You’ve practiced for years. You’ve scoured thrift stores for the right wardrobe. You have a new set of strings, an amp that goes to 11, and you are ready to rock! There can’t be much more than that when preparing for your first gig, right? I mean, how hard can it be?
We can get this out of the way right now. Most people who play guitar are not professionals. The musical instrument and accessories industries realized several years ago that in order to be successful you have to market to pros, semi-pros and hobbyists alike. No matter where you put yourself in the Venn diagram of the music business, you probably care about the music you make and the gear you use to make it. You probably spent hours practicing, maybe even getting a band together, and hopefully doing a few gigs. This article isn’t really aimed at the working pros; they have already made the choice to put a value on their musical work. This article is for the current and future hobbyist and semi-pros who are either thinking about entering the world of musical commerce, or have already dipped their toes in the water.
I’ve covered a couple of topics already, dealing with the freelancing and business portion of playing out and gigging (feel free to review them here and here). And the comments thus far have been truly awesome and led to some good points on both sides, which is what we’re going to discuss today. In my years playing out, on the road and at home I have run into many musicians that can fall into two groups: the Hobbyist and the Professional. Today, we’re going to talk about the differences – and similarities – between the two.
Sometimes you feel like the whole world has gone crazy. At least, that’s how I feel whenever I come across a person on an internet forum repeating the increasingly-prevalent diatribe about the supposed impracticality of the 100-watt tube amp.
Success or failure at a gig often hinges on a single moment that tests you in some way. It could be a test of your gear, your chops, your energy level, your self-confidence, and at some gigs, your stomach. The best thing you can do to be ready for situations like this is to prepare in advance, and make sure you are ready for whatever a gig can throw at you.