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Next Generation Jazz Careers

May 12, 2009

Despite being some of the coolest music on earth, the musicians who play jazz aren’t usually making big money. A lot of the famous musicians have earned their respect over many years and maybe started to make real money much later in their career.

So let’s say you’re a young twenty something jazz musician who vomits at the thought of being in a Norah Jones type act. What do you to do to get your career going? You already know playing live is the main way to make money, but how do you keep getting steady gigs and growing your audience.

1. What if you made a theme around some of your shows. Instead of an evening of jazz, sell it as a romantic event with music as the backdrop. Collect the business cards in a draw of some sort (as it probably will be an older crowd) and reach out to them again the next time you want to put this type of event on.

2. Gig with a bunch of different players/acts. This is common practice, but playing with a bunch of different acts can mean steady gigs. It also means a lot more practicing and being fantastic at your instrument.

3. Search for all the corporate event planners in town and build relationships. There are a ton of business events that have jazz players in the background. Be the first person they want to call if there’s a gig.

4. Search for all the wedding planners in town and build relationships. Ritzier receptions may have jazz players doing their thing as the people mingle. Again, be the first person they want to call if there’s a gig.

5. Start putting up your best performances on YouTube or do exceptionally compelling covers of popular tunes. This is to get attention from people outside your hometown. You’ll eventually want to start touring to expand your audience and not tire your local city.

6. Put together an act playing jazz versions of Pink Floyd, Bob Marley, Radiohead, and even  Zeppelin. If you’re good, word will spread, and you’ll get a younger audience coming out to shows.

There are always ways to do things if you get creative. These are the just a few ideas that came to me. I’m sure you can come up with more.


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