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How to make a living playing music: #3024008 01/16/20 06:09 PM
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Notes_Norton Offline OP
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How to make a living playing music:

1. Play what the people want to hear

2. Pace the audience. Play the right songs at the right time so the audience has the best possible experience

3. Play at the volume that is appropriate for the gig

4. Never-ever, cancel, call in sick, show up late, or take long breaks - the show must go on

5. If the place is jumping play a little extra, skip a break, and even play a little late if it's OK with the owner

6. Play for the house or the entertainment purchaser. Put yourself in his/her shoes and do what you would want the band to do if you hired the band

7. Dress appropriately and be friendly and easy to work with

8. Do your best whether there is 1 customer or 10,000, and always strive to be better than your competition

This has worked for me since 1964. I've never been out of work unless I was between bands or turning down gigs for my annual vacation.

Insights and incites by Notes


Bob "Notes" Norton
Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
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The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<
Re: How to make a living playing music: [Re: Notes_Norton] #3024014 01/16/20 06:28 PM
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All good stuff!
As always, there is more than one way to skin a cat and more than one cat that needs skinning.

So, I'll add some things that work for my band (3 gigs this week, pretty normal).

We can play a fairly diverse range of popular music. If it's a new place, the singer will try a few different styles to see if something catches the crowds ear.
They dance to country? We play country. Or rock or blues or funky. If our friendly neighbors to the north are there (Canadians) we will play some Tragically Hip for them. Great songs and they love that band.

Take requests, even if you have to fake it. Check quickly with the band to see if anybody knows it (we had a request for some Elvis and I know Little Sister and Marie's The Name). Let whoever knows the song lead. People love when you at least try to play their request. Sometimes it's enough to play a different song by the same artist, it shows you want to please them. The tip jar can be happy.

Know your competition, find out who is good, solid and reliable. We've had multiple offers for the same date more than once.
They are asking YOU to play but you can't. Don't tell them NO. Tell them you would LOVE to play for them, have a previous booking and recommend/provide contact info for another reliable band.
They will call you again or book you then and there for a different date when you can play.
If you say NO, it is likely they will never call you again. Don't do that!

Cheers, Kuru


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: How to make a living playing music: [Re: Notes_Norton] #3024041 01/16/20 08:04 PM
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If you're a cover band, sadly it all comes down to this: we are beer salesmen.

Originally Posted by Notes_Norton
How to make a living playing music:


The more beer sales you generate, the more $$$ you make. Simple economics.

Quote
1. Play what the people want to hear


Because they respond by dancing, sweating, getting thirsty, buying more beer, dancing, sweating, getting thirsty, buying more beer, repeat ad infinitum

Quote
2. Pace the audience. Play the right songs at the right time so the audience has the best possible experience


Because they respond by dancing, sweating, getting thirsty...

Quote
3. Play at the volume that is appropriate for the gig


So barmaids can hear the drink orders after patrons dance, sweat, get thirsty...

Quote
4. Never-ever, cancel, call in sick, show up late, or take long breaks - the show must go on


The patrons must dance, sweat, get thirsty...

Quote
5. If the place is jumping play a little extra, skip a break, and even play a little late if it's OK with the owner


What barowner would turn down a chance for more beer sales from dancing sweaty thirsty patrons

Quote
6. Play for the house or the entertainment purchaser. Put yourself in his/her shoes and do what you would want the band to do if you hired the band


Entertained patrons = more beer sales *kaching* *kaching* *kaching*

Quote
7. Dress appropriately and be friendly and easy to work with


Wear expendable clothing when (not if) your inebriated fans spill beer on you while they dance and get thirsty. They didn't mean it so be friendly and easy to work with. After all, they love you.

Quote
8. Do your best whether there is 1 customer or 10,000, and always strive to be better than your competition


Because there's always a better beer salesman who do a better job of getting patrons to dance, get sweaty...

Quote
This has worked for me since 1964. I've never been out of work unless I was between bands or turning down gigs for my annual vacation.


Bars don't hire you because of your stellar musical skills or because of the cool looking gear you bring.

They hire you to sell drinks. You sell drinks by getting your patrons on the dance floor, sweat, get thirsty yada yada yada

You wouldn't believe the number of experienced musicians who never realized this.

Last edited by The Real MC; 01/16/20 08:14 PM.
Re: How to make a living playing music: [Re: Notes_Norton] #3024042 01/16/20 08:19 PM
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The Real MC nails it, totally.

There is the occasional exception for us, usually in the summer.
We play a Harley Davidson place outdoors 2-3 times a summer.
They sell motorcycles, not beer. They like us so we get hired.

Private party this Friday, may seem an exception but they hired us because they like to drink beer when we play. VFW Hall, rented for the evening. They don't hire bands, the renter does.
And the renter does not sell beer.

Still, beer. :- D


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: How to make a living playing music: [Re: Notes_Norton] #3024065 01/16/20 10:12 PM
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I'm in 2 cover bands that gig semi-regularly.

The "better" band is great musically but suffers from musical self-indulgence and gigs are scarce. The other band plays all the songs that everyone has heard a million times...Talk Dirty To Me, 867-5309, What I Like About You, etc. We pack the dance floor and have to turn down gigs.

Re: How to make a living playing music: [Re: Notes_Norton] #3024232 01/17/20 07:52 PM
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Notes_Norton Offline OP
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If playing a lounge, selling drinks is what the entertainment purchaser wants. It's a profit making venue, and the only reason to be in business is to turn a profit. (I quit playing bars in the early 90s. As liquor taxes went up and drunken driving penalties got severe, I saw the writing on the wall and moved to a more stable market.)

If playing at a country club or yacht club the entertainment purchaser wants you to play quietly while they enjoy dinner and then play louder for dance sets so the members have a good time. The Yacht or Country club makes it's money by yearly memberships and people coming out to enjoy dinner and dancing. These people don't slug down beer after beer so getting them to show up when your band is playing becomes your priority.

If playing at a party for any other organization you want the people to tell the entertainment purchaser they had a great time so the next time they throw a party, they will hire you. We've done parties for various clubs and retirement communities here in Florida for 20 or more years running at some venues.

We've had a once a week lunchtime house gig for 12 years now. We've been there through 10 F&B managers and two different owners. Of all the people that were there 12 years ago, we are the only ones still there. We don't worry about selling sandwiches, we build a crowd to the point where the deck (outdoors) is overflowing and our fans know to bring lawn chairs so they have somewhere to sit. That makes a profit for the house.

It's not always selling beer. In commercial venues it's profit, in non-commercial venues it's simply fun.

Your skills as a musician are what make you better than your competition. If you combine your skills with what the people want to hear, when they want to hear it, they will come see you, and if at a bar, they will buy drinks while they are there.

Remember it's step number 8: Do your best whether there is 1 customer or 10,000, and always strive to be better than your competition

You have to strive to be better than your competition but if you don't follow the other 7 suggestions, you aren't going to be asked back. If you aren't asked back, you aren't going to make a living at this.

Insights and incites by Notes


Bob "Notes" Norton
Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box
The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<
Re: How to make a living playing music: [Re: Notes_Norton] #3024250 01/17/20 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Notes_Norton
If playing a lounge, selling drinks is what the entertainment purchaser wants. It's a profit making venue, and the only reason to be in business is to turn a profit. (I quit playing bars in the early 90s. As liquor taxes went up and drunken driving penalties got severe, I saw the writing on the wall and moved to a more stable market.)

If playing at a country club or yacht club the entertainment purchaser wants you to play quietly while they enjoy dinner and then play louder for dance sets so the members have a good time. The Yacht or Country club makes it's money by yearly memberships and people coming out to enjoy dinner and dancing. These people don't slug down beer after beer so getting them to show up when your band is playing becomes your priority.

If playing at a party for any other organization you want the people to tell the entertainment purchaser they had a great time so the next time they throw a party, they will hire you. We've done parties for various clubs and retirement communities here in Florida for 20 or more years running at some venues.

We've had a once a week lunchtime house gig for 12 years now. We've been there through 10 F&B managers and two different owners. Of all the people that were there 12 years ago, we are the only ones still there. We don't worry about selling sandwiches, we build a crowd to the point where the deck (outdoors) is overflowing and our fans know to bring lawn chairs so they have somewhere to sit. That makes a profit for the house.

It's not always selling beer. In commercial venues it's profit, in non-commercial venues it's simply fun.

Your skills as a musician are what make you better than your competition. If you combine your skills with what the people want to hear, when they want to hear it, they will come see you, and if at a bar, they will buy drinks while they are there.

Remember it's step number 8: Do your best whether there is 1 customer or 10,000, and always strive to be better than your competition

You have to strive to be better than your competition but if you don't follow the other 7 suggestions, you aren't going to be asked back. If you aren't asked back, you aren't going to make a living at this.

Insights and incites by Notes



I don't dispute your version of success, I think it's great that you shared it. It is certainly sensible and real world. Much of it applies in our humble locale but not everything.

For perspective, you would find a very different real world up here. We have winter. People come here for the summer, it's an amazing place to be then.

Yesterday's gig was cancelled because the bartender and the servers all called in for snow/transportation. I have a friend who cannot leave his home up the hill a ways and our bassist may not be able to get down his hill if the snow plow doesn't come today so we will play without him. There is one Country Club nearby, played there several times. They don't have an Entertainment Organizer, if they did it would be a summer job.

That said, people go to nightclubs year round.

So I would propose that the first item on your list be - "Move somewhere inhabited by wealthy folks with lots of Country Clubs and Yacht Clubs that have Entertainment Organizers."
As they say, "Horses for Courses." Cheers, Kuru


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Re: How to make a living playing music: [Re: Notes_Norton] #3024300 01/18/20 03:49 AM
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Replace "beer" with "party" or "dinner music" or "pole dancers" or any profit commodity... All the same, we're salesmen one way or another.

Re: How to make a living playing music: [Re: Notes_Norton] #3024325 01/18/20 06:56 AM
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Do any of you guys who play covers actually pay anything to the talented, creative individuals who write the songs from which you're profiting?

It'd be a crime if you didn't...

Re: How to make a living playing music: [Re: The Real MC] #3024327 01/18/20 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by The Real MC
Replace "beer" with "party" or "dinner music" or "pole dancers" or any profit commodity... All the same, we're salesmen one way or another.


You could substitute "Fun" since we don't actually pour or sell anything. We make it fun for people to come to a place and keep it in business.


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Re: How to make a living playing music: [Re: BMD] #3024394 01/18/20 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by BMD
Do any of you guys who play covers actually pay anything to the talented, creative individuals who write the songs from which you're profiting?

It'd be a crime if you didn't...


I don't but most of the places I play proudly display their ASCAP license stickers with a paid date on them. Since ASCAP is very active here, I would assume all. And posting the sticker on the office door means they don't have to spend time with the ASCAP rep, he can see they are current with a glance.

Notes


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Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
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The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<
Re: How to make a living playing music: [Re: KuruPrionz] #3024396 01/18/20 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
<...snip...>
For perspective, you would find a very different real world up here. We have winter. People come here for the summer, it's an amazing place to be then.<...snip...>

We get slow in the summer. But since I can make in 2 days in the winter at private affairs as much as a club pays for 6, and and this week I've done 5 gigs, I can either save money for the slow season or live the slow season on credit and pay it off in the winter. I chose to save for the summer.

In the summer, I'm lucky to get one gig a week. In September I'm lucky to get 2 gigs all month, but in the end, it all works out. Come October and the snowbirds start arriving.

The down side of one-nighters is schlepping the gear every night, but it keeps me strong. BTW I don't have to pay a gym to lift heavy weights wink

Basically the 8 tips I posted worked when I was gigging in clubs too. There are others to be added, and some of these can be elaborated on as well. It's just a basic guideline.

If you are entertaining the people well, the will stay longer and come back to see you more often. That spells profits for commercial venues and repeat bookings for all venues.

And every locale has it's differences. If I went farther south to Miami, I'd have to play a lot more Musica Latina than I do up here, and if I went west towards the big lake in the middle of Florida, I'd have to play a lot more current Country than I do now.

All in all, I make my living doing what I love to do. I get up in the morning, go to bed at night, and in between do what I want to do. That's one definition of success and one definition of freedom.

Making a living doing music and nothing but music isn't for everyone, but it works for me.

Notes


Bob "Notes" Norton
Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box
The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<
Re: How to make a living playing music: [Re: Notes_Norton] #3024404 01/18/20 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Notes_Norton
Originally Posted by BMD
Do any of you guys who play covers actually pay anything to the talented, creative individuals who write the songs from which you're profiting?

It'd be a crime if you didn't...


I don't but most of the places I play proudly display their ASCAP license stickers with a paid date on them. Since ASCAP is very active here, I would assume all. And posting the sticker on the office door means they don't have to spend time with the ASCAP rep, he can see they are current with a glance.

Notes


This!


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Re: How to make a living playing music: [Re: Notes_Norton] #3024407 01/18/20 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Notes_Norton
Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
<...snip...>
For perspective, you would find a very different real world up here. We have winter. People come here for the summer, it's an amazing place to be then.<...snip...>

We get slow in the summer. But since I can make in 2 days in the winter at private affairs as much as a club pays for 6, and and this week I've done 5 gigs, I can either save money for the slow season or live the slow season on credit and pay it off in the winter. I chose to save for the summer.

In the summer, I'm lucky to get one gig a week. In September I'm lucky to get 2 gigs all month, but in the end, it all works out. Come October and the snowbirds start arriving.

The down side of one-nighters is schlepping the gear every night, but it keeps me strong. BTW I don't have to pay a gym to lift heavy weights wink

Basically the 8 tips I posted worked when I was gigging in clubs too. There are others to be added, and some of these can be elaborated on as well. It's just a basic guideline.

If you are entertaining the people well, the will stay longer and come back to see you more often. That spells profits for commercial venues and repeat bookings for all venues.

And every locale has it's differences. If I went farther south to Miami, I'd have to play a lot more Musica Latina than I do up here, and if I went west towards the big lake in the middle of Florida, I'd have to play a lot more current Country than I do now.

All in all, I make my living doing what I love to do. I get up in the morning, go to bed at night, and in between do what I want to do. That's one definition of success and one definition of freedom.

Making a living doing music and nothing but music isn't for everyone, but it works for me.

Notes


And my hat is off to you!
Music is one income stream for me, a good one. And I love it.
As an electric guitarist in a sensible band that plays at appropriate volumes, I am able to travel light.
We are currently upgrading the big PA to smaller, lighter gear and then slagging speakers will be much easier.
Tonight we play a place where we can use small gear and play at low volume, love it!
I bought a Fishman Loudbox Performer for certain gigs and it has become our "baby PA" system.
It sounds fantastic, works well as both stage monitor and main simultaneously and weighs 30 pounds.

I've played a diverse catalog for decades, give the audience what they want and all is well. Sometimes that means giving everybody a bit of "their kind of music", it's not unusual at all for us to play Country, Rock, Blues, Latin, Pop and any requests we can accomodate in a single set. Sometimes we do that just to find out what everybody likes and then focus on that genre. Other times you end up all over the map all night. Either way, I feel blessed to be able to share my music with everybody. Well, except for those requests for Sweet Home Alabama!!! Cheers, Kuru


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Re: How to make a living playing music: [Re: Notes_Norton] #3024456 01/19/20 01:56 AM
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I'm not making a living playing music. I'm retired from the working world and only want to play a certain amount. But I kind of stumbled into an odd little corner of the gigging world - old age homes, called ALF's - assisted living facilities. I read an article once that called "reminiscence therapy" what is simply playing the songs the folks remember. I've worked to expand my song list to this end. I also keep learning Beatles songs and some blues that I like, some Rolling Stones. I have a classic rock fakebook that has stuff like "White Room" "Layla" "Roxanne" etc. I play solo piano and sing so I don't have to worry about a band leaning the material. If I don't get to use the classic rock on gigs currently, I figure Boomers (like me) will be aging into these ALF's and the classic rock will be a plus. BTW the Beatles Fakebook and Classic Rock Fakebook are both published by Hal Leonard.

I currently play 8 engagements per month. They're 1 hour each and pay nicely for being only an hour. It's gratifying to see someone who's got some level of dementia enjoying a song they recognize.

Re: How to make a living playing music: [Re: BMD] #3024460 01/19/20 02:11 AM
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Originally Posted by BMD
Do any of you guys who play covers actually pay anything to the talented, creative individuals who write the songs from which you're profiting?

It'd be a crime if you didn't...


Of course we do. The venues have to pay ASCAP/BMI fees if their entertainment performs cover songs.

Re: How to make a living playing music: [Re: Strays Dave] #3024502 01/19/20 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Strays Dave

I'm not making a living playing music. I'm retired from the working world and only want to play a certain amount. But I kind of stumbled into an odd little corner of the gigging world - old age homes, called ALF's - assisted living facilities. I read an article once that called "reminiscence therapy" what is simply playing the songs the folks remember. I've worked to expand my song list to this end. I also keep learning Beatles songs and some blues that I like, some Rolling Stones. I have a classic rock fakebook that has stuff like "White Room" "Layla" "Roxanne" etc. I play solo piano and sing so I don't have to worry about a band leaning the material. If I don't get to use the classic rock on gigs currently, I figure Boomers (like me) will be aging into these ALF's and the classic rock will be a plus. BTW the Beatles Fakebook and Classic Rock Fakebook are both published by Hal Leonard.

I currently play 8 engagements per month. They're 1 hour each and pay nicely for being only an hour. It's gratifying to see someone who's got some level of dementia enjoying a song they recognize.


Nice, I've played ALF before and convalescent homes too. There is no more appreciative audience anywhere and that is wonderful.
Also, by keeping up on your own music, you will ward off any loss of cognizance by exercising your mental facilities and mind to body coordination.
So it's a win/win!


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: How to make a living playing music: [Re: Notes_Norton] #3024565 01/19/20 06:49 PM
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I've done a few ALF and nursing homes. Mostly fed to me by agencies as I don't do cold calls anymore.

The gigs are short, pleasant, and it's rewarding to see people light up to hear the music of their lives. I've seen people who can't speak anymore mouth all the words.

We did one facility 3 times (they asked us back) that is a lock-down place because someone with Alzheimer's might go wandering. The last time we were there, a very old gentleman was dancing with the staff and a few of the other patients and he was quite a good dancer. While we were breaking down, Leilani complemented him on his dancing, and he didn't remember dancing at all. Other than that he was perfectly fluent and you would never guess he was impaired.

Playing those gigs is sad to see people like that and happy to help them have a nice day.

We also give a free concert at the nursing home of the VA hospital about 50 miles away every year or two. It's for vets confined to wheelchairs. I've met a lot of nice folks there. It's my way of saying "thanks" to the men and women who did our country's bidding. I may not agree with all my country asks them to do, but I have a lot of respect for those who do it.

Notes


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Re: How to make a living playing music: [Re: Notes_Norton] #3025439 01/24/20 02:06 AM
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I figured out a long time ago that attempting to make a living from music was never likely to be practical for me. Fortunately my wife and I are well educated (her much more so than me!) and have steady employment with solid careers that we actually enjoy most of the time. To live in the manner we're accustomed too would undoubtedly require serious royalty money from a number of hit songs to help subsidize our little duo gigs! At this point we're not far from being able to retire comfortably.

We do enjoy playing however and intend to keep doing it as long as possible. It's a hobby for us but the money we do make is applied to our vacation and travel fund, the proceeds from our recent gigs have allowed us to pay for 1/2 the cost of an all-inclusive trip to Cancun we're taking in February. There's always a possibility that I would consider joining a band again but I'm not likely to consider it until I've retired from full time employment and would be able to go on the road with a professional group making attractive income.

Re: How to make a living playing music: [Re: Notes_Norton] #3025458 01/24/20 04:00 AM
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One thing I haven't seen discussed here is how to differentiate yourself and command premium pay compared to the other bands in town. While true that you need to play what people want to hear, you also run the risk of being no different than every other band in town, and thus subject to the low pay everybody is always complaining about.

I had to bow out because I couldn't maintain the schedule anymore, but I spent close to a decade in a band that was one of the highest paid in the area. We were only playing local bar gigs on weekends and after booking fees, production, etc, were each netting around $40k/yr. We could have made quite a bit more had we been willing to travel and play more than just weekends. So what's the key? A few things:
1). Theme. In our case, we were an 80s tribute, and similar to other types of tribute bands, these types of things are very popular. You can still be a variety band and a theme band at the same time, though. Having a theme restricts you in some ways but also opens the door to some songs that might be questionable in a strictly variety/pop context. Once you pick your theme, everything should be consistent with the theme. If somebody has never heard of the band and sees the name of the band listed, they should immediately be able to tell what music they play. If somebody sees the band, they should know from the look of the band immediately what to expect to hear. Every song in the setlist should be consistent with the theme. If you pick a good theme, chances are most of the songs the variety bands are playing are in your list anyway, but you elevate to specializing and being a step above the others.
2). Put on a show. Be interesting to watch on stage....MOVE! Dress the part. When you're on break mingling in the crowd, somebody should be able to look at you and know you're with the band. Stand out. Budget allowing, try to bring more production than the typical band, whether lighting, video, stage props, etc. Venues we played mostly had house sound and lights. By just spending an extra $150 we had a light guy bring a few movers and fog and run it with the house lights to make the show better than the other bands people were used to seeing at those venues.
3). Make clever use of social media to build your following and create a buzz. I had temporary tattoos made up of the band logo. On break I would go around and apply them to attractive girls, preferably in groups, and take a picture, then ask to add them on Facebook so I could tag them. Our page was loaded every weekend with pictures of attractive people having fun wearing our logo. Since they were tagged, all their friends who might not know about us all sw the pictures and were drawn to our page as well.


Dan

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.
Re: How to make a living playing music: [Re: Notes_Norton] #3025471 01/24/20 05:55 AM
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GREAT advice, Dan. Bookmarked in case I ever put a live act together again smile

Re: How to make a living playing music: [Re: J. Dead] #3025511 01/24/20 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by J. Dead

I had temporary tattoos made up of the band logo. On break I would go around and apply them to attractive girls, preferably in groups, and take a picture, then ask to add them on Facebook so I could tag them. Our page was loaded every weekend with pictures of attractive people having fun wearing our logo. Since they were tagged, all their friends who might not know about us all sw the pictures and were drawn to our page as well.


Brilliant!

Re: How to make a living playing music: [Re: Notes_Norton] #3025534 01/24/20 04:54 PM
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The comments about the ALFs are very interesting. Music is capable of spreading such joy, and that's just another example.

Re: How to make a living playing music: [Re: Notes_Norton] #3025873 01/26/20 04:15 PM
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Last night we did the opposite of an ALF. It was for seniors who aren't in a hurry to get there.

It was at a senior (55+) community and combination yacht and country club/. It was the party for the 50th anniversary of the development. The oldest guy was also celebrating his 100th birthday yesterday. He used a walker but was bright, had a strong voice and a quick mind.

They started at 4 with cocktails and dinner, we went on a little before 7 (it was supposed to be 6:30 but things ran late). When we played our first song, the dance floor was mobbed. It never stopped so we played over 4 hours, non-stop (without a break). It would have been 5 hours if we started on time.

We paced the audience just right, giving them slow songs when their faces started to look a bit tired, and bringing it back up again. These seniors exhibited remarkable stamina, youthful exuberance, nobody obviously told them to act their age.

When we were done. to our surprise they fed us two baked salmon dinners with all the fixings. The same thing they had for dinner.

If I ever retire, I'll move there.

We've played for them often, and for a number of years now. 3-6 gigs per year, and they always tell us and post on their website, we are their favorite band.

All I do is apply the guidelines of my original post. We don't have to try to be different to get noticed in our market (YMMV), just do a better job. We don't drink or do drugs on the job, we just do the best we can to be much better than our competition.

This has worked for me since I was still in school and as long as it keeps working, I'll be gigging because it's the most fun I can have with my clothes on.

Insights and incites by Notes


Bob "Notes" Norton
Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
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The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<
Re: How to make a living playing music: [Re: Strays Dave] #3026023 01/27/20 05:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Strays Dave

I'm not making a living playing music. I'm retired from the working world and only want to play a certain amount. But I kind of stumbled into an odd little corner of the gigging world - old age homes, called ALF's - assisted living facilities. I read an article once that called "reminiscence therapy" what is simply playing the songs the folks remember. I've worked to expand my song list to this end. I also keep learning Beatles songs and some blues that I like, some Rolling Stones. I have a classic rock fakebook that has stuff like "White Room" "Layla" "Roxanne" etc. I play solo piano and sing so I don't have to worry about a band leaning the material. If I don't get to use the classic rock on gigs currently, I figure Boomers (like me) will be aging into these ALF's and the classic rock will be a plus. BTW the Beatles Fakebook and Classic Rock Fakebook are both published by Hal Leonard.

I currently play 8 engagements per month. They're 1 hour each and pay nicely for being only an hour. It's gratifying to see someone who's got some level of dementia enjoying a song they recognize.


Good to see you Indigo!

Re: How to make a living playing music: [Re: AlamoJoe] #3026307 01/28/20 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by AlamoJoe


Good to see you Indigo!


Thanks Alamo JimJoe - good to virtually see you too.

I played yesterday (Monday) for oldsters in a memory care ALF . The memory care gig will only be once a month. I'd made a short list of 1960's TV themes (Leave It To Beaver, Mr. Ed, I Love Lucy and a few others) and played thru them at home to get familiar. Then, at the ALF I tried playing the TV themes and having people guess the TV show. I did have one person identity I Love Lucy - but then she wanted a prize. Oops. The other TV themes went unrecognized by the folks.

I'm trying some ideas out. Probably won't do that one again.

Last edited by Strays Dave; 01/28/20 01:18 PM.
Re: How to make a living playing music: [Re: Strays Dave] #3026598 01/29/20 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Strays Dave
Originally Posted by AlamoJoe


Good to see you Indigo!


Thanks Jim - good to virtually see you too.



Fixt

Glad to hear you're out there doin' it Man. Even if the experiment failed, you learned more songs and more of what works for that crowd!

Last edited by AlamoJoe; 01/29/20 07:14 PM.
Re: How to make a living playing music: [Re: Anderton] #3026691 01/30/20 01:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Anderton
The comments about the ALFs are very interesting. Music is capable of spreading such joy, and that's just another example.


Exactly - in an ideal world this would be the last part of my working life doing something like that.

Re: How to make a living playing music: [Re: David Holloway] #3026767 01/30/20 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by David Holloway
Originally Posted by Anderton
The comments about the ALFs are very interesting. Music is capable of spreading such joy, and that's just another example.


Exactly - in an ideal world this would be the last part of my working life doing something like that.

As the rappers turn 50 and pretty soon the retirement developments might want rap music, it'll be time for me to pursue ALFs full time. Rap just doesn't interest me, and i never have been able to talk that fast wink

Notes


Bob "Notes" Norton
Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box
The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

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