Getting Yourself Out There
I am studying under a Berklee graduate in Miami, FL. Just about 2 weeks ago he said "Wouldn't you like to to start getting some gigs as a working bassist?" I said, "Of course. I'd love that." He responded by telling me I was just about ready for professional electric bass gigs. (I'm not quite there on upright yet, but I'm working on it)
So I'm just curious... how did you all come about making a career out of music for yourselves? More specifically, when did you begin to notice that music became more than just something you love to do, and actually brought you revenue?
I ask because I find that the musically involved people around me look to me if they need someone to play bass, record, etc., friends and professors included, however these are not really paying gigs. I don't really play much outside the college anymore (used to when I was in original bands, but not really paid gigs) so aside from the occasional service grant they are just things I do as favors or because I enjoy playing.
The local music scene in Miami is not all that great, but what would you recommend to someone who wants to start getting paid gigs, whether they be session work, live gigs, cover tunes, etc? Is moving to a more musician-friendly city a good idea if possible? Thanks ahead of time for your help.
Meet people who are doing what you want to do and network with them (go to live gigs, and work it online) . (usually NOT other bass players, but drummers, pianists, etc..) The opportunities will come and you have to be ready for them; which includes knowing repertoire, stylistic variety, etc..
Miami has about as many gig opportunities as other major cities. I know a lot of guys who do a lot of gigs there.
Drummers are your friends. Many of the great gigs have come thru my relationships with them.
I can't speak for Miami, but in most cases the cover band gigs (top 40, country, rock...) are the best way to start making money. If you know anyone doing that then start there. Also, I second Mr. Bailey's post. Drummers, singers, pianists, guitarists will call for gigs before another bassist, unless they need you to fill in.
Some funny stories about that from the LA days. None that I will publish though. LOL
Haha...Again, I completely agree with Mr. Bailey. That gets into the topic of "stealing" gigs, which I'm guessing already has a thread somewhere.
Chuck Rainey came to Berklee a few years back and in my Survey of Bass Styles class said this in response to a student who asked the question "how will I know what to charge for a gig or session?" Chuck's response was, "play all the gigs you can, for free even, and get good at the language of music and the role of bass, also develop your voice, your own style which will offer unique contributions." When you get real good, and are consistently adding magical tracks to both live and studio sessions, folks will then know that your playing has value, and THEN you will be able to ask for a particular wage for your performance services. Moral of the story being if you get your act together understanding "bass" as it functions in songs, and you get your own playing to a level of proficiency worthy of making music magic, all is good. That's why we all practice. In the hallway this morning at school I ran into John Pattituci, Chris Loftlin, Anthony Vitti, Dave Clark, and Whit Brown all going to class. What do we do in class? we teach the language of music and the lexicon of bass, groove, timbre, and purpose. It's a blast of an atmosphere!! Come visit...
First off, i wanna say that i've been loving this Berklee Bass Department thing.
Secondly networking is really important. From my teacher and other persons who i have talked to, networking at times seems even more important than superior skills (just my impression from how they describe the scene).
I think that even if someone can get gigs because they know somebody who knows somebody we should all strive to reach that magical nirvana level of musicianship
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