How to Really Stand Out at Auditions and in Life
By Bri Blaire
These people are naturally equipped with real insight to securing employment. Best of all, some are ready to share every tip and secret they know. They are a special breed of educator… exactly the kind of teacher That’s My Gig has recruited to lend advice to future pro musicians like you. Inevitably, what surfaces as the truth on how to get a gig goes WAY BEYOND music theory or technique.
So, you’re a musician looking to pursue your dream of making music your full time career? You (hopefully) spend 10-30 hours a week learning riffs, running scales, and refining your sound. You attend numerous master classes, private lessons, or college courses for the opportunity to continue your education. Right?
If you do, that’s awesome… you’re on the right track! But unfortunately, practicing for hours on end just isn’t enough to land that dream gig. There are too many people doing what you’re doing, with the same dreams, the same goals and talents, and they all “show up” when it’s go time. So, what will separate you from the masses? You must set your work-ethic bar higher, which will escalate the quality of your work, and you must develop essential networking skills.
Too many musicians are guessing their way to their dreams and just getting lost along the way. Some players get lucky and a gig falls in their lap, but most quit before ever really getting started due to discouragement. There is no magic trick in finding a job. Want to find employment? First, you must create clear goals so you might understand where your destination will actually be. Where is it you’re going? The intention behind the time you spend doing anything for yourself, including preparing for your career, will be the genesis of crossing over from “amateur hour” into greatness. Know what it is that you want, be specific about those goals, and ALWAYS follow through with your commitments.
Great musicians understand why it is they do what they do. When you ask an average musician why they play, most likely, you’ll get an answer like, “I love music.” Once again, this answer is good, but it’s simply not good enough. In order to become great, your “why” needs to be powerful enough to be the actual driving force toward your success. When you can honestly say something like, “I play, because music is my life…” you’ll find that this mental position will drive you toward success much faster, simply because you have given yourself no other choice. When music is something you NEED to survive, you will naturally do anything in order to improve musicianship and professionalism.
Time spent playing along with Youtube videos or in lessons, will never matter until you put all your working tools into practice. The physical, mental, and emotional tools of your trade must be understood and mastered in order to truly become great. To attract an artist or manager’s attention, a great musician must show professionalism and loyalty. You must prove that you can be trusted. Showing up on time, picking up new songs and riffs in a timely manner, being consistent with your technique, and delivering a solid performance every time, is a great start, but these are just a few of the qualities that you’ll need to accomplish your goals.
Develop a unique asset. I’ve gone over a few important factors that could help you along in your journey to success. But, after interviewing hundreds of musicians, aspiring and professional, I have found that the most important factor, the quintessential “it” factor, comes from acknowledging the value that you’re adding to your life during your pursuit, every step of the way. Be aware of each moment you invest in yourself, understand the importance of this value, and simply start taking ownership of your life. In other words, understand your own self worth. Your self worth will show through in an audition, in rehearsals, on stage, during everyday tour life, and in your personal life… this internal knowledge is your greatest secret asset and is what employers look for most, sometimes without even knowing.