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Booking Your Own Gigs

Everybody wants more gigs! Unfortunately, it seems like most players (especially those in college) seem to have a mindset of "I'll just wait for the phone to ring...." and truthfully, that's just not a great idea. Will the phone start ringing more and more as you build your career? Yes, obviously! But before that time comes, here's a few things I did that have helped fill my schedule out a bit. My situation is unique to my area but I'm sure if you're creative you can use this system to get at least a gig or two!

1. You need a demo video. You NEED A DEMO VIDEO. Every single venue will ask. If you're in an area where there's a Full Sail University branch, you can book a recording session for free since it's a class for the students to get hands on experience. Here's an example of what that looks like

Yes the audio is low. Be sure you get on their case about the final product. I didn't. But it's free!

2. Email every coffee shop, jazz club, martini bar, and steakhouse within the next several counties. Some venues are better reached through Facebook, and some through Email. Cast your net as far as possible and somebody will reply. Here's what most of my emails look like

3. Be prepared to send 100 emails just to book a gig or two. But if you can get a monthly slot from 4 different venues, you're playing out every week.

4. Many of the gigs you're gonna get are going to be "wallpaper" gigs. For the love of god please treat them like that. They're NOT concerts. The band should be seen and only slightly heard. I lost many call back gigs because we got a bit too loud (and this is jazz, mind you) so I'd recommend being okay with playing some ballads and just laying low at least for the first few hours of your gig.

So there you have it. It's actually pretty simple! Get a decent quality recording, and then get to work emailing. I promise a LOT of people won't reply. Keep going. Somebody will reply! Like I said, I've secured a few monthly gigs with my jazz trio like this and continue to reach out to more places every week. It takes a lot of work but if you've got bills to pay, you'll be okay reaching out to 10-20 places a day until you get a reply. Also, there's a certain "time bomb" thing that seems to happen where months later you'll get a reply when you least expect it. I hope this helps somebody out there and thanks for reading!

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