There is a lot of money to be made right in your town if you have the ability and know-how. Playing a musical instrument is a valuable skill that took time for you to learn. Why not let all the time you put into it pay off? These tips will help you start out and score enough gigs to really get going.
1. Know your instrument like the back of your hand
Obviously this is the most important step, I’m hoping most of you reading this are already on that level. It’s really important to be proficient on your instrument so you can play new things without practicing. Improvisation and picking up riffs on the spot is very important for when you and your band take requests at a party or you start playing with some guys you don’t regularly play with. That brings me to my next point.
2. Connect with musicians around you
You should be taking every chance you get to play with other musicians. Don’t worry about how much your getting paid if anything at all. I work at a restaurant and after work I used to jam for hours with the waiters and chefs. In the attic of the restaurant we had drums, bass and guitar ready to just play whatever. I’m a sax player so I occasionally brought my sax in to improvise and just have fun but when they didn’t have anyone to play bass or drums I would step in a play whatever. By playing with everyone, you can you make connections for future gigs. If any of the guys I used to play with at the restaurant needed somebody sit in and play sax for the night at a bar they would know who to call. Also, when you need another player to play for the night you will have a long list of contacts that would love to play with you.
3. Take any gig even if you think it doesn’t pay well enough
This is an important tip when your first starting out. A low paying job might be frustrating at first but it’s an opportunity to meet people and score other gigs. If you have a business card ready to hand out when people come up and ask you about your band you can get your name out. When people need a band to play at their party they’ll know who to call.
4. Be versatile
The more styles of music you can play the more gigs you will get. If you play with a blues band and love to gig at restaurants, bars, clubs and coffee shops maybe you want to branch out and play places you might not normally. I’ve played everywhere from weddings to coffee shops and even though it’s a big difference, weddings are a normally a much better way to make money then restaurants and bars.
5. Improve your credibility
One trick my mother taught me was to be make sure the managers know that their customers like you at restaurants and bars. If people keep coming up to you and keep saying how great you are then simply tell them to let the manager know. When the manager hears all the praise people are giving the band that night he will be sure to book you again.
If you follow this advice you’ll be playing out more often, having fun, and definitely making money. If you have any other advice you would like to share with other musicians post it in the comment section.