HOW TO MAKE A LIVING
AS A MUSICIAN
TABLE OF CONTENTS
GETTING STARTED 4
MAKING A LIVING 7
DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS 8
OTHER SOURCES OF INCOME 11
MAKING A PROMO KIT 13
SONG LISTS 14
BUSINESS CARDS 14
FINDING WORK 15
SUCCESSFUL PERFORMANCE 18
CREATING THE GIG 21
HOW TO MAKE A LIVING AS A MUSICIAN
A person who has the musical skills necessary to play one or more instruments may have the desire to become a professional musician or work in a related field. The intent of this manual is to give you an insight into how you can achieve those goals and subsequently earn a comfortable living. One of the most important factors to consider when entering into any new field is to determine if there is a need for the service that you are providing. Whatever you attempt has to be marketable in order to make a profit. You perform by providing entertainment, and in exchange receive money for your services. If you can do this on a regular basis, you can become successful. If you are unable for one reason or another, you will not.
Your market will include, but not be limited to a person, group of people, or organization that requires a specific service, for example music. Marketing that product means simply preparing your product (music) and making it available to the consumer. A rock and roll club needs rock bands, Branson, Mo., needs country and easy listening, and Las Vegas needs production numbers with style.
The person going to a concert wants to be entertained, the bar owner wants a high gate as his cover charge helps to pay you, and the bride wants her wedding to be a hit and also memorable.
If you can follow these simple principles when you are out trying to book appearances for your musical enterprises, you will find work. The degree with which you accomplish these goals will determine whether you can make a lot of money or not. Just make sure that you are willing to do what it takes to be a success. Regardless of your personal style, competition, musical ability, tenacity, or your overall business sense, you can make it - or not. The only way to fail is to quit or never try at all.
What do we do now?
You are looking to play music, have fun doing it, and maybe even make some money at the same time. There are a lot of different types of bookings available and we will explore the options. Information will be a key factor in helping you to make the choices between the options that present themselves.
Some of the elements that could affect a decision are:
Am I good enough to do this for a living?
Can I read music?
What should I charge for my performance?
Where do I find work?
Is singing important to making money?
Should I hook up with an established group?
Do I start my own?
How do I make a steady living?
How do I locate others to play with?
How do we fine tune our musical performances to benefit us financially?
After careful consideration of these questions, you should have a clear understanding of where you would like to go and how to begin to achieve it.
Most people like to listen to music that they already are familiar with and supplying them with their preferences is the key to making a living playing music. Stick with the stock tunes for now, as they may be familiar to your audience. Use them to warm up, expand your list of tunes, increase your versatility, and become familiar with the other musicians that you either work with or come in contact with.
If you decide to work in some original tunes later on there are a few things to remember. You can make a living as a musician playing stock tunes and work in some of your original materials into your performance, work during the day to support yourself so that you can try out your original works, or have someone support you until you make it working on your originals. In any case, do your best to have fun in whatever you do.
In general, a freelance musician is one who is not working for any one particular place of employment and is usually not restricted to an individual job. Work when you want, where and as often as you wish. Generally, youíll be responsible for your own taxes, like any other self-employed person. To freelance, you should have a higher skill level and that may be developed by playing with groups, school bands, and other musical ensembles. During this time, the talents necessary to make it in the business can be developed, songs can be learned, and getting used to working with others will give you a lift up along the ladder to success. This is the period of time necessary to learn the tunes that other successful groups are playing.
Where are the jobs and who is going to be there?
You can find a place to work anywhere that people get together. It could be a social event, a party, or someoneís home. If there is a floor there, musicians can set up to play. The possible places for engagements is limited only by your imagination. You can get a booking on a ship, in a shopping mall, at a club, church, shopping center, parking lots, on a bus, department stores, offices, at the beach, sports stadiums, trade shows, virtually anywhere people congregate or listen to music.
One very important aspect of making money in this business is to try to book gigs yourself, or have one member of your group appointed to get the word out and handle all aspects of the bookings.
Types of bookings and the right music
Restaurants, clubs, hotels - Generally, you should see what type of atmosphere that particular establishment is trying to specialize in and play accordingly. If you are with a country band it would not make sense to book in a rock and roll club, and vice versa.
County fairs, fund-raisers, and amusement oriented gatherings - There are many opportunities for a varied source of musical expression. The larger amusement parks hire full time musicians to entertain the day to day crowds, and those groups may specialize in classical, country, rhythm and blues, or big band era music. All you have to do is call them, see who hires the various groups, and arrange for an audition.
Rehearsals and showcases - There are many people in the business that put on a number of productions during the course of the year. These may include dance recitals, musical extravaganzas, plays, or any of hundreds of other possibilities. Each of these may be an opportunity to find work. Weddings - Several types of music may be used at a wedding. Among them are background music before the wedding reception, processional and recessional music, dinner music, dance music, and ethnic specialties.
Schools - Music schools, colleges, recording schools, private music schools, and audio and video schools may need some background melody to help to convey a certain idea, image, or effect. These jobs will normally require that you can read music on sight.
Private parties - These types of bookings can be very broad based, from a cruise on a private yacht to a six year olds birthday party, a storeís grand opening, or a trade or fashion show.
Ethnic oriented - Party music for a specific segment of the population may require some extra diversification into other areas of music that you may not be called on to perform often. If you are at a Hispanic wedding, you may need to play some Latin American songs as well as the traditional ones in your repertoire. If your group can be versatile, it can only help you to book more jobs in the future.
Churches and Temples - In general, each will employ a director of music whose responsibility will include acquiring an organist, soloist or other type of musician such as a keyboard artist in order to facilitate the proper completion of services or social gatherings. These bookings usually result in long term employment.
Freelancing - Many opportunities are available to the group or individual that can be versatile and has a higher level of expertise in playing his instrument. Not everyone can play at the same level so they cannot possibly do the same kind of work. In addition to the bookings mentioned earlier, there are a myriad of other opportunities including; Sporting Events, Rodeos, Ballet, Beauty Pageants, Theater, Political Rallies, Comedies, and even TV and Radio. Lately, the Internet has come into play with musical opportunities to showcase your talents and test market new arrangements and material.
In order to keep yourself working and earning as much as possible, it will be necessary to become as versatile as possible and know many differing types of music.
MAKING A LIVING
In order to make a living on a regular basis, you will need to:
Play well. The better you are at your respective instrument, the more demand there will be for your services, and the more opportunities will present themselves.
Read well. The better that you can read music, the more bookings will be available to you. This is virtually a mandatory requirement for the higher paying professional gigs.
Have an extensive song list in the style that you play.
If you can sing, the more tunes that you can accompany vocally, the better. If two equal musicians audition for the same gig, the one that can sing the lead in more of them will usually get the booking.
Play by ear. If you have this ability also, it will increase the amount of work you can get.
Sound good. Make sure that your equipment is set for the appropriate volume levels and is properly tuned.
Be punctual On time and dressed for the gig.
Be polite. The more people that like you at the booking, the more chances you will get another by referral.
Be prepared. Know what will be expected of you and provide it.
Enjoy yourself. The more that you enjoy what you are doing, the more others will enjoy you. This leads to more work.
Be a team player. You are there for the enjoyment of the audience, not yourself. Work together to make the magic work, and convey that to the audience.
DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS
With the diversification of instruments and musical styles, it stands to reason that there are an equally diverse amount of possible gigs. Some of the more basic ones will be covered here but do not limit your horizons by not trying out other avenues that may present themselves. The author will mention several types of instruments in the pages that follow. If any are unfamiliar to you, may I suggest a trip to your local library where taped samples of the various styles and sounds may be observed.
Keyboard - This is probably one of the most versatile instruments around, since it will fit in to most musical styles and arrangements.
Solos: small parties, cocktail lounges, waiting areas, restaurants, receptions, churches, studio recording, classical, ragtime, jazz, airports, backup for singers.
Duos: Accompanist for another instrument or a group of singers in any style.
Trios or larger: Can play along with any group that utilizes key type instruments or synthesizers.
Synthesizers: It is not uncommon to have two keyboard artists playing in the same group. While one plays piano, the other may simulate a variety of other woodwinds, brass, flute, stringed instruments or special sound effects. Most times the player will be coordinating the arrangements as the group is playing, all without the use of a musical chart. Keyboard players are the most versatile musicians in the industry, so they have a lot more opportunities to work and are a valuable source of referrals and recommendations for bookings.
Guitar - Another of the more requested and versatile instruments that can play so many types and styles of music. Most commonly used in restaurants, cocktail lounges, parties, one-man-shows, and any type of show where the guitarist also is required to sing, such as a coffee shop. Sometimes they may have an electronic drummer and possibly bass pedals for rhythm. Happy hour gigs will sometimes use a guitarist, but more commonly it is a keyboard artist.
Duos: Two guitarists accompanying each other on pop tunes, playing for vocalists and other types of instruments, in clubs, restaurants, and the occasional casual get together.
Trios and larger: Can play along with any group that uses a guitar.
Bass. The bass player has several opportunities available to him for performing. The field of classical music, concerts, jazz, and in combos with piano and guitar or brass.
Solo performances are extremely rare unless the level of performance is extremely high.
Duos: Bass and piano are the most common combination performing classical, jazz, and miscellaneous styles. Guitar and bass work well in coffee houses.
Trios and larger: Primarily the major working combinations are bass/piano/drums and bass/piano/guitar. In general, any style of music that uses bass will have a bass.
Drums. Rhythm is the basis of all music, and a good drummer should be able to handle many styles and variations of them. Drummers work in small combos as well as the larger bands and symphony orchestras. The more successful players are also able to sing lead and the drummer who plays well and sings will more often than not get the gig before the non-singer will.
Hand held percussion: This type of instrument includes tambourine, cowbell, shakers, and the like. Latin music depends on these types of rhythm even more than a traditional drummer.
Strings: The stringed instruments have been primarily used in the classical format for hundreds of years, but the natural evolution of music has led to more diverse uses for violin, viola, and cello. Nowadays it is not uncommon to see one of these specialty acts perform at a wedding, in a shopping mall, or a private party The three types of stringed instruments have made great advances in the jazz, rock, and pop music categories. Most trio and larger groups are handled by a booking agency that specializes in this type of music.
Woodwinds. These would include clarinet and sax, flute, piccolo, oboe, English horn, bassoon, and their like. Generally, the type of work involved can include symphony orchestras, studio work, jazz ensembles and large show acts. The musicians who can "double", that is , play more than one instrument will naturally be in greater demand and usually work more than one who plays an instrument exclusively.
Brass. Players in this category include ones well versed in trumpet, cornet, tuba, horn, trombone and the like. The normal types of work available may include Dixieland, jazz symphony, big band, theater acts and orchestra, and even the player that announces the parade of horses at the racetrack. Most of your gigs will come from referrals from bandleaders, agents, or contractor calls. Another way to break into the business is to get referrals from your instructor.
Vocalists. In general, the vocalist should be able to perform many types of music variations just to be versatile enough to continue to work. When filling in at a gig, it may be beneficial to bring arrangements of songs that you perform well, and any styles that you are comfortable with. Vocalists do whatever work they are trained to do, and can do it a professional level.
OTHER SOURCES OF INCOME
Musicians have many opportunities to increase their incomes and the purpose of this section is to give an overview of those areas. Many of the following are careers in themselves, but the option is there if you choose to pursue it.
Teaching. A music instructor should be not only a good teacher, but a good musician as well. It is far better to learn your trade from someone that is excellent at what they do, verses someone who is merely adequate. If the instructor can actually show the student what he is trying to teach, he cannot possibly drift too far away from the matter at hand. A good musical education should consist of rhythm training, ear training, application, and theory. Lessons should be tailored to an individualís goals so that he may understand what is being taught and also to apply it. You can acquire students through advertising, from your audience, referrals from people you have entertained, or music stores that take on students and need instructors.
Takedowns. A takedown is when you listen to the music and write it down. There are times when a singer or songwriter need someone trained to write charts for them. Charts are necessary for singers to bring to their engagements so that the musicians can provide the proper musical accompaniment, writers need charts to publish and copyright their material.
Arranging. Basically this means to take a composition and write it for a particular mood of music, group of instruments, or add and delete one or more instruments to dramatically change the basic context of the piece. A Broadway show, for example may need a melody to be more upbeat and timely to create a desired effect. If you have the ability to read and play music well, you may be able to pick up some good extra income by arranging for other performers.
Jingles. Someone has to write those songs that you hear on television programs and commercials. Theyíre called jingles. Generally, it is used as an aid to assist people in remembering a product through association. If the jingle is memorable, listeners will remember it and occasionally sing or hum it to themselves or others, thus increasing the coverage and scope of the original advertising effort. To get started writing jingles, call some ad agencies and find
out how to get started. If youíd like to be a studio musician to play these jingles, you will have to contact the ad agencies, composers, and other musicians to get a referral or an opportunity.
Composing. Similar to arranging, the composer has the ability to take an idea and create a song, album, or background music for a TV program or movie, or even a live play. In order top get steady work in this field, it will be necessary to acquaint yourself with record producers as they are generally the ones who hire the composer.
Songwriter. Writing can be an extremely rewarding aspect of the music industry simply because of the money that can be earned. It can also be very fulfilling to take an idea or concept from its inception to completion and see and hear your creation played over and over again.
Sidelining. Do you ever remember seeing a band or group of musicians playing in a TV show or a movie? That music was recorded in a studio and the musicians on screen are only going through the motions, appearing to play the music as you hear it. In essence, they were "lip-synching" their parts. These types of jobs are usually booked by an agency that will go through their files and select musicians that play the requested instruments. All you need to do is to show up with your instrument, dress the part (sometimes a tuxedo is required) and appear to be playing. Your level of expertise is not really important as long as you can look like you are playing.
Voice-overs. Sometimes a celebrity will be expected to sing a song on TV or in a movie and a well trained singer will be required to insert their possibly more pleasant voice for the original recording. This can be an exceptionally demanding field as you should be able to coordinate each note sung with the movements of the person that you are dubbing. In addition, there are voice overs, cartoon, and narratives for documentaries.
MAKING A PROMO KIT
The main reason to assemble a promo kit is to give the impression that you are able to handle the types of gigs that you say you can. There are several different types of promotional needs which will vary from group to group, or different aspects of the business. In many instances you may only need to supply a demo tape, while in others a live audition will be required. In those instances, a full promo kit will probably not be necessary.
In some of the larger metropolitan areas it may be necessary to supply a video of your group, since agents do not have the time to go to see all the various people performing in their area. The video will allow them to review your work and keep it on hand as a reference whenever they need it. Some clients want to see as many bands as they can, but donít have the time to go out to see them. Naturally, they want to hire the best available at the time, and the video gives them the chance to see many groups in a much shorter period of time.
Many of the people that are planning a large affair will want to get their moneyís worth and will spend a long time selecting the right group.
If you do not have a complete promo kit do not let that stop you from continuing to promote yourself. Realize that you absolutely must have one, and take any measures that you can to assemble one. If a potential client asks for a picture and a song list, provide one. If not, chances are that you will not get the job. Obviously they want to be assured that you can deliver what you say you can before they have to shell out any money for a contract.
Your promo kit should at least contain the following:
a cover letter, a demo tape, a picture of your group, a song list, and information as to how you can be contacted.
Later on you should also include:
a band biography, a listing of previous work as a reference, and a video tape of your performance if needed.
Try not to forget to include a cover letter as this adds a little professionalism to how you are judged by the prospective client. This cover letter could also be used as an advertising piece that can be distributed to various agents, recital halls, trade shows, and the like where a full press kit may not be practical. Make sure that you try to include items that will give you credibility and create a demand for the reader to hire you or at the very least, see a full promo kit.
You should have some quality pictures of yourself (if you will work as a single) or your group in order to project the image that you will be presenting. Figure out what part of the market will be your target area and tailor your photos to that segment. If you are looking for the high class higher paying bookings, you should probably be dressed in a tuxedo, semi-formal wear for the ladies, or pant suits. Let your booking agent guide you as to the image that you will present. Most photos are done in black and white simply because it is easier to reprint them. 8x10 shots are standard with the name of the group and phone number along the bottom.
This can be accomplished in several ways. Select a listing of songs grouped by category with the original artists name. A complete list also in the same format. A list with just the titles in the same format with only the titles. These may be typed on clean paper with the band name, phone number, a contact name, and the word "song list" across the top.
A freelance individual should have a song list to give to bands and bandleaders when needed.
Whenever possible pass out your business card to prospective clients, other musicians, bandleaders, promoters, agent and others associated with the business. Make them available at your gigs for your audience to take. This can be an important source of future business for you.
You can tape an entire show, a segment of a show, or select parts of certain tunes to create your presentation. The tape will show how well you are able to get people up to dance, how you emcee the affair, and how well you can communicate with your audience during a performance. Just remember to periodically update your tapes if they contain current tunes to keep it timely.
Your basic needs for stationery should include a letterhead with the bandís name, logo, address and phone numbers, envelopes and the bandís return address. It would be appropriate to have the business cards, letterhead, and envelopes all match. Large envelopes and folders are also necessary to mail out your group photos and press kits.
The single most important aspect of making a living as a musician is to be able to find work. Make a plan of all the people that you want to contact and talk to them. Promote your group or your individual talents relentlessly, and after the bookings start to come in, continue to promote. After awhile the bookings will come to you, but you will have to get to that point first. Donít delay promoting because you are saving up for that more powerful amp, or you are learning the words to 100 additional songs. Start working now and learn as you go.
Managers - These people are the ones who usually run the business part of your group. He would handle the bookings, deal with the agencies, and tries to get you gigs. His primary concern besides the welfare of your group is to help you to generate money. This management person should be out promoting your band, looking for possible gigs, and creating opportunities for you to make money. Normally, managers work for a percentage of the amount of the booking- usually 10 to 15%, but those figures may vary. He should book the gigs, you play them, and if you are good enough get more gigs.
Look in various printed media for assistance in locating a manager. Try the phone book, newspapers, trade papers, and any other sources including other bands for a reference.
Seek out the type of management that handles your kind of group. Get someone familiar with your musical venue and let them use their promotional skills to help to increase your income.
Call them. If you donít make contact, they will never know that you are looking for help. Tell them what kind of music you play, what type of gigs youíve had and where you would like to be. Be honest with them. If you are just starting out, tell them. They have to know and they will appreciate your honesty.
What is your potential market?
Where are the gigs?
How do you get them?
Market- Make your music fit the market. If there is a demand for rhythm and blues, play that. Rock and roll, do that. Casual mood music or background music sets, play that. Steady work can be found almost anywhere. From an amusement park to a zoo.
Locating gigs. Mail letters, make phone calls, contact booking agents and anyone that you can think of to promote your band. Run ads in newspapers, magazines, trade journals, help out other bands that are overbooked, and in general promote like crazy.
Contact the right people. Make phone calls to everyone that you can think of- supermarket checkout people, doctors, lawyers, everybody. The bookings will come from referrals. The more people that know about your music, the better the chance that you will be referred. Make calls to food and beverage managers at hotels and clubs. Call the social director or booking agent at fraternal organizations. If you have to go through an agent make an appointment to see him. Do whatever it takes.
How much should I charge? A booking will pay what it does. You can take the money and the gig, or you can negotiate for more. If you are just starting out, charge whatever you will be comfortable with. If your group is experienced with many bookings already played, you may want and expect to get a bit more for your time. Charge as much as you can get. For a four hour booking, the least that you should expect to get should be $125 per person. The most important factor to consider pertaining to how much to accept for the gig is: Do you want to do the gig? If money is tight, do the gig. If you are financially comfortable, donít do it. If the gig sounds like fun, will be a great networking opportunity for future business, do it. Take all factors into consideration when you decide on bookings. Each situation has its own set of variables and you should deal with them on an individual basis.
One of the most important aspects of a successful career in music is planning. Whether it involves starting out in a new career or being established with all the bookings that you can handle, you still need to schedule your gigs, plan to arrive on time, practice, promote, and fulfill your other day to day obligations. With organizations your income can increase dramatically. Write down all your obligations and organize them in a sensible and managed manner. If they are not written down, you may forget them and that could spell disaster if it is a money making opportunity.
Look to the future and determine where you would like to be in six months, one year, and five years from now. Analyze what your current problems are and strive to find a solution. Often the answer to your problems can be quite simple. " I donít have enough work. Why not?"
Hire an agent, publicize, promote. Talk to people. It can be that simple.
Set your goals and allow a reasonable time to implement them. Without meaningful time restraints, any goal can take forever to accomplish. Break down the steps necessary to achieve your goal, allow an appropriate time period to attain it, and do it.
Time management. Plan how to get it done. If you have too much time on your hands, spend more time promoting. If you are short of time, plan how to ease your schedule. These minor problems are easily corrected.
Implementation. You need to perform your activities as scheduled.
Be organized. Arrange your paperwork, Schedules, contracts, bookings, etc., in a neat manner so that you can find it whenever needed.
1. Arrange all of your paperwork and see what needs to be done.
2. List all the things that you need and want to get done in the next week. These items will help to further your career and your general well being.
3. Review your to do list and write down your activities and goals in a time management format. Allow specific times and days to accomplish these tasks.
4. Follow your schedule and get it done.
5. When your tasks are completed at the end of the week, make a new schedule and start all over.
A successful performance should include at least the following:
1. Investigate what is expected of you by the person in charge during the gig.
2. Work with them before, during, and after to make sure that all goes well.
3. Follow the rules of your contract and those of the room that you are working.
4. Be aware of what you are doing and give them their moneys worth.
5. Maintain good relations with everyone involved.
Some factors to assist in accomplishing these goals would be:
1. Show up dressed appropriately.
2. Be aware of the sound level and adjust it if necessary.
3. Like what you are doing and have fun.
4. Be cordial on and off stage.
5. Time your tunes according to the atmosphere of the party.
Investigate- If you do not ask, you cannot possibly know what is expected of you. There are certain gigs that will go according to a prearranged format and others that will take on a life of their own. Be aware of what is expected so that you wonít be surprised later.
Work with them- Stay in touch with the person in charge, because formats can change at a moments notice. Pay attention to what is happening.
Follow the contract- Know the peculiarities of the room that you are playing. One example may be a gig in a V. F. W. Hall where the members expect the band to play "God Bless America" as the last song of the evening. If you do not know it, you do not get the gig. It can be as simple as that.
Dress right- Make sure that your attire is appropriate for the gig that you are working. If it is semi-formal and a tuxedo is required, get one. If you are in a youth oriented club where ripped clothing is normal, dress accordingly
Volume- If the crowd wants to party give it to them. You make or break the affair because you are the one controlling the emotions of all that are attending. Do what you were hired to do. Work it out prior to the gig. Read the audience and adjust your volume or tempo accordingly.
Fun- Get involved in what you are doing. Be interested enough to do it well, have others enjoy what you are doing, and enjoy it yourself as well. If the band looks like they are having a good time, that effect will carry over to the audience and they will have a good time also.
Manners- A professional musician is someone who is confident in their ability to do what he does, do what is needed, and not get an attitude. Play by the rules of the game. You are there to entertain the audience. Let them know that they are appreciated. Letís face it, if there was no audience, there would be no work for you. Do not smoke on stage unless it is all right to do so. Find out ahead of time. Pay attention to details. There is always something going on in the room which may require social interplay between the band and the attendees.
Promotions- You should continue to promote your music before, during, and after a gig. This can only result in increased bookings and subsequently increased revenues. Pass out business cards, have demo tapes available, put up a sign if possible. After the gig, talk to some of the people in attendance and get a feeling as to how well the performance went and whether there may be some referrals coming your way.
Handling the audience- Realize your objectives. Know what you are expected to do then just do it. Are you merely supposed to entertain, run the show, or get the people to dance.
Were they entertained, did you run the affair effectively, or did they dance all night?
Read your audience and react accordingly. Make the changes that your audience requests. It can only assist you in putting in a better performance. If all is going well, do not change anything. If you are not getting anywhere with the evening, find something that works and pick up the action.
Emotion- All humans are subjected to a multitude of emotions- some good and some bad. Try to keep your attitude on a level plane for fear of losing your cool by possibly blowing up at a customer. That can be an easy route to unemployment. Keep your act fresh. After you have played the same type of song over and over again for years, it gets more difficult each time to stay focused and perform at a high level. By all means, be what you need to be, what you want to be, and get the job done. When you have the right attitude you have a better chance of acting appropriately in all situations.
One of the most important aspects to remember is knowing when something is wrong and being able to correct it, as well as recognizing that activities are right.
CREATING THE GIG
A good gig does not create itself. It has to be planned, nurtured, and performed with enthusiasm, vitality, and a certain amount of spontaneity in order to inject life into your performance. When you know what is expected of you, you can create the desired effect to handle the task at hand. Only you- the musician- can create the effect. If you are hired to play background music, create that. If up tempo is required, create it. Whenever hired to entertain, do it- create it. Give pleasure and hold the interest of all involved. Find out what works and give all you can. Creating is merely another way for the musician to insure his future success for those that are not will not please their audience. Donít worry about it, you can make it happen. No excuses. Just do it. Create.
Everything is relative as to how successful you can be, or feel that you need to be. Some people regularly make thousands of dollars for a single performance while others struggle to earn a hundred dollars a week. Realize where you fit in and strive to achieve that goal. It is entirely possible that you will need a second job to help to support yourself until you attain the position that you desire.
There is other work out there besides club dates. The consensus seems to be that it is up to someone else to keep you busy with bookings. Not so. You must continue to promote yourself at all times. Your agent will be able to get you some bookings but it is up to you to insure that you have enough work to keep you busy. A club or booking agent may hire you again, but remember that connection was the result of prior promotion by you. Your success or failure is solely your own responsibility- so create the kind of life that you wish to live. A determining factor is deciding what you will do with your life- in your case, music. Have enough respect in your own ability to give conviction to your goals and follow through until they happen. To succeed in this business decide what you are looking for, try to attain it, shrug off the failed attempts, and stick to it. Donít quit now because there is a lot of money out there and you deserve some of it.
People in the music industry have to be a little more creative in their quest for success. It does not always come overnight. It may be necessary for you to get a part time job to give you the time and money needed to practice those pieces that are missing in your repertoire. Do what you have to do to achieve your dreams and donít ever lose sight of them. Making music is not just about playing gigs, itís an incredibly interesting lifestyle.
Success in this field will require steady and gradual growth. Most overnight successes achieved their dreams in ten years or more of good hard work. In reality, the overnight success came as the result of one or more factors of their performance changing, evolving as it were, due to the years of fine tuning their craft. Try not to resist what needs to be done to help your career along. If it has to be done, do it. If it takes longer than you expected, fine. Be concerned only with your final goal and persist until you achieve it. GOOD LUCK!