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Practical Tips For The (Aspiring) Gigging Musician

As I've talked about on this blog a few times before, I'm not convinced that music schools do 100% of the job they need to do. Unfortunately, the "real world" waiting for students after graduation just don't revolve too heavily around Orchestral and Big Band situations, or even chamber ensemble gigs. Do I wish that were the case? Yeah, totally.'s just not. So here's a few things I think should be brought up for somebody who wants to play music for a living:

1. You're probably going to be teaching some lessons. Notice I didn't say "You're going to have to teach some lessons". The minute you start feeling like you "have" to do something is the minute you phone stuff in and no student deserves that. You should also probably get used to the idea that a lot of those students are going to be beginners, and a lot of them won't stick around long enough to become advanced. That's okay.

2. You're going to be playing some music from the radio. I know, that's taboo to listen to if you're in a University. Suck it up, buttercup. Nobody wants to hear Charlie Parker tunes, even on the jazz gigs. Okay, maybe if you're tasteful about it....

3. You're going to be playing some old music. Stevie Wonder is really popular here in Orlando it seems. Take a little time each day to listen to and practice along with a tune or two. Go out on the scene and find out what music is being played the most and make a playlist with songs or artists that pop-up more often.

4. I know a lot of players that are incredible but don't play much because they're abrasive or just not going out on the scene. Go out and make friends, because ultimately people hire their friends. Do you have friends that are gigging nonstop? Or are all of your friends in the same classroom as you?

5. Take a day off. You need it. My good friend, Paul Gavin has a great Vlog on youtube where he talks about this. Check it out here:

6. This is a hard career. It's a seriously, seriously hard career. Musicians are 3x more likely to suffer from depression due to a lot of reasons. Keep going. You can do this!

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