Guide to getting and playing better gigs


   

Work The Crowd

     
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Having a great night playing gives you an incredibly rewarding feeling, and is something that every professional musician strives for with each gig. Now aside from your personal satisfaction in your playing, every gig also provides the potential for more personal success. The kind of valuable benefit that you can get from taking advantage of your breaks, after each set, to "work the crowd." Getting out in the audience and mingling with the customers can benefit you in several important areas. Here are just five ways you can use this time to improve your career.


Mingling Improves Your Image:
This first benefit is probably pretty obvious, yet many musicians fail to really take advantage of this opportunity. Getting out to talk and mix with the people of your audiences can really win them over. Now that they've met you, they may end up staying longer at your performance than they had planned on. Have a schedule of your upcoming performances you can hand out, or a website address so they can check your playing schedule out online. Just make sure you have something that they can take home with them enabling them to know where you're playing and to become part of your following. This makes club owners very happy when you can bring in a lot of your own crowd when you're booked in his/her club.

Sell Merchandise:
If your band has any kind of merchandise, CDs, t-shirts, hats, etc, this is a time to make a few sales. Some people may be too shy to approach you directly, so it helps if you're out mingling with them. During the conversation with them, you can mention the CD that you just finished, or something like that, and this could help make some sales and, again, could recruit more people for your following. If they've got your CD to listen to, or your t-shirt to wear, they'll be likely to want to come see you perform again.

Recruit Students:
Often there'll be amateur guitarists in the crowd who'll (hopefully) admire your playing. Using your break times to meet these people could give you the opportunity to let these players know that you teach and that you'd be happy to book some lesson time with them. Even if you're on the road, keep lesson materials with you in case an opportunity pops up to do some teaching while you're travelling.

Talk To Future Contacts:
You never know who may be in the crowd. There could be another band who likes what you do and would like to offer you a better position in their band. Or maybe you're happy in your current band. It's still good to make, and maintain business contacts for the future. There may also be another club owner, or agent there who'd be interested in getting you more work.

Develop Social Skills:
The business of music is very "people" oriented, and the better your social skills are, the easier time you'll have in the business. Getting out in the audience every night really pushes you to improve your people skills. Use your break times to meet new people. Start conversations with customers and make them feel good about being there to see you. Don't ignore people when they want to approach you. Now, there's a good chance you'll be dealing with people who may be a little too heavily into "Party Mode," and may be breathing pure alcohol into your face while they attempt to speak. This is a great opportunity to work on your skills at still being social with them, yet being able to gracefully move on to another audience member who wants to talk to you.


Having a gig to work on your playing is great, just don't miss the other valuable, and sometimes priceless opportunities to take advantage of your break times to "work the crowd!"

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