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  1. #51
    Quote Originally Posted by destinytot View Post
    (Not saying 'play for free', but) I suggest never, ever playing for money.
    I get your drift. I have known a few strictly mercenary players. No enjoyment at all.
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  3. #52
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    Getting Gigs - HELP!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by destinytot View Post
    (Not saying 'play for free', but) I suggest never, ever playing for money.
    Yes, I do tend to prioritise gigs I feel will be musically satisfying. There’s a balance to be had though, as money can be exchanged for goods and services.

    One of the great things about not being a full
    time pro (even if you have a sideline as a music tutor) is that you can be a bit more selective on the gigs front.

    Full time professionals are strongly encouraged to follow the money in the short term. It’s a tricky one. (I went through a period of earning all of my income through playing.)

  4. Absolutely true. Job and arts are so damn different. Doing for own pleasure and trying to push the arts - I agree with Destinytot completely. But as a job - try to make them pay as much as you can. Funny thing is that they like this. Good story here was that a rather unknown musician asked for pocket money once - he was put waiting in a garage, no respect. So, he wised up the next time and charged double of the current average. He was given a room, some snacks and fruit. Just a few weeks apart. He played the same. Not famous that time at all.

  5. #54
    I figure that every player, sooner or later, is heard by another musician, somehow.

    When a player really impresses another musician, at least around here, word gets around.

    With the exception of the very talented marketers, the better players, with the better personalities, get more work.

    It's also my impression that, out of consideration for others' feelings, nothing is spoken. It's always "sound great, man" and then the phone either rings or not.

    I've seen it in NYC. A great player with a mutual friend of one musician on stage, being invited up for one tune and then being hired a few days later for the same gig.

  6. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    I figure that every player, sooner or later, is heard by another musician, somehow.

    When a player really impresses another musician, at least around here, word gets around.

    With the exception of the very talented marketers, the better players, with the better personalities, get more work.

    It's also my impression that, out of consideration for others' feelings, nothing is spoken. It's always "sound great, man" and then the phone either rings or not.

    I've seen it in NYC. A great player with a mutual friend of one musician on stage, being invited up for one tune and then being hired a few days later for the same gig.
    I think that is the case for sure, if you are a sideman.

    That said, there is more competition on guitar, and most guitarists are leaders. It doesn’t mean the only gigs we do are our own things.

    I figure if Metheny had to hustle and drive the band car, so do I.

    It’s also a matter of niche. I’ve been a niche guy in the past - it’s funny because it wasn’t really a niche I chose so much.... I think often this is the case.

    The thing about feedback is certainly true.

  7. #56
    Among the guitarists I know around here who gig regularly, most are leaders, as far as I know. Maybe there are players doing corporate gigs or being hired for weddings or something -- who have escaped my notice.

    But the guitarists doing club gigs are mostly leaders. Otherwise, there's more likely to be a pianist and no guitar.

    And then, of course, even if there were a lot of guitar gigs, there is a big supply of very good players.

    My own "niche", to the extent that I have one, is that I can read reasonably well. I don't often get calls for gigs where there's no reading, and, honestly, for good reason. But, when there's reading to do, I'm in the running. So I get calls for big band type stuff and the occasional singer-with-charts gig.

    Interestingly, I recently subbed, twice, for a guitarist/leader. The gigs turned out to be Real Book gigs with a trio (bass, sax, guitar). The other two players were older and very experienced. Nonetheless, we had the charts out. I think I got the call because the leader (the guy who I was subbing for) didn't want time wasted figuring out which tunes everybody knew and then playing the same 20 or 50 songs every gig.

  8. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by emanresu View Post
    Doing it as a job is fine. It's one of the best kinds. Easy, enjoyable. No shame of charging some 200-300 for a 30 minute thing if you know those people have an event once a year. High pay makes you a better person and makes you take the whole thing very seriously
    Been there, done that, still wearing the T-shirt - and I'd agree with the part in bold if it were reversed.

  9. #58
    As others have mentioned: Networking.

    Don't waste your efforts, go to the kind of gigs you want and talk with the musicians. (A compliment is a good way to break the ice) Go more than once.

    Meet as many musicians as you can and tell them you're looking for work. Do this a lot. You won't offend anyone. It will give you a feel for what's out there in your area, and after a while somebody will throw somthing your way. If you do a jam session, do it with pros that can recognise your skills and possibly help you.

    This is what has worked for me. It took a while. I have seen new guys come to town and relentlessly network, and become known in a relatively short time. If you have the skills to stand out, people will remember you.

  10. I think I know what you mean. But the business side works upside-down. Money makes people happy and behave well. Not the other way round.

  11. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    My own "niche", to the extent that I have one, is that I can read reasonably well. I don't often get calls for gigs where there's no reading, and, honestly, for good reason. But, when there's reading to do, I'm in the running. So I get calls for big band type stuff and the occasional singer-with-charts gig.
    That's a classic niche.... Learn to read and get your rhythm guitar chops together.... Never be out of work :-)

  12. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by emanresu View Post
    I think I know what you mean. But the business side works upside-down. Money makes people happy and behave well. Not the other way round.
    I think I know what you mean, too.

    I still suggest never, ever playing for money (and I'm still not saying 'play for free').

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  13. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by emanresu View Post
    No can do
    Not judging, but curious. Are you in the US? And how close are you to retirement?

  14. Nope. Far from US and also retirement. I just draw a fat red line between arts and work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by emanresu View Post
    Nope. Far from US and also retirement. I just draw a fat red line between arts and work.
    Well, I sincerely wish you happiness and prosperity.

    I live far from the US, but I'm quite close to retirement.

    For me, playing is an act of prayer, thanksgiving and praise. (Nowadays I value most those things which Mr Scrooge didn't.)

  16. I get it. My case, if they ask me to play for an expensive event, I will act as a bloody superstar with all sorts of dignity and pride. There is no room for being myself - a note-nerd

  17. #67
    Quote Originally Posted by emanresu View Post
    I think I know what you mean. But the business side works upside-down. Money makes people happy and behave well. Not the other way round.
    I heard marketing people talk about this years ago. "Perceived value" etc. "If you want more/better students/gigs, charge more". I thought this was marketing b.s., sales pitch stuff, but it's true. The less people pay you, the worse they treat you generally. I've seen good musicians consistently be treated badly, simply because they undervalue themselves in literal and figurative ways.

  18. #68
    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    I heard marketing people talk about this years ago. "Perceived value" etc. "If you want more/better students/gigs, charge more". I thought this was marketing b.s., sales pitch stuff, but it's true. The less people pay you, the worse they treat you generally. I've seen good musicians consistently be treated badly, simply because they undervalue themselves in literal and figurative ways.
    I was told, years ago, pertaining to a non-music career, that I would end up earning what I thought I was worth. At the time, I didn't understand it. Decades later, I came to regard it as largely true. I think it applies, though, to your stratum of the skill spectrum. And, maybe not so much to music performance.

  19. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by emanresu View Post
    I get it. My case, if they ask me to play for an expensive event, I will act as a bloody superstar with all sorts of dignity and pride. There is no room for being myself - a note-nerd
    Summer residency - nice work if you can get it, and you never know who's listening:
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  20. #70
    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    I heard marketing people talk about this years ago. "Perceived value" etc. "If you want more/better students/gigs, charge more". I thought this was marketing b.s., sales pitch stuff, but it's true. The less people pay you, the worse they treat you generally. I've seen good musicians consistently be treated badly, simply because they undervalue themselves in literal and figurative ways.
    Yes. Draw a line in the sand. I do not leave the house for less than $150.


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  21. #71
    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    I heard marketing people talk about this years ago. "Perceived value" etc. "If you want more/better students/gigs, charge more". I thought this was marketing b.s., sales pitch stuff, but it's true. The less people pay you, the worse they treat you generally. I've seen good musicians consistently be treated badly, simply because they undervalue themselves in literal and figurative ways.
    I have prepared a price list. When someone contacts me about a gig, I send a copy of the price list. That is my price.


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  22. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    I heard marketing people talk about this years ago. "Perceived value" etc. "If you want more/better students/gigs, charge more". I thought this was marketing b.s., sales pitch stuff, but it's true. The less people pay you, the worse they treat you generally. I've seen good musicians consistently be treated badly, simply because they undervalue themselves in literal and figurative ways.
    There is definitely truth to this.

    But it depends on context. I won’t negotiate a function for crap money, but otoh I wouldn’t expect the same from a jazz gig.

  23. #73
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    Why people say 'yes'

    From the sales blog at link below:
    1. Reciprocation
    2. Commitment and consistency
    3. Social proof
    4. Liking
    5. Authority
    6. Scarcity

    Why Do People Say "Yes?" The "6 Weapons of Influence

  24. #74
    Couple different things going on in this conversation at the same time, and that's cool. If I get what Mike's talking about, It's the idea that if you're chasing dollars or "playing for money" you always will be , and you end up not enjoying any of it in the end anyway. I certainly get that.

    To me, the other part -- undervaluing yourself -- is strangely the other side of the coin... the same problem in my mind. The best money I've ever gotten playing music has been coupled with equal parts gratitude and praise from those paying the bill. I've done plenty of favors for friends of friends and lesser gigs over the years as well.

    Very strange to play music for little pay, for people who are basically feeling sorry for you because you're not doing something "better", while you at the same time consider their "better" to be beneath you artistically.

    Anyway, I have a buddy in IT who plays occasional gigs. He only plays music he wants to play though, not restricted by any monetary considerations. That's what I tell younger folks who ask me about playing music: you really have to be able to find joy in playing just about any style of music, be able to find the artistic creative elements in there, beyond style and your own narrow prejudice. Either that, or go into something, a day job, which pays enough that you don't have to ever think about money at all. Then, only play what you want and hold to your higher standards.

    Honestly, the more I have developed as a musician and grown, the more I appreciate all music. I hear a lot of people who become increasingly jaded the more they do it, and that honestly grieves me. I don't think there's anything worse than pursuing your passion as a career and basically hating it as a result. Rather do something else entirely.

    Anyway, the cool thing is that if you can make option #1 work, you basically can have option #2 for free as well. In between is death though.

  25. #75
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    I'm pretty much in it for the $$$$ although I occasionally do a freebie when the occasion is deserving. I really can't afford to play music unless I get paid - it's the only way I can afford strings, cords, equipment updates and repairs. You folks who do it for a hobby are lucky to be able to afford it. If I didn't get paid, I'd have to sit at home and do something else.

  26. #76
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    From experience, make sure both sides understand the pay rate, whether it's per man or per band. Once back in the 60s we drove way into Oklahoma to play at a bar, on the promise of what we assumed was $25/man. At the end of the night, the owner said it was $25 total. Some tempers were lost, but the destruction of the bar was averted by a couple of cooler heads. $25 was a lot of money for me back then, making $1.70/hour driving a truck, and I've worked for much less.

  27. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    Couple different things going on in this conversation at the same time, and that's cool. If I get what Mike's talking about, It's the idea that if you're chasing dollars or "playing for money" you always will be , and you end up not enjoying any of it in the end anyway. I certainly get that.
    You've summed it up well, Matt. It's been twelve years since I resolved to do what I have to do - i.e. provide for my family - so that I can do what I want to do, which is to funnel my energies into music.

    No regrets or complaints, but.. my professional experience - mostly low-key private events, some glamorous (cruises, hotels and restaurants in European capitals) - is both a blessing and a curse. It would be easy to rest on my laurels, phone it in - and wallow in cheese/schmaltz.

    But, despite my liking for fine cheese, I require more from music - and from life - so I've upped my game and am studying music more seriously than I've ever studied anything.

    And I feel compelled to do so, because I am head-over-heels in love with the music I'm studying (currently Bill Evans's My Bells, which I'm currently playing on piano, from a lead sheet in B, something I didn't have the c*j*nes to do until a relatively short while ago).

    I get calls without needing to chase, and also referrals from my weekly solo gig (for which my set starts in three minutes). Not smug - just serious.

  28. #78
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    I think the main thing is just go for it, and don’t take people not getting back to you as rejection. I’ve only got good things from hustling.

  29. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by destinytot View Post
    You've summed it up well, Matt. It's been twelve years since I resolved to do what I have to do - i.e. provide for my family - so that I can do what I want to do, which is to funnel my energies into music.

    No regrets or complaints, but.. my professional experience - mostly low-key private events, some glamorous (cruises, hotels and restaurants in European capitals) - is both a blessing and a curse. It would be easy to rest on my laurels, phone it in - and wallow in cheese/schmaltz.

    But, despite my liking for fine cheese, I require more from music - and from life - so I've upped my game and am studying music more seriously than I've ever studied anything.

    And I feel compelled to do so, because I am head-over-heels in love with the music I'm studying (currently Bill Evans's My Bells, which I'm currently playing on piano, from a lead sheet in B, something I didn't have the c*j*nes to do until a relatively short while ago).

    I get calls without needing to chase, and also referrals from my weekly solo gig (for which my set starts in three minutes). Not smug - just serious.
    Yes. The best way imo to get weddings and function work is to play a regular gig. People see you and decide - I want you for my wedding.

    I do advertise online but in general that work is always better because you are dealing with people who know what you do and value it.

    The best way to get jazz club gigs (that I’ve found) is to phone people up.

  30. #80
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Yes. The best way imo to get weddings and function work is to play a regular gig. People see you and decide - I want you for my wedding.

    I do advertise online but in general that work is always better because you are dealing with people who know what you do and value it.

    The best way to get jazz club gigs (that I’ve found) is to phone people up.
    My friends around here who do the marketing say it isn't that hard to get gigs. But, they are good players with CD's and promotional materials.

    Many are playing mostly simpler groove-based music but there are some playing adventurous jazz and working regularly (probably not much money, I'd guess). There's an audience for it, but it's really the very top players.

  31. #81
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    I'll share a little secret weapon for inventing premium function type gigs that didn't exist. Keep you eyes open or be proactive and do your research for civic/community service/charity, health/hospital/, chamber of commerce type organizations that usually have an annual, semi-annual, dinner/meeting, award ceremony, etc.

    Contact the organization and ask if you can provide the musical entertainment at no cost to them, in exchange for them recognizing the sponsor who does fund your performance.

    Then you go and find a business that would benefit from the recognition of this organization and ask them to sponsor your performance at whatever price you can negotiate, usually a very good fee.

    So, the local hospital has their annual benefactors recognition dinner, you play at it for 45-90 minutes, go home at 9pm and get paid $600-1000+ or whatever the market will bear depending on your location, funded by your sponsors - the Johnson Accounting Firm, who in turn get their name mentioned as sponsors in the function program, and maybe a sponsor placard near the band...you get the idea. You create this gig with your own ambition. After pulling this off a few times, you might be the go to band for this type of function if you get to play in front of the right kind of people....playing the right kind of cheese..er jazz.

    Plus these type of gigs can be high profile enough to even get yourself mentioned in local media at no cost to you. That's the business side of things that clutters your head instead of music...it is a drag.
    Last edited by cosmic gumbo; 12-24-2017 at 12:33 AM.

  32. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    My friends around here who do the marketing say it isn't that hard to get gigs. But, they are good players with CD's and promotional materials.

    Many are playing mostly simpler groove-based music but there are some playing adventurous jazz and working regularly (probably not much money, I'd guess). There's an audience for it, but it's really the very top players.
    Whereabouts are you based out of interest?

    It’s certainly easier to get some gigs than others.

    For instance I’m pretty sure I could get loads of swing and gj gigs but at the moment I am focussing on promoting my own projects, including a crossover thing and my guitar trio.

    The Gypsy jazz group picks up gigs very easily.

  33. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    I'll share a little secret weapon for inventing premium function type gigs that didn't exist. Keep you eyes open or be proactive and do your research for civic/community service/charity, health/hospital/, chamber of commerce type organizations that usually have an annual, semi-annual, dinner/meeting, award ceremony, etc.

    Contact the organization and ask if you can provide the musical entertainment at no cost to them, in exchange for them recognizing the sponsor who does fund your performance.

    Then you go and find a business that would benefit from the recognition of this organization and ask them to sponsor your performance at whatever price you can negotiate, usually a very good fee.

    So, the local hospital has their annual benefactors recognition dinner, you play at it for 45-90 minutes, go home at 9pm and get paid $600-1000+ or whatever the market will bear depending on your location, funded by your sponsors - the Johnson Accounting Firm, who in turn get their name mentioned as sponsors in the function program, and maybe a sponsor placard near the band...you get the idea. You create this gig with your own ambition. After pulling this off a few times, you might be the go to band for this type of function if you get to play in front of the right kind of people....playing the right kind of cheese..er jazz.

    Plus these type of gigs can be high profile enough to even get yourself mentioned in local media at no cost to you. That's the business side of things that clutters your head instead of music...it is a drag.
    Love the pragmatism of that idea - how perfectly picaresque!

    Ironically, that idea could be just the ticket for getting my new Soul band some paid gigs (provided we put our heads together and plan the steps thoroughly).

    It could also go terribly wrong; I doubt it would be anything other than comical, but I wouldn't underestimate others' ability to see through the cunning.

    Actually, the thought of mischievous fun rather appeals to me (for example 'pimping out' the likes of the local black-face minstrels), but I know better than to act on any such thought.

    I shall definitely act - and perhaps build on - this suggestion after talking it through with others.

    And I shall report back.

    Thank you very much, cosmic gumbo.

    PS I like to act fast - translated and forwarded the steps to my 'crew'.
    Last edited by destinytot; 12-24-2017 at 08:36 AM.

  34. #84
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Whereabouts are you based out of interest?

    It’s certainly easier to get some gigs than others.

    For instance I’m pretty sure I could get loads of swing and gj gigs but at the moment I am focussing on promoting my own projects, including a crossover thing and my guitar trio.

    The Gypsy jazz group picks up gigs very easily.
    I'm in the San Francisco Bay Area. The gigs I'm talking about are all over the area, with most of them being in SF itself.

    A lot of the gigs are in venues which have their own crowd -- popular restaurants and bars in good locations. Some hotels. Even there, to get regular work the band has to be rhythmically strong.

    There are some clubs dedicated to creating a listening (not dancing) environment which book jazz. For those, the band needs to have a following - only the best players can do that with instrumental music.

    Recently a friend was told that she needed to bring in 40 people to a particular gig. I never heard the "or else what" part. So, she did all the publicity and brought in 40. After the gig, she was told it wasn't enough.
    Maybe they didn't each drink enough? Tough business from every point of view.

  35. #85
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  36. #86
    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    I'm also aware that I play with a lot of people in my octet and big bands who don't call me. I'd like to think that they don't need guitar. More likely, they know better players or don't like my playing enough. Or prefer piano.
    Over the past year I've really learned not to read too much into "why didn't so and so call me for that?", which I think is something we all ask ourselves from time to time. For my own gigs, I definitely have a lot of weird tendencies on who to call for what gig and it's not a meritocracy (for example if the pay is low I'll try to call someone I know it's convenient for, I'll try to use people that call me for their gigs, etc), and I've noticed for lots of other people's gigs it seems to work the same way.

    If I'm going out to hear music a lot and hanging out, I'll definitely get more calls than if I stay at home practicing. So I think there's something to the whole "out of sight, out of mind" thing as well. Also, for me, making in-person connections is huge, both with Club owners and fellow musicians. Even if I'm talking with a club owner over email I'll make it a point to stop by the club and say hello in person.

  37. #87
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    Regarding cheese of the right kind, I had quite the peak experience on my solo gig last night: I had the temerity to play and improvise on a Coltrane tune.

    My point is that being noticeably 'into' what you're doing adds perceptible value.

  38. #88
    Most of my gigging is reading in horn bands playing American Jazz.
    The rest are mostly Real Book type things. An occasional gig reading behind a singer.
    Rarely, a Brazilian Jazz gig, which is the music closest to my heart. I don't accept low paying gigs as a leader. I do as a sideman. My problem with low pay as a leader is that I can't bring myself to ask pros to play for cheap. And, I don't want to gig with amateurs. There are some guys I can ask who are pro level but don't need the money or care about it that much -- but not too many fall into that category.

    So, when I'm the leader (I don't care to market, so it's when something falls into my lap), I pick musicians that can play my book. So, the bassist and drummer have to know the grooves and be familiar with the tunes. I can be more flexible with horns, but they have to read concert charts, because I don't have Bb or Eb versions of my book. And, of course, it helps if they can phrase like Brazilians. Keys, if needed, have to be able to coexist with guitar in the grooves.

    And, then, and perhaps most important, they have to be players with whom I feel relaxed. It may be complete paranoia on my part, but I won't hire people who trigger my paranoia or anxiety or whatever it is. If I get the vibe that somebody is negatively judging the band, the gig or anything else, I won't hire him.

    I also tend to avoid bassists who insist on acoustic bass and kb players who insist on a big wooden piano. I prefer electric bass and electronic piano. When I hear acoustic bass in anything but a good acoustic environment, the lows are likely to seem muddy to me. Sometimes it's hard to tell an E from an F. Also, many people who play that instrument don't have the chops to really master it. So the solos tend to be sonically muddy and rhythmically imprecise. I'm well aware that most jazzers completely disagree.

    For piano, the electric piano offers more control over volume. But more than that, the grand piano often hogs the stage and makes eye contact with the pianist difficult. My favorite situation is to have the pianist on my right, facing me (his/her right hand to the audience, so that he/she has to turn right to see the audience) and the bassist on my left. I can hear them (if they can hear themselves) and speak if needed. I'm willing to push a grand out of the way and set up an electric.

    Sorry if I just hijacked the thread.

  39. One time when I was a "leader" for a group, I didn't ask for money but beer. We were all students and had some enthusiasm still. I told my group that we'll not get any money for this gig but they were ok with that. It was a good place to play and felt ok to just go for a trip and a test the band. So, the beer had to be kinda.. surprise treat or smthn. The funny thing was, I calculated wrong and somehow asked 10x more beer than I intended. We misspoke somehow. So. My band was loaded with beer.

  40. #90
    I play a regular gig that's tips and a nice dinner/drinks.

    What surprised me was this. We had a band meeting about whether or not to play this cheap. I was opposed to it on the basis that nobody will ever pay for something that you can get for free, so it cheapens the value of musicians in a general way.

    Also, the easiest way to get paid less than you want is to agree to it.

    But, I was outvoted, including by some guys who make their living at music, gigs and teaching (I'm a day job kind of player). That surprised me. I ended up figuring, perhaps wrongly, that if it was good enough for them, who was I to complain?

  41. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by emanresu View Post
    One time when I was a "leader" for a group, I didn't ask for money but beer. We were all students and had some enthusiasm still. I told my group that we'll not get any money for this gig but they were ok with that. It was a good place to play and felt ok to just go for a trip and a test the band. So, the beer had to be kinda.. surprise treat or smthn. The funny thing was, I calculated wrong and somehow asked 10x more beer than I intended. We misspoke somehow. So. My band was loaded with beer.
    This Spanish ad got pulled following complaints and petitions.

  42. #92
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    San Francisco, CA and Santa Cruz, CA
    Posts
    3,498
    There are lots of good ideas in this thread. I have not hustled a gig in years and play out about 200 nights a year (all jazz, though the gigs include some Gypsy jazz and some Western swing).

    I do agree that a guitarist needs to be a bandleader as there are a lot of guitarists out there and most jazz guys would rather have a keyboard player in any case. I do about 75 gigs per year solo, about 75 as a bandleader and about 50 as a sideman.

    I have 4 steady restaurant/bar gigs that I have had for years. I have 4 agents that call me for gigs and I am hired as a sideman by 4 or 5 bandleaders. (I am in the San Francisco/Monterey Bay area).

    Here are some thoughts:

    Hone your craft to a pro level. If you are an amateur, it is best to wait. If people (both bandleaders and venue owners) hear you before you are ready, you will forever be off their radar screens.

    Learn to read well. Most guitarists cannot. I can, and my reading skills have landed me many gigs.

    Learn tunes. I know hundreds of tunes, as does any pro level jazz guitarist. If you need to have a music stand to play basic standards, you are not ready to be playing a paying gig. If I don't know a tune well, I look at the changes for a minute on my phone and I play the tune. Develop your ears to do this. Good ears is what pro level jazz musicians have been about for decades. If you do not have the natural talent to do this, take up classical music.

    Be reliable. If I take a gig and a better one shows up, I forego the better one. I want bandleaders to know they can count on me. I am always at the bandstand at least 30 minutes before downbeat. And I am always properly dressed for the gig.
    And bring pro level gear suitable for the gig.

    Play to the audience. Regular folks do not want to hear 50 choruses of Giant Steps. I always play music that has a groove and sounds good to anyone listening. If you have a gig at a jazz club where the audience wants to hear 50 choruses of Giant Steps, fine. If it is a bunch of regular folks, play the Chestnuts, keep good time and make the changes.

    Years ago, I did hustle up some of my gigs to get started. I have seen some mediocre players compensate for their lousy playing by being good salesmen. I do not take gigs with such folks. Playing with them is difficult and I believe that when mediocre players play jazz in public, we all lose. Regular folks hear it and are fooled into thinking that they do not like jazz.

    Yes there are unpleasant business aspects to all of this (I hate chasing down a client to get paid and I hate when a player is late, cancels or simply is a no show) but I think developing your skill is job number one.

    If you are a top notch player, you will have gigs.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  43. #93
    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger View Post
    There are lots of good ideas in this thread. I have not hustled a gig in years and play out about 200 nights a year (all jazz, though the gigs include some Gypsy jazz and some Western swing).

    I do agree that a guitarist needs to be a bandleader as there are a lot of guitarists out there and most jazz guys would rather have a keyboard player in any case. I do about 75 gigs per year solo, about 75 as a bandleader and about 50 as a sideman.

    I have 4 steady restaurant/bar gigs that I have had for years. I have 4 agents that call me for gigs and I am hired as a sideman by 4 or 5 bandleaders. (I am in the San Francisco/Monterey Bay area).

    Here are some thoughts:

    Hone your craft to a pro level. If you are an amateur, it is best to wait. If people (both bandleaders and venue owners) hear you before you are ready, you will forever be off their radar screens.
    Well, Charlie Parker and many others made it somehow, even though they publicly sucked in the beginning. Gotta have guts to go out there and score a gig. Waiting to be a pro is a lost game.

    But sure, there are probably some leaders who are like that. That's why I left my town and went to NYC, I believe here you never miss a train, because them always come and go.

  44. #94
    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger View Post
    There are lots of good ideas in this thread. I have not hustled a gig in years and play out about 200 nights a year (all jazz, though the gigs include some Gypsy jazz and some Western swing).

    I do agree that a guitarist needs to be a bandleader as there are a lot of guitarists out there and most jazz guys would rather have a keyboard player in any case. I do about 75 gigs per year solo, about 75 as a bandleader and about 50 as a sideman.

    I have 4 steady restaurant/bar gigs that I have had for years. I have 4 agents that call me for gigs and I am hired as a sideman by 4 or 5 bandleaders. (I am in the San Francisco/Monterey Bay area).

    Here are some thoughts:

    Hone your craft to a pro level. If you are an amateur, it is best to wait. If people (both bandleaders and venue owners) hear you before you are ready, you will forever be off their radar screens.

    Learn to read well. Most guitarists cannot. I can, and my reading skills have landed me many gigs.

    Learn tunes. I know hundreds of tunes, as does any pro level jazz guitarist. If you need to have a music stand to play basic standards, you are not ready to be playing a paying gig. If I don't know a tune well, I look at the changes for a minute on my phone and I play the tune. Develop your ears to do this. Good ears is what pro level jazz musicians have been about for decades. If you do not have the natural talent to do this, take up classical music.

    Be reliable. If I take a gig and a better one shows up, I forego the better one. I want bandleaders to know they can count on me. I am always at the bandstand at least 30 minutes before downbeat. And I am always properly dressed for the gig.
    And bring pro level gear suitable for the gig.

    Play to the audience. Regular folks do not want to hear 50 choruses of Giant Steps. I always play music that has a groove and sounds good to anyone listening. If you have a gig at a jazz club where the audience wants to hear 50 choruses of Giant Steps, fine. If it is a bunch of regular folks, play the Chestnuts, keep good time and make the changes.

    Years ago, I did hustle up some of my gigs to get started. I have seen some mediocre players compensate for their lousy playing by being good salesmen. I do not take gigs with such folks. Playing with them is difficult and I believe that when mediocre players play jazz in public, we all lose. Regular folks hear it and are fooled into thinking that they do not like jazz.

    Yes there are unpleasant business aspects to all of this (I hate chasing down a client to get paid and I hate when a player is late, cancels or simply is a no show) but I think developing your skill is job number one.

    If you are a top notch player, you will have gigs.
    Great advice


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  45. #95
    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger View Post
    I believe that when mediocre players play jazz in public, we all lose. Regular folks hear it and are fooled into thinking that they do not like jazz.
    On that point, I would add that many top level performers also turn off non-musicians. For example, I saw Wayne Shorter a few times over the past 5 years, and no one I spoke with had anything positive to say about his music. It was super out there, difficult to follow, he didn't play his hits etc. This was at a pretty big festival in a Jazz friendly city.

  46. #96
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    London
    Posts
    13,917
    I love Wayne's recent music! I'm not quite sure why exactly. And I can understand many would hate it.

    It's true that much contemporary jazz lacks appeal for the general audience.

    But here's an interesting thing - there is such a thing as the genuinely adventurous lay listener - the kind of person who doesn't play an instrument but is an intelligent and sensitive appreciator of music. You do come across people like that... They are very important, and as Bill Evans said, are often a better judge of music than the musicians!

  47. #97
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    They are very important, and as Bill Evans said, are often a better judge of music than the musicians!
    Totally agree. Personally, I also enjoyed the Shorter sets I saw. Something different, definitely didn't swing tho lol.

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