Hello to you all, my name is Kenn Smith. For the past 4 to 5 years in doing clinics and writing articles it has been my goal to help the working musician by passing along what I feel is valuable information on how to survive in this business. Whether you are a freelancer or a member of a band, if you do this for a living there are some things I feel every working bassist should know. And FYI — I base all of my information on 22 years as a professional.
I like to start this article by answering that question that haunts every working person. How do I get gigs? First, to understand the answer to this question you must realize that there is no set way, no golden path. Just good old fashion hard work and determination. I know, this is not what you wanted to hear. But the truth of the matter is that “life is hard” speech your folks gave you back in the day is one of the keys to surviving in this business.
You must also realize that this is a business. And in many cases you are the sole proprietor, an independent contractor hired to do a job. There will be lots of gigs you love and plenty you will hate. But you must take the good with the bad, do your job and earn your pay.
So how do you get gigs? I’ll tell you what always worked for me. “NETWORKING”. Now having a website is a good idea but nothing beats meeting people face-to-face.
- Start off by getting some business cards. Nothing fancy or flashy — just a plain, simple card with your contact information.
- Also make it a habit to keep a pen and a small pad with you. Now I know most of you have the fancy cell phones and what have you, but if you are like me those things never work when you need them to. And when an important person is giving you his or her information they don’t have time to wait for you to figure out what’s wrong with your gadget. Write it down and download it later.
- Try going to events and places where there are people in the business and just hang out. Bump some heads — rub some shoulders.
- And here’s an important note. Don’t be all business all the time, relax and enjoy yourself. Some of my most important contacts have come from just having a glass of ale with a cat and talking about… nothing. Smile, lie back and be of good sprits. Most of the time you’ll get hired for a gig just because of your wonderful personality.
Well that’s it for now… more on this subject in the next issue. See ya then.