The Ultimate Checklist Every Musician Needs For A Concert (or gig)

It is true that we all lead busy lives and if we play in a band or orchestra, or if we are singing in a choir, it can be very easy to forget something important that you need for a concert. This isn’t a blog intending to teach you to suck eggs, but it is intended to be a useful and (hopefully) comprehensive list.


Yes, it really has happened where a musician has forgotten to bring one (or more) of their instruments.


Bringing spare reeds, strings, or drum/percussion sticks is a sensible move. Again you’d be surprised how many musicians forget. I played with a solo violinist once who’s top E broke and they didn’t have a spare. Fortunately one of the other players did so they lent them their violin so the soloist could play while the string got changed and tuned. I played in a band once where the guitarists brought a spare guitar in case a string broke. The number of times a drummer will drop a stick, or even break one…be sure to replenish any you use.

Cigarette Papers

Most seasoned woodwind players will probably have cigarette papers in their case, but it’s worth listing here in case you’ve run out - or new to the idea! They are used to help remove water stuck in the tone holes of instruments. You can actually buy un-gummed papers, but standard ones work just as effectively - providing you use the right end.


This is mostly for brass players, but advisable for anyone really - especially on a hot summer’s night! Putting a small towel on the floor will collect your moisture and won’t make the floor wet. But something with which to mop your brow is a good idea too.

Instrument Stand(s)

Even if you’re only playing one instrument it’s worth investing in one of these. They keep your instrument safe and mean you don’t have to keep holding it during long periods of tacet. If you play more than one instrument it is definitely a requirement, not only does it look good but it also keeps the playing area tidy…and protects your instrument from falling.

Music Stand

My personal preference is for a black music stand, and yes some groups will provide stands - but it’s always better to be prepared. If you use a tablet bring the appropriate stand for your device.

Music Stand Light

Again, some groups provide these but a little battery operated stand light can save the day in darker venues. You can get plug in ones too, or ones you charge up….just make sure you’ve got the cables in your bag too.


It is true a lot of bands don’t use music as they learn their set list but it’s still worth considering. Orchestra players though - make sure it’s with you. Again on more than one occasion I’ve had players forget their music so they have to rush out to go and get it…which of course delays proceedings.

iPad or Other Tablet

If you aren’t using a music folder, but instead are using a digital tablet, make sure you’ve got that! And the relevant stand. Also make sure that the music is completely up to date.

Charging Leads

It’s great being a part of the digital age and having all your music on there, but make sure you bring your charging lead so you don’t suddenly find you can’t play because you have run out of juice. Also handy for your mobile!


This is an absolute must. There may be last minute changes or notes before a concert or gig so be prepared to write them down. If you don’t use a finger on your tablet bring your stylus or whatever it is you use.

Drinking Vessel

You’re going to want to whet your whistle, especially if you’re a singer. A plain reusable drinking vessel can be kept discreetly by you so you can have a sip when necessary. Failing that a couple of small bottles of water.

Concert Clothing

Most concerts and gigs have a “uniform” or specific clothes to wear. Make sure you bring the right stuff and have checked what rig is required. I’ve yet to have a concert where everyone is wearing the black I’ve requested…one person wore a bright blue polo shirt under his DJ!


Strings players and guitarists make sure you have brought your tuner. Drummers, bring your “tuning” devices too.

Spare Batteries

If you’re using a device that requires batteries, such a pedal, tuner, or stand light, make sure you have spare batteries for each device. Replenishing any that you use

Spare Fuses

It doesn’t happen very often but sometimes a fuse may blow. I remember when I was on tour in Europe and one of my keyboard leads stopped working. I checked the fuse (I brought a small ammeter too) and discovered it had blown. Luckily I had brought a little tin with the fuses I needed. Be sure to replenish any you use.

Spare Electric Leads

In an orchestra power leads and extension leads may not be used all the time, but it’s worth putting them in your gig bag just in case. Band people should always have spares…especially four-ways with a decent cable length and a spare power lead (most likely a kettle lead - but check).

Spare Sound Leads

Guitars and bass guitars, keyboards and some stringed instruments who amplify themselves…make sure you have spare jack to jack (or whatever type of lead you need) to go from instrument to amplifier…ideally more than one!

Ear Plugs

These don’t block out the sound, but they do stop the force of loud noise damaging your ear drums. So if you’re the percussionist, drummer, timpani player, or you’re sat in close vicinity of them - bring ear plugs.

First Aid Kit

Not to be dramatic, but sometimes we get cut or something. Have a little travel sized first aid kit with some plasters in it and most importantly some pain killers - which you can take using the water in your handy drinking vessel ;-)


You are likely to be finishing in the dark and the lighting to get back to your vehicle may not be on, or even a thing!

Gaffa Tape/Duct Tape

This will help keep your leads neat and tidy and prevent trip hazards.

Small Tool Kit

Woodwind especially have little keys with small screws that can sometimes come adrift. A small kit of screwdrivers, pliers and wire cutters could save the day.

Change Of Clothing

If you’re anything like me you perspire a lot during a concert or gig. There’s not much worse than putting on damp clothing, or staying in damp clothing after a concert. A nice change of clothing for the striking of the equipment and indeed the journey home is great.


There may not be any shops nearby, so some snacks to keep you sustained is a must.

Programme Running Order/Set List

Make sure that you have an up to date running order and have marked items you don’t play.

Other Stuff

Guitar picks

Spare straps (guitars, saxes)

String winder

Spare drum parts (wing nuts, felts)


Vocalzones - singers these pastilles can really help you if you have a tired voice.

If you’re a band with your own PA make sure you have spare leads for everything to do with your PA.

Equipment Checklist DL
Download PDF • 33KB

If you think I’ve missed anything please do let me know!

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