Defining the 'Dream gig':
Before we begin, maybe we should define the so called 'Dream gig'. I am sure it means different things to different people. In short, we are talking about good money, quality music and terrific people. Your personal 'Dream gig' may be a specific job on the local level, a traveling group, a session clique, or maybe you dream to land a gig somewhere in the big=leagues. The bigger the dream, the more difficult the climb (usually). Whatever your personal dream may be, the rules are essentially the same. Follow along and I will try to explain.
Three simple Rules for Acquiring the Best Gigs.
We cannot get around those rules. This is what success in the music business is all about. The sad part is that lady-luck may play a major part in all this, much of the time. However; We CAN focus on being the right person, and once equipped with that REPUTATION, we can only hope to manipulate the other two rules.
First, You Must Qualify: (Be the right person). The whole thing boils down to reputation. Drummers and all musicians who strive to maintain a reputation of certain attributes seem to always excel. So, it goes without saying, if you can maintain those attributes, and make them known to the right people, your climb to success will be much easier.
What are these attributes? What do the best bands look for, in a drummer?
Focus on your bass player, follow his lead, memorize and complement his/her licks. If the bass player has been with the band for some time already, he/she will know what they want from both the drummer and the bass. This means, the bass player can become the new drummer's best ally! By following the established rhythms of the bass, we drummers will also discover that we can 'magically' anticipate the rhythms that the rest of the band may be expecting. Do NOT play what you are thinking! Play according to what you are hearing from the bass player and other instruments. Learn to be flexible on this issue.
Sometimes when we are just starting with a new group, we may dislike their musical arrangements, their routines, and their way of doing things. We shouldn't fight those established ideas, at first. We should conform to the group-effort, completely, if possible. After we have won the total respect of the group, introducing our own ideas and our suggested changes, will eventually become a much easier task, as time passes.
RULE #2: ( THE RIGHT PLACE)
The right place could be anywhere in the World, but if you keep your senses alerted, spotting the action is often easy, before it happens, right there in your own back yard. Investigate your own locality for the band with the largest following, and best local reputation. Get to know the individual band-members, if possible. Try to be on a first-name basis with as many 'dream gig' band-members as you can. Jam with them at every opportunity. If they decide they like you, your reputation, and your playing abilities; you'll become their first choice, if ever they need to change drummers. One day the regular drummer may decide to leave and you will receive a phone call. It can happen just like that! The big secret to it may be . . .
RULE #3 (THE RIGHT TIME)
The right time could be anytime, but just like Rule #2, we can do many things to increase our odds of winning. Try to remain on a first name basis with members of several bands that fall under the ‘dream gig' classification. This increases the odds that eventually, one of those jobs will open, and you will already be at the top of their 'favorite drummers' list.
ANOTHER TRICK: This may be the #1 SECRET TO SUCCESS!
Forming a small brotherhood of drummers wherever you may be living, works! Get to know the key drummers, the ones with the good jobs . . . and become best friends with all of them.
Never hawk another drummers gig or play games of politics. Trying to shoot another drummer out of his or her position is like courting disaster. Although political games of this type can occasionally work, the result is very often less than satisfactory. Tactics such as those will usually take a toll in lost friendships, and result in a spoiled or ruined reputation. You will brand yourself as a cut-throat by operating that way. The only people who want to work with a cut-throat drummer, are the other cut-throat musicians. As a result you could wind up in a self-made nightmare, working with . . . only the sleazebags, and no one else.
So the point here is this: your best source of (dream-gig) leads can often be the other drummers, themselves. Think about it! That rival drummer, if he likes you, is the very guy who can get you in through the back door. He will often be the first to know of upcoming changes, and his own decision to leave. He will be the very one to sell your name to the rest of the group as a possible replacement. In this way you may gain a friend for life, and the dream gig too. That is what I would call a win-win situation.
So, the harsh truth is that success is a waiting game. All we can do is build our expertise, a good reputation, good friendships and wait our own turn. Focus on the controllable factors first and the rest will eventually take care of itself. Your chance will come, when you are ready, and the time is right. If you have already established the reputation as being the right person, success will eventually follow.
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