So you’re asked to play for a gig and you have to show up and gel with these guys like you’ve been together for years…. possible? Yes. Difficult? Yes and no. Is there a secret to it? No… but glad you asked…
The first thing is, one… preparation. Don’t show up unprepared. You’re instantly in their cross hairs if you come across as unprepared. I know, it sucks to hear that you have to work in this instant gratification day-in-age, but you’ll be surprised how far a little homework will do. Listen and learn, read through the charts and make notes, know what tones you’re gonna go for, know what EFX you’re gonna go to in each song… BE PREPARED!!! The extra mile will ALWAYS pay off.
Two… stay on top of your craft. Somebody once told me, “Knowledge is power.“ Probably some of the best advice I’ve ever had. One of the things that I’ve continued to push myself in doing throughout the years is being able to read in every key, solo in every key, with and especially without the capo. No CRUTCHES. Again… go the extra mile. You will NOT regret it. No gig scares me. I may not be the best… but I’ll always play proficiently and won’t be taken off guard no matter how many flats are in the key signature. Set some of your own goals, that you feel will make you excel as a player, and OWN them… but don’t be a show off. Nobody’s looking for a rock star, which leads me to my next point…
And it’s probably the most important of all three… the golden rule: Treat others the way you would like them to treat you. You can be the best ever, but if people don’t like you… they won’t call you back. I promise you, there are a lot of great musicians out there serving coffee in Nashville and not getting any call backs because they were difficult to work with. Make them miss you as soon as you walk out the door. You will always have work…. always.
There’s always more advice regarding this subject… but start with those… that should keep you busy for a while.
Happy gig hunting!!!