Gigging: Where and How to Startby Limari Colon
Unless you are Taylor Swift, Paramore, Blink 182 or any other successful musician, you need to create a strategy in order to earn enough money to pay your bills. If you dread playing covers, never were too keen with sheet music or simply want to be known for your unique, awesome talent, then start looking for venues to play and don’t quit your day job. Meanwhile, research cheap but good studios where you can record a few of your original songs, so you have a demo circulating the streets helping you out in landing a gig. Demos have been a key factor in many emerging, successful artists. So has gigging.
Having said that, if you are more flexible with your music and are willing to commit, covers will help you develop technique and assist you in finding your own special sound. Playing covers could pay you as much as a hundred dollars per hour, or as little as five bucks per show. You have to take it upon yourself to research. Ask around! Build a network of musicians, pub managers and show producers. The internet is a magical world with little elves connecting you to billions of people. Use it! Craigslist has a great deal of traffic, so check out their posts for Freelance Musicians and Gigs. You can also check your local newspapers and music magazines.
Another cool and great paying gig is TV appearances. Usually, big artists don’t take the risk of messing up their live performances and resort to the infamous “lip syncing”. They then hire a band or a group of musicians to fake play, so their performance looks as real as possible. The gig takes roughly an hour or two to record, and pays up to $150-200 depending on the show.
Hotel and Lounge Gigs
Many musicians I know of visit renowned hotels in search of a steady job. They play for free the first night as an audition, and if the hotel manager likes it, they get hired to play once or twice a week. The more skills you learn, the more diverse your repertoire will be. Ergo, the more, the merrier! Try to learn as many styles as you can: Jazz, Blues, Rock, Country, Classical… Whatever strikes your fancy. This will broaden your audience and earn you brownie points with your potential employers.
In the end, we musicians play for the love of it. So if you don’t find any of these suggestions appealing and just want to play whenever you want, whatever you choose, you can do that to! As I said before, “Practice makes perfect.” So go ahead, start practicing, experiment, keep practicing, and rock on!