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Terre Haute Federation of Musicians
The Business of Music 3

GIVE EM WHAT THEY WANT

The more people who hear you play, the better the chances of getting more work. Maybe not better work, but certainly more work. The problem though, is that we are professional musicians, and sometimes we dont like the gigs we get. We tend to be selective. How many times have you thought about how much you hate playing the tunes required for a particular gig? Weve all been there.

If you take only the gigs that let you play just the stuff you dig, you might find yourself on public assistance by the end of the month.

If you want a lot of work, you have to play a lot of venues. There are a lot of great musicians out there who are still waiting for the right cool gigs to come along. If you want to get the work, people have to know youre out there and that youre a pro. And that means taking the good with the bad.

            If you want work as a musician theres a lot out there. If you want to take your career to the next level, those bad jobs [or at least bad in your mind] could give you the exposure you need. The more people that hear you, the more work youll get. They may not be to your liking, but how bad do you want to work? If youre good, people will know it no matter where or what youre playing.

            You need to be able to play anything, and play it well. You also have to look like youre enjoying it too.

            And theres the catch. A great musician with a bad attitude is worse than a fair musician with great people skills. We are in the entertainment business. We are in the fun business. If you want to do something that isnt fun, sell aluminum siding. It is our job to make people happy. Thats what we get paid money for. At least look like youre happy when youre gigging. You can turn off the happy face when you get home.

            The people who ask for the dumb requests, who have too much to drink, who say they can play better than you are sometimes the people who are, unwittingly sometimes, the same ones whocould be instrumental in getting you more gigs. They love to talkto run their mouth to their friends. So make an art out of smiling when youd rather slap someone. Never mind that its the thousandth time youve played Born to Be Wild or have to play Takin Care of Business.

            Getting exposure [paid exposure] will get you more work, but if you take the less-than-desirable work , be professional about it. Dont whine, complain, sneer, bitch or moan [especially at the gig]. Youre only as good as your last gig.