Getting gigs as a teen

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JCBone
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Getting gigs as a teen

Post by JCBone » Fri Aug 13, 2021 6:17 am

A bunch of my friends who are under 18 have already started gigging here and there and I was also considering giving it a try. Does anybody here who has been doing payed gigs from an early age have any tips?
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KWL
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Re: Getting gigs as a teen

Post by KWL » Fri Aug 13, 2021 6:33 am

I started playing a few gigs in high school. I was told I should play everything possible that came my way, even the free stuff. You never know who you will meet and what connections you will make. And be absolutely reliable. Never ever be late for a gig. No excuses.
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harrisonreed
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Re: Getting gigs as a teen

Post by harrisonreed » Fri Aug 13, 2021 6:51 am

I gigged in high school. The local churches loved brass, and the dumb college students kept going on "strike" so I got paid by the schools to sit in their orchestras.
Redthunder
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Re: Getting gigs as a teen

Post by Redthunder » Fri Aug 13, 2021 7:20 am

Are you asking about booking your own gigs? Or getting called to play other people’s gigs? Different for each.
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BGuttman
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Re: Getting gigs as a teen

Post by BGuttman » Fri Aug 13, 2021 7:23 am

Lots of folks would love for you to play, but few want to pay for it. That's the case even for adults

Contact local Catholic churches and see if any will hire you for special masses. I have to confess, this has become a rarer gig as time goes on.

Form a group. Local parades and events often use bands of various types. Sometimes riding floats, other times marching. Dixieland groups are especially popular.

Senior Centers often hire in groups to entertain the residents. Many want you to play for free but sometimes you can get a few dollars.

Look at the site Gigmasters to see what kinds of groups are offering themselves. If you think they can help your group a membership may be worthwhile.

In some areas you may need to join the Musicians' Union. Especially in large metropolitan areas. If you live outside the big city you may not need to join the big (and expensive) Local but instead some smaller (and less expensive) Local.
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Vegasbound
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Re: Getting gigs as a teen

Post by Vegasbound » Fri Aug 13, 2021 8:20 am

See if your friends are willing to put your name forward to whomever is booking the gigs as a dep, as others have said be prepared to go out and play for nothing other than the experience and you never know when you will meet someone who likes how you play and how you are as a person so don't be a ****

Never ever try to under cut another players work (it happens more often than you know) as the trombone world is small and word will get around

When called, be clean, prepared and on time ( 5 mins before start time, your late)

If your playing is to standard you will get a chance
Kdanielsen
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Re: Getting gigs as a teen

Post by Kdanielsen » Fri Aug 13, 2021 9:52 am

Early is on time, on time is late. This is the golden rule.

Don’t smell bad, don’t smell too good. Just don’t smell.

Be kind, and don’t show any frustration or judgment when someone else is struggling. Also don’t make a big deal about your own mistakes.

Don’t be obnoxious when you are warming up.

In short, be a good colleague.
Last edited by Kdanielsen on Fri Aug 13, 2021 11:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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ParLawGod
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Re: Getting gigs as a teen

Post by ParLawGod » Fri Aug 13, 2021 11:31 am

Kdanielsen wrote:
Fri Aug 13, 2021 9:52 am
Early is on time, on time is late. This is the golden rule.

Don’t smell bad, don’t too smell good. Just don’t smell.

Be kind, and don’t show any frustration or judgment when someone else is struggling. Also don’t make a big deal about your own mistakes.

Don’t be obnoxious when you are warming up.

In short, be a good colleague.
Love your advice on being a good colleague! In my area, and for the types of gigs I do, I'll hire a "good" player over an obnoxious "great" player 10/10 times.
Crazy4Tbone86
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Re: Getting gigs as a teen

Post by Crazy4Tbone86 » Sat Aug 14, 2021 6:38 pm

Kdanielsen wrote:
Fri Aug 13, 2021 9:52 am
Early is on time, on time is late. This is the golden rule.

Don’t smell bad, don’t smell too good. Just don’t smell.

Be kind, and don’t show any frustration or judgment when someone else is struggling. Also don’t make a big deal about your own mistakes.

Don’t be obnoxious when you are warming up.

In short, be a good colleague.
I also love all of that advice.

My two cents worth is this.......Don't be picky and have an open mind.

When I was in high school, I was asked to play in a Polka Band. Wondering if a "Polka Band" would be a good group to play in, I approached two college-aged musicians and asked for advice. One said, "Don't do it. The trombone part will be nothing but off beats." Another said, "They will probably assume you are over 21 if you play in that group and you could get a lot of complimentary beer!" Typical thinking for a college kid!

Anyway, I took the position and never regretted it. The Polka Band played a lot of gigs at beer gardens and local town carnivals. We did the Kutztown Fair every summer......constant playing for 8 -10 hours every day (I think back in the 1970s and 80s, the fair was 9 or 10 days straight). For a few summers, we were the "house band" at the end of the Atlantic City (NJ) steel pier. Many weekends, we would drive down to AC (from Lancaster, PA) on Friday afternoon and play steel pier gigs on Friday night, Saturday and Sunday. They would give us complimentary hotel rooms and a meal or two per day. What a great gig for a high school kid! ....and it continued into college.

Again.....don't be picky if the opportunity to play arises. Any chance to gig is a great opportunity. That little Polka Band decision ended up paying for about 1/5 of my college education!
Brian D. Hinkley - Player, Teacher, Technician and Trombone Enthusiast
skaskaster
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Re: Getting gigs as a teen

Post by skaskaster » Mon Aug 16, 2021 7:40 am

KWL wrote:
Fri Aug 13, 2021 6:33 am
I was told I should play everything possible that came my way, even the free stuff. You never know who you will meet and what connections you will make.
Some years ago I saw one video masterclass by James Morrison on youtube where he said the same stuff. Since then I tried to do so, and really met some musicians who invited me to some part-time jobs after that. So it really works.
Conn 6H
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elmsandr
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Re: Getting gigs as a teen

Post by elmsandr » Mon Aug 16, 2021 8:17 am

Just a quick thought on one way to 'be a good colleague' ... don't complain. About a lot of things, but as idle chit-chat just don't. You never know when somebody asks you about something, and you just talk about another group or something else that you do... if you complain that this choir director is crazy or that orchestra is poor when you will find yourself sitting next to that director's spouse or member of the board of that orchestra.

Now, this doesn't mean that you shouldn't provide feedback on something that is wrong or problematic.. absolutely. But don't just have inadvertent negative tone to minor criticisms or comments. Even if others are doing it, find a way to stay positive and constructive.

As for saying yes to gigs... absolutely. Church gigs are great. If you can get yourself a brass quintet that will read out of a hymnal, you can probably play as many services as you want at various places. But you need to be able to sightread for public consumption AND work with whatever organist/pianist/choir is present; not insignificant skills if you haven't done it before. Polka gigs are also fantastic, fewer than they used to be, but some of my favorite gigs. Community theater pit orchestras are another great option. Feel free to call these places proactively. They may have all that they need, but the worst thing they can tell you is no.

Some random gigs I did in High School
-A few Orchestras that were a little out of my small town
-Some Jazz bands that needed subs
-Community Chorale brass support
-Community Bands in at least two cities
-Community Theater in a couple of different cities
-Church services at many churches (4+)
-Brass Choir/Trombone choir in public shopping places
-Polka band

Only one of these paid "real" money, a few others paid a nominal sum that covered expenses, a couple were gratis. Kept me out of trouble, and I learned fairly well how to behave in public. Also learned what I liked and didn't like about some groups. For example, I love playing pit orchestras. I hate how some of those groups like to rehearse, so now I choose more carefully which ones I will say yes to.

Cheers,
Andy
mbarbier
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Re: Getting gigs as a teen

Post by mbarbier » Mon Aug 16, 2021 9:41 am

elmsandr wrote:
Mon Aug 16, 2021 8:17 am
Just a quick thought on one way to 'be a good colleague' ... don't complain. About a lot of things, but as idle chit-chat just don't. You never know when somebody asks you about something, and you just talk about another group or something else that you do... if you complain that this choir director is crazy or that orchestra is poor when you will find yourself sitting next to that director's spouse or member of the board of that orchestra.

Now, this doesn't mean that you shouldn't provide feedback on something that is wrong or problematic.. absolutely. But don't just have inadvertent negative tone to minor criticisms or comments. Even if others are doing it, find a way to stay positive and constructive.


There's tons of great advice in this thread- I think the complaining one brings up a good point, especially. A lot of freelancer musicians seem to make a pass time out of complaining- some people seem to just do it kind of as a letting off steam and some are genuinely dark. Either way it's really easy to get caught up in that and learning to keep a balance is really important. Some people get really attached to that kind of talk so learning to either keep it light and humourous without saying anything that you would feel issue with other people hearing or learning to say "oh I hadn't thought about that" is a very useful skill. Basically when people cross that line from reasonable complaint to dark, just find ways to be politeand let them have their space to do that without it becoming yours too.
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