Posted on December 10, 2012
Lately I have been keeping fairly busy, and though I have a vague idea, I cannot specifically point to why.
I keep approaching each month thinking that nothing is going on, and that I’ll finally have time to stay home and be bored after work (or, heaven forbid, practice). Inexplicably someone will ping me for a gig at the last minute, or I’ll see a free week fill up with rehearsals. Or, I’ll be choosing between different performances by my friends, acquaintances, and musical heroes to attend.
Keeping up this schedule has been a bit trying, but I see each of these activities as very important to what I have, with real conviction finally, begun to think of as a career. Rather, I have been convincing myself to trade in the day job for something that will give me some more breathing room.
Part of me is convinced that this pattern is the one that will lead to more and better paying (and better in general) gigs. This time last year, I was mostly playing for tips (which is pretty much the same as playing for free), in venues that were wonderful and cozy, but neither were lucrative, nor did they often lead to new opportunities. For the last few months, however, I noticed that I had not played a free gig in a while, and was actually playing much more often despite.
I wish I could deconstruct the formula I used to pull of this transformation, but when I first realized what had happened it was a bit of a mystery. There certainly was not a conscious decision not to play for free anymore, and I did not have any kind of “break.” It could simply be that I’ve been accumulating performance opportunities and been letting the lesser ones go. Or it may be that since I’ve more confidently identified as a “professional musician” more people are apt to recommend me. Really, I just feel like I’ve hit a lucky streak for a bit and that I should gear up for some bitter winter months where work just as inexplicably dries up.
I wish I could say that it’s been my efforts to network and meet presenters and musicians I look up to that is paying off. The truth is, I am only beginning to see direct results from “networking” (which is just me trying to make friends with people I think are beyond too cool for me). So far, I’ve had the honor to open for Lisa Mezzacappa’s Bait and Switch at Viracocha (because of my writing about Offside and not my playing… go figure). This performance led to getting me booked at the Monday Makeout (coming up on February 4th!), which Lisa curates, and has begun the rumblings of a collaboration with Alex Pinto. So yes, the networking is paying off, but in a slow, almost controlled manner.
Hopefully this just adds to the secret sauce that has been keeping the phone ringing (until right now, that is, seeing as I am at home writing this blog).