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  1. #1

    Getting Gigs - HELP!!!

    Now that I am retired from my day gig, I have more time to practice and gig. The big problem is how to promote myself. I have spent years honing my musical skills and have my share of gig experience, but I want to gig more. The talent I am not good at is selling myself. I am actually pretty lousy at it. I get side man gigs from time to time and I love doing it. My ego does not require me to be a feature or a front man. I can provide solo, duo, trio and full bands but I just don't know how to sell it. There are plenty of musicians who, frankly, aren't that great who gig all the time. What am I doing wrong? or what can I do better?

    All suggestions are welcome.
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  3. #2
    Where're you located? It's my experience having lived in a number of cities, that each place has its own culture of becoming a part of the scene. If there's one single thing that will guarantee getting calls, I can't imagine what it is.
    Do you want to do functions?
    What's your style, genre?
    Do you want to work small venues and explore creative music(s)?
    Are you a bebop player looking for a place to play standards?
    Is there a community of working musicians in your city? Do they know you?
    Have you considered finding a bass player to play duo with? Do you even want to play duo?
    How complete is your repertoire?
    How good is your ear as far as running the Real Book off book?
    What is the last gig you played with people who are working and enjoyed working with you? Give them a call?
    Have you connected with venues and booking people there and find out what they are interested in?
    Your ego doesn't want to be a front man, but do your talents make that a possibility?

    Please tell me a little more about your situation? I've found different things work for different situations. I never took a "becoming sought after 101" class; it's been a patchwork of experience and connections for me at least.
    Different in every city I've lived in. Some cities I didn't work.
    What do you see yourself doing in your ideal situation?

    David

  4. #3
    Where're you located? Tallahassee It's my experience having lived in a number of cities, that each place has its own culture of becoming a part of the scene. If there's one single thing that will guarantee getting calls, I can't imagine what it is.
    Do you want to do functions? I love functions but also would like to do small solo spots; restaurants etc.
    What's your style, genre? Standards and ballads. I play guitar and woodwinds (Mostly sax)
    Do you want to work small venues and explore creative music(s) I would love that
    Are you a bebop player looking for a place to play standards? Not really. More of a standards player.
    Is there a community of working musicians in your city? Yes Do they know you? They are getting to know me
    Have you considered finding a bass player to play duo with? Yes, I have one available. Do you even want to play duo? I like solo a lot but duo and combo work frees me.
    How complete is your repertoire? Pretty complete and growing
    How good is your ear as far as running the Real Book off book? Very good. I am also an excellent reader.
    What is the last gig you played with people who are working and enjoyed working with you? Concert backing a singer Give them a call? I keep in touch regularly
    Have you connected with venues and booking people there and find out what they are interested in? not really
    Your ego doesn't want to be a front man, but do your talents make that a possibility? Well, I have pretty decent stage patter, and I play well. I am not a young guy and don't look like Baby Face.

    Please tell me a little more about your situation? I've found different things work for different situations. I never took a "becoming sought after 101" class; it's been a patchwork of experience and connections for me at least.
    Different in every city I've lived in. Some cities I didn't work.
    What do you see yourself doing in your ideal situation? More concert type stuff if either in the front or side man. More background music for restaurants, etc for solo guitar work. Side man in a cooking band


    David
    Answered your questions in italics above
    Last edited by rsclosson; 12-19-2017 at 04:59 PM.
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  5. #4
    Not that I'm any great expert on this, but I've made two observations.

    1. Networking is your friend. Go to sessions and meet people. Find out who the organizers are and get to know them.

    2. Having something online that people can listen to is a big help. Put a few videos on Facebook and YouTube. Put some tracks up on Soundcloud. Get a few cheap thumb drives and put a few tunes on them. The less work you make it for people to hear your stuff, the more likely they will be to actually do it.
    "I'm opposed to picketing, but I don't know to show it." --Mitch Hedberg

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by rsclosson View Post
    Now that I am retired from my day gig, I have more time to practice and gig. The big problem is how to promote myself. I have spent years honing my musical skills and have my share of gig experience, but I want to gig more. The talent I am not good at is selling myself. I am actually pretty lousy at it. I get side man gigs from time to time and I love doing it. My ego does not require me to be a feature or a front man. I can provide solo, duo, trio and full bands but I just don't know how to sell it. There are plenty of musicians who, frankly, aren't that great who gig all the time. What am I doing wrong? or what can I do better?

    All suggestions are welcome.
    I moved to a new city about a year and a half ago and so I've had some experience with this. basically, there are two paths you can take:

    1. hustle gigs yourself and hire local musicians to play in your groups.

    2. get hired by other local musicians to play in their groups.

    Most musicians do some of both but I think it's worth it to figure out what direction you're going to skew. In my neck of the woods, the best upright bassist is not really hustling a ton of gigs themselves, whereas the working-est tenor player probably is.

    I think no matter what, networking is going to be a huge piece of the puzzle. but, the difference is in who you network with. If you're going to lead your own group, networking with club owners, catering halls, event planners, etc will go a long way. If you want to get hired by other musicians, you need to network with your local music scene and play with other people and make them sound good. If you can make the musicians you're playing with sound good, you will work.

    If you're leading your own band, you want to make whoever you're working for happy: if you're playing music at an event, show up on time, be ready to go, make sure the volume is right, etc.

  7. #6
    I agree with everything that pcsanwald said.

    Your first decision is “what type of gigs do you want ?” Bar gigs are different from corporate gigs and those are different from weddings. “What type of jazz do you want to play ?” Hard bop works in a jazz bar, not so much at a wedding. Cocktail music is not the same Bebop. “Do you want/expect to be paid ?”

    Answering those questions will point this discussion in a direction.


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  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcsanwald View Post
    I moved to a new city about a year and a half ago and so I've had some experience with this. basically, there are two paths you can take:

    1. hustle gigs yourself and hire local musicians to play in your groups.

    2. get hired by other local musicians to play in their groups.

    Most musicians do some of both but I think it's worth it to figure out what direction you're going to skew. In my neck of the woods, the best upright bassist is not really hustling a ton of gigs themselves, whereas the working-est tenor player probably is.
    I'm in Chicago, and most definitely this. I do a mix of solo gigs that I book myself, and then lots of sideman stuff. The sideman stuff is easier on my psyche, because I hate self promoting. I make way more money with the solo gigs.

    Recently joined a new band as a front man, which is a new experience. They have a booking agent, label, etc. We're just getting up and running, so I'll be curious to see how the whole process plays out. Right now I conceptually love the idea of just getting to play music and not hustling constantly for different clubs to play at.

    If you can handle wedding ceremonies, receptions, cocktail hours, dinner party music as a solo artist, I can't recommend using the Gigmasters platform highly enough. Have booked some very good paying gigs through that site without literally doing anything other than putting my profile up.

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by rsclosson View Post
    Now that I am retired from my day gig, I have more time to practice and gig. The big problem is how to promote myself. I have spent years honing my musical skills and have my share of gig experience, but I want to gig more. The talent I am not good at is selling myself. I am actually pretty lousy at it. I get side man gigs from time to time and I love doing it. My ego does not require me to be a feature or a front man. I can provide solo, duo, trio and full bands but I just don't know how to sell it. There are plenty of musicians who, frankly, aren't that great who gig all the time. What am I doing wrong? or what can I do better?

    All suggestions are welcome.
    So where can one hear your playing?

  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Doublea A View Post
    I agree with everything that pcsanwald said.

    Your first decision is “what type of gigs do you want ?” Bar gigs are different from corporate gigs and those are different from weddings. “What type of jazz do you want to play ?” Hard bop works in a jazz bar, not so much at a wedding. Cocktail music is not the same Bebop. “Do you want/expect to be paid ?”

    Answering those questions will point this discussion in a direction.


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    This is definitely not a place for Bebop. There are a couple of jazz clubs here but FSU and FAMU music department pretty much has those sown up. The college students (and professors) are very cliquish and even have a way of keeping us old timers out of the loop; even at jam sessions.

    I expect to be paid and usually am when I get the opportunity. This is out of respect for my fellow musicians. Once again, there are lots of places to play for free. (Open mike night, battle of the bands, the usual scams pulled on the musicians). Also the college students again will play for beer.

    I have done my best work at functions and restaurants when not shut out by the ASCAP nazis.
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  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    So where can one hear your playing?
    Working on setting up a Facebook page to demo what I can do. Maybe a youtube channel as well. It is in the works.
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  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by rsclosson View Post
    Working on setting up a Facebook page to demo what I can do. Maybe a youtube channel as well. It is in the works.
    I have no idea how to advise any individual, but I'll offer this.

    Here in the SF Bay Area, I have seen several NY pros move here and very shortly be working regularly. And I've seen it happen for some pros locating to NYC.

    The thing they have in common is that they are all supremely skilled.

    If a musician has been heard by lots of working players and the phone doesn't ring, one way to deal with it is spending more time working on one's skills.

    If it's just a question of exposure, the usual routes hustling your own gigs, going to open jams, organize a rehearsal band -- whatever you can think of.

    I'd add this route, which wasn't obvious to me until recently.

    This area has a surprising number of big bands that gig infrequently or not at all, even though they play weekly or monthly. A lot of pro players do them to keep up their chops or simply out of love for the form. They are always looking for subs. And, many have websites. So, it's a matter of sending emails explaining who you are and offering to sub. Including a video or offer of audition may help.

    If you're good enough, it's immediate acceptance. If you're not good enough, everyone will be polite and the phone won't ring.

    Since a big band is likely to have 16 other players, it's an efficient way of reaching a lot of musicians.

  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by rsclosson View Post
    I have done my best work at functions and restaurants when not shut out by the ASCAP nazis.
    Maybe calling the composers of the music you want to perform nazis is not a smart move for someone wanting to gig more.

  14. #13
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    BJ's remark about networking is apt. Find the jam spot, put your name on the list, and put your wares in the shop-window. Talk to the guys before and after you are onstage. Getting a gig is about both chops and personality, and it's been my experience (playing rock, not jazz) that you'll need to show both before folks will trust you up onstage with them.

    Have the goods, and be a good person. You'll either find a gig, or start one.

  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    Maybe calling the composers of the music you want to perform nazis is not a smart move for someone wanting to gig more.
    I don’t go around my area doing that. The phrase ASCAP nazis is referring, not to composer, but the representatives going around to small venues extorting their fees. This has been thoroughly discussed in other threads and really don’t want to re visit this subject here.
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  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    I have no idea how to advise any individual, but I'll offer this.

    Here in the SF Bay Area, I have seen several NY pros move here and very shortly be working regularly. And I've seen it happen for some pros locating to NYC.

    The thing they have in common is that they are all supremely skilled.

    If a musician has been heard by lots of working players and the phone doesn't ring, one way to deal with it is spending more time working on one's skills.

    If it's just a question of exposure, the usual routes hustling your own gigs, going to open jams, organize a rehearsal band -- whatever you can think of.

    I'd add this route, which wasn't obvious to me until recently.

    This area has a surprising number of big bands that gig infrequently or not at all, even though they play weekly or monthly. A lot of pro players do them to keep up their chops or simply out of love for the form. They are always looking for subs. And, many have websites. So, it's a matter of sending emails explaining who you are and offering to sub. Including a video or offer of audition may help.

    If you're good enough, it's immediate acceptance. If you're not good enough, everyone will be polite and the phone won't ring.

    Since a big band is likely to have 16 other players, it's an efficient way of reaching a lot of musicians.
    It is not easy for me to subjectively address my own skills. I have done well in the gigs I have gotten, and have been praised for my ability to fit in without "hot-dogging" and trying to outshine the rest of the players. My biggest obstacles in the past was my day gig. Not willing to let my family starve on my passions and living in Tallahassee, which, unlike New York or San Francisco, is not a place to make a full time living in music, I have had to pass up many opportunities that interfered with my job. This is no longer the case. I have retirement income and just want to supplement it doing what I love.

    I am constantly working on my skills and now have the time to sharpen them.
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  17. #16
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    Build a relationship with owners/landlords - based on reciprocity and trust. And find people to do legwork for a reasonable cut or fee.

    Amateur and hobbyist here, with a weekly solo gig (eight years and counting) and a crew for ensemble projects.

  18. #17
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    Wanna get gigs? This is what they don't tell you - playing jazz guitar is a sales job. Ask Pat Metheny.

    Aim to close. Firm yes or no. Anything else means follow up in 2-4 weeks until closed.

    Don't be outcome dependent. Evaluate your performance by emails sent, calls made.

    It gets easier as word of mouth develops and repeat bookings occur. You will also get used to making cold calls etc, become better.

    It's a tough business at the start, so don't take a low success rate as anything other than a rite of passage. Keep going.

    Success for a cold call or unsolicited email is purely based on chance. Obviously have your website, press pack, music ready and at a high level - but beyond that, it's - do they have a gap in the diary that needs to be filled that day? Are they at their computer at that moment?

    Early on (and actually even for some ECM artists I have spoken to) it's a numbers game. A personal contact or connection cetainly raises the conversion rate.

    PS: I'm a professional player and book a few bands, and I would say my hustling game has improved vastly just be doing. You may even start to enjoy it a little.

  19. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thumpalumpacus View Post
    BJ's remark about networking is apt. Find the jam spot, put your name on the list, and put your wares in the shop-window. Talk to the guys before and after you are onstage. Getting a gig is about both chops and personality, and it's been my experience (playing rock, not jazz) that you'll need to show both before folks will trust you up onstage with them.

    Have the goods, and be a good person. You'll either find a gig, or start one.
    I've never got gigs directly from jams. Well maybe a couple. I have MET musicians though, and that's important.

    Usually it's been through organising a play with someone for an afternoon etc and developing a deeper musical connection.

    I wouldn't book anyone based on a public jam. I literally have no idea of what they'd be like on a gig. I book people I gig with, and failing that, recommendations.

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    Much truth in the humour as always with Dave King:


  21. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    I've never got gigs directly from jams. Well maybe a couple. I have MET musicians though, and that's important.

    Usually it's been through organising a play with someone for an afternoon etc and developing a deeper musical connection.

    I wouldn't book anyone based on a public jam. I literally have no idea of what they'd be like on a gig. I book people I gig with, and failing that, recommendations.
    You never know what something may turn into.

    About 30 years ago I answered a newspaper ad and went to a jam. Looking back, I understand that it was for novice jazz players. The bassist and I decided to get together separately and found some other musicians.

    Sometime later, we had a drummer who recommended a teacher who was doing combo lessons at a music school.

    Most of what I do now comes out of that experience.

    One guy calls me that I knew before, but he only started calling recently. I figure it's because I finally got good enough to sub for him. He heard me live once a few years back, but it was a different kind of band that night. I figure word got around that I improved.

    So would I recommend answering a newspaper ad and risking a night playing with novices? Yes.

    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. There are some terrific pianists around ... when the horn stops, even a mediocre pianist can sound decent with the bass and drums. Solo with one hand and comp with the other. It takes a very good guitar player to compete with that, IMO.

    I know several people who gig without bass. They hire a pianist or organist to kick bass with the left hand.
    A couple of organists around here even bring foot pedals, although I usually see them playing bass part with the left hand. Charlie Hunter and a few hex pickup tricksters aside, who can do that on guitar?

  22. #21
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    Working as a musician is 90% business, 10% music. That keeps a lot of players out of the game.

  23. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    Working as a musician is 90% business, 10% music. That keeps a lot of players out of the game.
    Absolutely. It's the price you pay!

    I think people think that it's something to do with talent.... There's plenty of talented amateurs.

    Gigging a lot does make you a stronger player though.

  24. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    You never know what something may turn into.

    About 30 years ago I answered a newspaper ad and went to a jam. Looking back, I understand that it was for novice jazz players. The bassist and I decided to get together separately and found some other musicians.

    Sometime later, we had a drummer who recommended a teacher who was doing combo lessons at a music school.

    Most of what I do now comes out of that experience.

    One guy calls me that I knew before, but he only started calling recently. I figure it's because I finally got good enough to sub for him. He heard me live once a few years back, but it was a different kind of band that night. I figure word got around that I improved.

    So would I recommend answering a newspaper ad and risking a night playing with novices? Yes.

    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. There are some terrific pianists around ... when the horn stops, even a mediocre pianist can sound decent with the bass and drums. Solo with one hand and comp with the other. It takes a very good guitar player to compete with that, IMO.

    I know several people who gig without bass. They hire a pianist or organist to kick bass with the left hand.
    A couple of organists around here even bring foot pedals, although I usually see them playing bass part with the left hand. Charlie Hunter and a few hex pickup tricksters aside, who can do that on guitar?
    Yes. I think plays, rehearsals, or even shitty unpaid gigs with new musicians are absolutely important.

    I too have answered ads, and some of those have paid off long term with friends, connections and, yes, gigs.... But it's about that long term connection.

    If I hear someone who sounds great at a public jam, I might hear them or one or two tunes. If I don't know anything about them from the grapevine, it's actually very hard to evaluate how that player might be on a gig.

    Jam session playing is a separate skill - I think - to gig playing.

    But it can get you chatting to people, and it can lead onto other things. Just don't expect people to give you gigs because they heard you tearing it up on Rhythm Changes at a jam.

  25. #24
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    I think the other thing is DO NOT (and this is counterintuitive) be too mercenary re: your own time. Be prepared to do some unpaid things to build up contacts, and once you accept something, be good humoured and never discuss the fee again. There will be blind alleys, wasted time and so on. That's part of it.

    Pet hate is someone who accepts the gig and then moans, or tries to negotiate more money. I will not be calling that person again. OTOH the onus on the person booking is to be really upfront about what the gig entails.

    It is cool to say (once you have built up work) - 'sorry man, I'd love to do it, but I can't commit to an unpaid gig' (there are many ways to politely decline a gig, the simplest of which is to say you are busy) - I also think it's important to develop a sense for when things are going nowhere with a group, and politely extricate yourself, but what I think doesn't work is when you artificially try to set your value.

    Actually, it is very much a free market thing.

    For instance, what I need to be paid to commit to a Monday night gig is very different to what I need for a Saturday.

    Supply and demand. The more you encapsulate what people want in a sideman, the more in demand you will be.

    As a leader, it's about getting the gigs yourself. Be aware that s a leader you are basically taking on all the bullshit a gig could possibly give, with the trade off that you get to pick the musicians and the material (but also expect to have your judgement questioned all the time as well lol.)

    It's a mug's game haha, but it's the price to be paid for doing your project.

  26. #25
    If you want higher paying gigs, you will to invest some time and or money into your new “business”. No one would think of starting a new business without needing to invest time and or money.

    You need to build: a website, a Facebook page, a YouTube channel and a promotional kit that include sound clips, video clips, pictures, testimonials etc. You should also carry business cards with you at all times.

    I book several gigs (about 12 - 15 per month) with corporate planners, event planners and wedding planners, restaurants, banquet halls etc. They always ask to see and hear what they will be paying for.

    If you don’t have video clips, you could offer to perform at a local restaurant or friend’s wedding or party for free in exchange for an opportunity to record whatever you need to build your portfolio.

    I could talk about this all day. Cosmic gumbo is correct, it is 90% business. You need to think of yourself as a salesman that sells live music. There are a lot of musicians that are far better than me that do not work as much as they should because they do not have the salesman skills.

    Try this. Think like a buyer. Let’s say you would like to perform at cocktail parties. Imagine that you were planning a cocktail party and you wanted live music. What would you type into a google search ? Now, type that into a google search. Look at the first 3 to 5 things that come up. What have they done ? What do their websites look like ? Mimic them. These days, no one buys anything without a google search. Not even live music. You want to be one of the top hits on a google search.

    Invest in yourself with time and money. How much time and money is up to you. My dad used to say “sometimes you need to spend money to make money”.


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  27. #26
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    Yeah, you really need to have all that stuff together.

    Also, remember, most people listen with their eyes. Even with the musically literate, the visual presentation of a group is important. Good website design, photos and video all help with sales conversion.

  28. #27
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    But - OTOH - don't let the fact that your website etc isn't the best stop you from hustling NOW.

    It's very easy to use that stuff as an excuse.

  29. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    I've never got gigs directly from jams. Well maybe a couple. I have MET musicians though, and that's important.

    Usually it's been through organising a play with someone for an afternoon etc and developing a deeper musical connection.

    I wouldn't book anyone based on a public jam. I literally have no idea of what they'd be like on a gig. I book people I gig with, and failing that, recommendations.
    Point well stated, however, I do think it's very important to get out to sessions, at least when you're starting out. I can't say for other places, but around here, the sessions are led by pros, so getting out there is a good way to meet them. I've met a fair number of pros this way. One of them became my teacher for a while. Another became a good friend (so even outside music per se, this has value). If you go to these regularly, the pros will get a good sense of what level you're playing at. As Christian says, it's unlikely that you'd get called just on the basis of a jam session, but you can also pick their brains about the scene - where good places to look for gigs are, who's good to know, etc.

    You can also meet the people who organize the sessions. A lot of times these people are great to know.

    Since I'm 99% amateur (Hey, I made $50 on a gig this year. I figure that gets me 1% pro status), for me it's also been a great way to find other guys to play with. You maybe hear someone who sounds good, you get to talking, maybe you hit it off, and there's someone you can call to jam, or if you happen to land a gig. (A couple of years ago, I didn't know any bassists at all. Now I know at least two who are good, and pretty much always down to play.)

    Another thought: I watched a video about getting gigs that was done by the bassist/educator Scott Divine. He says that whenever he's trying to break into a new town, he finds out who the "first call" bassist is, and books a lesson with him. That gives him the opportunity to show the guy that he can play, and to get a little insight into the local scene. He says that for him, this has led to calls to sub, and then gig calls as he starts to become known.
    "I'm opposed to picketing, but I don't know to show it." --Mitch Hedberg

  30. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    But - OTOH - don't let the fact that your website etc isn't the best stop you from hustling NOW.

    It's very easy to use that stuff as an excuse.
    Instead of looking at it like an excuse, I look at every playing opportunity as an opportunity to “expand my brand”. Show up early with business cards and other promotional material. Have some pre recorded music at the ready in case someone wants to discuss future bookings.


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  31. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Doublea A View Post
    Instead of looking at it like an excuse, I look at every playing opportunity as an opportunity to “expand my brand”. Show up early with business cards and other promotional material. Have some pre recorded music at the ready in case someone wants to discuss future bookings.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Even if you doing a freebie or a favour for a friend. Especially if you doing a freebie or a favour for a friend.

  32. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Pet hate is someone who accepts the gig and then moans, or tries to negotiate more money. I will not be calling that person again
    On a similar note, once I commit to a gig I am committed to that gig. It doesn't matter who else calls for that night or how much better they pay: "Sorry, I'd like nothing more than to do it but I am booked and I stay booked."

    If somebody figures out that you bail for money you're likely to lose BOTH opportunities really fast.
    "Don't worry about that. Everybody talks about finding your voice. Do your homework and your voice will find you." - Branford Marsalis

  33. #32
    I have a policy that I try not to be shy about letting people know: I'll never say no to a gig unless I have a fairly ironclad previous commitment. At the very least, I want people to be aware that if they do think of calling me, that there's a near 100% chance I'll do the gig. Now, not being a pro, this includes (a lot of) playing for free, or for a meal or something. I'm fine with that but I wouldn't be if I were trying to make a living at it. I figure this way, if someone is trying to decide between me and someone else, he at least knows that if he calls me, it's the only call he's going to have to make.
    "I'm opposed to picketing, but I don't know to show it." --Mitch Hedberg

  34. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Sherry View Post
    On a similar note, once I commit to a gig I am committed to that gig. It doesn't matter who else calls for that night or how much better they pay: "Sorry, I'd like nothing more than to do it but I am booked and I stay booked."

    If somebody figures out that you bail for money you're likely to lose BOTH opportunities really fast.
    In this area, apparently it is accepted that a sideman may bail for a higher paying gig. BUT, the sideman has to find his own sub, who had better be competent. This seems understandable to me -- everybody is struggling to make a decent living and has empathy about it.

    What I really think about gigs is summarized by the advice supposedly given by a pianist in NYC ... "kid, go home and practice, and when you're good enough, they'll find you".

  35. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    What I really think about gigs is summarized by the advice supposedly given by a pianist in NYC ... "kid, go home and practice, and when you're good enough, they'll find you".
    I think this is very dependent on time and place. There are hundreds of fantastic musicians in my city. Just being "good enough" won't cut it. Marketing is a necessity.
    "I'm opposed to picketing, but I don't know to show it." --Mitch Hedberg

  36. #35
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    Getting Gigs - HELP!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    In this area, apparently it is accepted that a sideman may bail for a higher paying gig. BUT, the sideman has to find his own sub, who had better be competent. This seems understandable to me -- everybody is struggling to make a decent living and has empathy about it.

    What I really think about gigs is summarized by the advice supposedly given by a pianist in NYC ... "kid, go home and practice, and when you're good enough, they'll find you".
    That doesn’t work. The world has changed.

    Dunno about NYC though, that’s a different ecosystem altogether. Be world class, play for $25.

  37. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    In this area, apparently it is accepted that a sideman may bail for a higher paying gig. BUT, the sideman has to find his own sub, who had better be competent. This seems understandable to me -- everybody is struggling to make a decent living and has empathy about it.

    What I really think about gigs is summarized by the advice supposedly given by a pianist in NYC ... "kid, go home and practice, and when you're good enough, they'll find you".
    Here too. If I'm booked for $200, and someone else offers $300, I'm staying booked most likely. But if it's $100 or less, and someone calls for $300, then I'm switching most likely. Unless it's a last min, can't do that to people.

  38. #37
    Find a competent sub, or don't expect to be called again. That's the rule around here, for pretty much any type of gig.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  39. #38
    I have never and will not bail on a gig for another one even if it pays more. For the most part that has been a good policy, except for one time. I was playing with a band that I did not particularly care for. (Country band). I turned town two more attractive gigs, both musically and financially, as I was committed to this band.

    On the day of the gig, the leader called me. The lead singer bailed on him and he found a new one. The new one insisted on his buddy to play guitar so I was out of a gig. I told him about how I turned down two better gigs do to my own "code of honor" All he did was half heartedly apologize. Soon they broke up mostly due to the drama the new singer and his guitarist created. Karma is a mother...
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  40. I made a demo cd, put it in a nice envelope with some contact info, walked through the city and dropped them into po-boxes. Also went to catering company offices and talked to people. Got 3 gigs out of 10ish attempts. I really needed the money back then
    Btw, all the people I talked were nice. Even if they didn't call later, still didn't mind the visit at all. Just putting some info up and spamming e-mails almost never worked for me. Way better to show up and let them take a look at you.

  41. #40
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    Getting Gigs - HELP!!!

    Just out of interest: Was this recently emanresu? I haven’t done the demo cd thing for yonks.

  42. Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Just out of interest: Was this recently emanresu? I haven’t done the demo cd thing for yonks.
    A few years ago.

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  43. Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Just out of interest: Was this recently emanresu? I haven’t done the demo cd thing for yonks.
    A few years ago. Classical guitar.

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  44. #43
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    Getting Gigs - HELP!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by emanresu View Post
    A few years ago. Classical guitar.

    Sent from my HUAWEI VNS-L21 using Tapatalk
    I think there is something quite nice about having a physical cd... I have copies of my albums that I sometimes give out.

    But otoh, if someone gives me a cd unsolicited, I think - oh great, more clutter.

    If you want to be a real hipster, give out your demo on cassette lol.

  45. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    I've never got gigs directly from jams. Well maybe a couple. I have MET musicians though, and that's important.

    Usually it's been through organising a play with someone for an afternoon etc and developing a deeper musical connection.

    I wouldn't book anyone based on a public jam. I literally have no idea of what they'd be like on a gig. I book people I gig with, and failing that, recommendations.
    No, you won't get the gigs directly from the jam in most cases (though I did once ... as a bassist). My point was that getting into the local network is very important. If people don't know you play, you'll never get a call. If people know that you play, but they don't know you personally, their buddy they do know will get the call. People always go with the familiar.

    Make yourself familiar.

  46. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by Thumpalumpacus View Post
    No, you won't get the gigs directly from the jam in most cases (though I did once ... as a bassist). My point was that getting into the local network is very important. If people don't know you play, you'll never get a call. If people know that you play, but they don't know you personally, their buddy they do know will get the call. People always go with the familiar.

    Make yourself familiar.
    Frickin' bassists man.

    Another thing is, many of the gigs I've gotten haven't been directly from people I've met at jams, but from other people that I got recommended to, usually as a sub. IOW, I meet Jim. Jim knows Sam. Sam's keyboard player can't make the gig. Sam calls Jim. Jim says, "I can't do it, but I know a guitar player."
    "I'm opposed to picketing, but I don't know to show it." --Mitch Hedberg

  47. #46
    All the best gigs I've ever gotten were from word of mouth from playing other gigs. So wait, chicken or egg?
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  48. Just one thought that took me 5 years of background gigs to gather all 3 of those hints. I played small gigs with classical guitar - most lucrative and comfy. Takes 3 minutes to set everything up and 2 to collect, pack and go home. Can't say I have been lazy with my setlist but I always thought that in nice small background gigs, the best is to play calm, pretty and melodic stuff. There is just loads of that sort of music. The male audience have always been happy and said "oh very beautiful, exactly what we wanted", never ever criticized. Never! But during many years, I got total 3 requests from women from the audience - "play something cheerful, something exiting". Only women. So, if a woman is in charge of calling musicians and also don't wanna make the women in the audience fall into coma at the party - you better not play 3 slow ballads in a row. Got to have groovy, sparky things also. It makes a lot of difference.

  49. #48
    Lots of great ideas. Thanks!
    Eastman 810 7 string
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  50. #49
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    (Not saying 'play for free', but) I suggest never, ever playing for money.

  51. Quote Originally Posted by destinytot View Post
    (Not saying 'play for free', but) I suggest never, ever playing for money.
    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

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