Thank you to everyone who read, shared, commented, etc. on my blog post last week, “Landing a Gig: Part 1″. As promised, here is part 2. In this post, I’ll talk about a few simple steps you can take when you move into a new city, or if you’re just starting out, that will give your career a “boost” in the right direction and help you land those all-important gigs!
Find a Teacher:
A great way to start getting familiar with the local music scene is to study with someone who works in it! Find a teacher that plays locally in the area where you are hoping to get work – you can do this by simply checking out bands that are popular and work steadily in the area. When you find a musician you like, ask them if they give lessons. Most local musicians do teach to earn extra income, but if not, they can probably recommend a teacher they know. Working musicians who teach privately can be a great source for finding opportunities to play… PLUS, it’s always a good idea to keep studying!
Get your name out here any way you can. I have found that Craigslist works great for musicians. But, I would recommend advertising frequently on Craigslist – as other ads are posted, your ad will be pushed to the bottom of the list and more difficult to find. You can also post an ad in local music newspapers, magazines, in local music stores, etc. If you have a good look, don’t be afraid to post a picture. Also, list any other attributes you have, such as “Vocals”, “Pro Gear”, “Can double on Jews harp”, etc. Don’t be afraid to brag! And don’t forget Social Media – create a Facebook page, Twitter, post videos on YouTube of you playing, etc. Nobody will hire you if they don’t know you’re out there.
Be willing to do some gigs for free. Although you’re not making any money, gigs like these are worth their weight in gold as far as helping you get connected to other musicians, and helping you keep your chops up. Remember that in any business, you lose money before you make it – if you open a pizza shop, you give away a lot of pizzas at first to get customers familiar with your awesome pizza making skills. Soon, they’re lining up around the corner!
Knock on Doors:
Look up music businesses where you live: publishing houses, booking companies, recording studios, producers, etc. These businesses are always looking to hire players for shows, recording sessions, demos, etc. Give them a call, drop them an email, or go completely “old school” and knock on their door… tell them you’re new to town and are available to work. Most will at least be polite and ask for your card, and your foot is in the proverbial door!
Try to find opportunities where you can meet and get to know other musicians or music industry people in your area. A great and easy way to do this is to attend workshops, clinics, and seminars related to the music industry. Besides being great ways to learn new things, they provide awesome opportunities for hand-shaking and business-card-passing-outing.
Finally, consider joining your local chapter of the AFM (American Federation of Musicians). There are some pros and some cons to this, so make sure you really think it through. Joining AFM can open up great educational and networking opportunities, as well as recording and performing gigs you may not otherwise be able to get. However, doing this too early in the game can actually limit your opportunities to play; many bars, nightclubs, and smaller businesses do not hire union musicians. You should talk to other local musicians and ask what they recommend.
Well, that’s it! Remember that I always take suggestions and I love feedback… so if you have any other tips, please add them in a comment below.
Until next time… Thanks for reading!