How to Get More Gigs
I recently did an interview with the NYC sax master who’s worked with Steely Dan, Buddy Rich, and 14 albums-worth of his own groups, Walt Weiskopf. One interesting story Walt told me was how he attained his dream of getting into the Buddy Rich band.
Apparently, Walt would go to the band’s gigs and meet all of the musicians. He would also mention to folks that if the need arose for another sax player, he would love to jump in. After a bit of persistence, the opportunity arose and Walt found himself in Buddy’s sax section.
Well, the lesson here is obvious. One of the things that few music schools bother to teach you is how to make connections outside of the school’s music program. To connect with musicians who don’t know you from Adam, it often takes more than just asking a friend to put in a good word, sending off an email, or even making a phone call. You have to show your face at their shows and events, and build an organic human connection.
Years ago, I was looking to pick up gigs playing with my electronic dance/jazz project. Without a doubt, the months where I was out on the town a few nights a week making face-to-face connections with club promoters and supporting their events was the busiest time in my gig schedule.
We all work with the people we like and are comfortable being around, so be one of those people to the folks you want to associate yourself with. Show your face, become a known quantity, and if you can actually play, you’ll find your career taking off faster that you might think.
March 30, 2017 @ 11:23 pm
That’s simple advice. I was in the Navy for 20 year, playing with their various big bands, small jazz ensembles, rock bands and other crap. They just about beat music out of me, so much so, I didn’t want to play anymore. The last time I played with the navy, or anywhere else was 2007.
Now I’ve just picked up a new horn and practicing again. While in the navy I never had to work very hard to get gigs outside my day job (which was music). Everyone knew who we were usually. I feel it will be a challenge now getting my name and face out there. But I’m not ready yet anyway. Thanks for the guidance. I’ve never had to work at it before. Should be interesting.