Like most self-employed people, musicians have two jobs: getting work, then doing the work. It’s an age old problem, because musicians typically would rather play than actually spend time trying to get performances. But you’ve got to get the gig before you can play the gig.
I will help you learn how to find work — for yourself as a freelancer, as a soloist, or as a player looking to join a band. I can also help you if you’re coming to me as a full band — whether you’re amateur or professional, newly formed or well established.
It takes three things to obtain work: an understanding of the ins and outs of the music business, researching the live music market in your region, and a fair and honest inward evaluation of yourself. Once you know these things, the rest is up to you. That’s the work part of “playing” music. By the way, this is no different than embarking on a business venture. You have to define your product, find the market for it, and connect the two. Simple, but not easy.
Here’s what I provide:
A course of four sessions of varying lengths Prior to Session 1 , I’ll need you to help me understand your situation. Give some thought to the following questions, then send your answers and any other relevant information to me at drummerrob@WholeMusicLearning.com.
- What are you passionate about in your life?
- Are you disciplined and determined?
- How good are you in comparison with other musicians/bands that are performing at the kinds of venues you would like to playing? Answer this as honestly, objectively and realistically as you can.
- Would you describe your attitude as positive or negative the majority of the time?
- In your wildest dreams, where would you like to be in a year, in 2 years, in 5 years?
- Do you get along well with other musicians?
- How much performing do you want to do? How often would you like to perform?
- Do you get tired playing the same material over and over again?
- How big a part does musical improvisation play in your life?
- Write about what you believe to be your limitations. Are they realistic, or do they come from a sense of self-doubt?
- Write down any other information that you think would be helpful.
These questions are written more for individual musicians. If you are a band looking for work, adapt the questions to include your band’s goals and outlook.
Also, at the bottom of this page is a list of items that are mostly specific to band concerns. Read them over and we’ll discuss these things during our sessions.
Session 1 (15-30 minutes) During our initial session, we’ll go over your answers to the questions I’ve asked. I’ll also have additional questions for you. Then I’ll take this information and formulate a plan.
Session 2 (15-45 minutes) This session should take place within a week after session 1. We’ll set goals and form a plan which you can revise before agreeing to it. We can email back and forth until you’re satisfied your plan is workable and realistic, and that you’re willing and able to commit to doing it.
Session 3 (15-30 minutes) This session will take place no more than a month from session 2. We’ll evaluate your progress and tweak our plan accordingly, once again with your agreement. This represents a mid-point in the formulation of a working process that you’ll take with you into the future.
Session 4 (15-30 minutes) Session 4 is the final session of the set, and should take place no more than a month after session 3. We’ll evaluate the entire course of four sessions, and determine whether you’ve achieved your objectives.
KEEP IN MIND… Because finding work is a constant part of our job as performing musicians, it doesn’t stop and always needs attention. The purpose of these sessions is to create and launch a process that runs efficiently and with as little pain as possible. It would be unrealistic to think you’ll instantly have all the work you want, but what you will have are the tools and knowledge to understand what it takes to promote yourself and get performances. And because these ideas work, the process becomes self-fulfilling and, in that way, less unpleasant. because we are being rewarded for what we do.
Now for the items specific to both individuals and bands:
- Defining who you are, then producing a promotional kit (or resume for individuals) appropriate to your market
- Deciding whether to self manage or obtain outside management
- Understanding the booking process and writing simple contracts.
- Finding concert and performing venues appropriate to the music you offer. Identifying who’s hiring and whether it’s where you really want to play.
- Dealing with concert producers, venue managers, club owners and all sorts of major and minor officials in the live music business
- Researching and contacting wedding and party venues (wedding halls, country clubs, historic houses, inns, hotels, etc.)
- Researching, contacting and interacting with party givers, bridal couples and family members, and related people such as photographers, caterers and florists.
- How to handle yourself professionally in numerous situations artistically and commercially
- Pleasures, pitfalls, obstacles, and things and people you may want to avoid