#6 Being A Musician: The First Real Gig

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A real gig is one that you get paid for, when you ask for money there is now a certain expectation that you have the ability to complete the job, so you have a lot of preparation to do before you start thinking about getting paid.

The tips I will give you are based on my own experience and I’m going to start with my very first band, not because we were great, but because I made so many mistakes and learned something from it all. My first band was a four piece two accordions bass and drums and I doubled on guitar and vocals and we did very well as a wedding band for about a year when I moved on to other things, I was 15 years old.

1…Decide what genre and market that you are aiming for and work on your sets, making sure that you have them well rehearsed, take time with this because if you do it well you are sure to get more work each time you do a gig.

2…Promote what you are good at, we were very popular at weddings because we could play Scottish music on the accordions, then I could change to guitar and vocal and second accordion on a farfisa organ, then we became a pop cover band, which was good for a wedding because young and old were kept happy.

3…Always give your client an invoice confirming the fee that is to be paid and who is to pay you, which is much more professional. At one gig after we were finished I couldn’t find the person who was supposed to pay me and I was eventually told where he was hiding, he was avoiding me, and had had spent about a third of the band’s money on drink. We eventually got the cash but speak to your client before the gig or at the gig before you start.

4…Make an effort to look the part, eg you wouldn’t expect a plumber to come and fix your sink wearing a suite. Get your image sorted and some professional photographs taken. Yes the music comes first but our most predominant sense is our eyes and we all make very quick judgements based on what we see, if people like what they see they will be predisposed to like what they hear. 

In the next blog I will give you some tips on how to adapt to an audience at the gig.

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