- "Before we begin... a special thanks to the business owners and managers of wineries, coffee-shops, restaurants and similar that have opened their doors to my music. My touring in Northern Oregon was blessed by your awesomeness!"
Being a Classical Guitar player is a wonderful thing. The versatility and mobility of the instrument is a valuable asset that opens doors everywhere you go. High paying gigs are rare but when you do the math, you realize that you can have a great lifestyle if you only had 2-3 of each per month. In other words, 2 weekly high-paying gigs can give you a substantial income.
Nevertheless I would like to encourage you to make the most of your time and your energy. One of my personal believes is that the more you give, the more you have to give. This is the fundamental concept for this post. I just came from a streak of performing in about 20 places in the past 10 days. This means that I was averaging 2 shows per day. Those are some of the rules you need to follow to get good "low-paying" gigs that have a high return in the long run.
- Know precisely the kind of places you would fit in. For me to know if a location would embrace my music is to find a combination of some the following: Art, Wooden Decoration, Large Spaces, Warm Light, Style, Energy, Quality of the materials, foods, wines, etc...
- Travel to every single city you can with the objective of making friends. The gig is a result of your personal connection with the manager or owner of the place. They will book you only if they believe you will be serving their cause.
- Live in an abundance mentality. This means that when a door closes, you know that there are innumerable more options for you to try. This allows you to maintain the friendships with the business even when a booking is not possible.
- Make sure you know what value you are bringing to a business. You playing music is not enough for a business. You must recognize that the businesses are looking for something in particular. Being able to provide this is essential to develop a good partnership.
- Avoid saturating your market. Being a live musician is about exclusivity and you must remember that if you play too often in the same location, you will loose value since you are not giving a sensation of being a special event.
Those rules are the cardinal values that guide my touring. When I make those things happen, I have to have a very open mind on how to make things work. Sometimes the pay is not clear from the beginning and it will be a gamble leveraging between the generosity of the audience and the business. Sometimes the pay will be established from the beginning. Those are things you must be able to navigate. In Argentina we say: "Los pingos se ven en la cancha" (the horses can only be seen on the race tracks").
Give people a chance and then you can decide if you will do that gig again or not. The best mentality you can develop is to be as generous as you can. Giving away your music and your amazing personality to those who do want to listen and meet you goes far beyond the money you can make... after all, the high paying gigs are the bread maker... but music makes friends.
Your Voice and Guitar Mentor