Getting gigs / self-promotion

PlayTheSong

Senior Member
I know that playing with other musicians as much as possible gives you the best chance to know about opportunities in your area, but other than word-of-mouth, has anyone had success with self-promotion on social media, using craigslist-type classified ads or any other devious means?

If this has been exhaustively covered elsewhere, just point me to the thread!
 

opentune

Platinum Member
most musicians and hobby-bands i have played with the past 10 years came about through c/list ads. they can work out, once you weed through the flakes and super-delusional types. local jams work too, but can require some time and effort too. but where i live they are too prescriptive and clique-ey. for example, the 'rhythm section' doesn't change all nite.
once in a band, some gigs came through ads, but many by word of mouth. thankfully that still works.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
There are numerous band/musician sites to promote yourself, just Google 'musician referral'. Most offer a basic level of free membership, I'd say that's the best way to go. It's obviously important to create an attractive profile, but don't forget to seek other players as needed, don't just sit back and wait for email inquiries.

Networking at jam sessions is also smart, and every time you play, you're basically auditioning for anyone in the crowd who might be looking for a drummer. Jams are normally considered a good time to cut loose, but the opposite is actually true. Play as you'd be playing on a gig - other musicians are watching. :)

And it doesn't hurt to let us know at Drummerworld what you do. You never know when a fellow member in your area needs a sub, and may want to contact you. When I needed a sub for one of my gigs, I put the word out and hooked up with Bo Eder!

Bermuda
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
I've put stuff out there with minimal feedback. But I'm not sure I really knew what I was doing. My main problem is I'm not good at self-promotion. I'm pretty much an introvert at heart, plus I'm not comfortable selling myself; it's not my style. And that hurts my chances. I envy those whom self-promotion comes naturally to. They get more gigs than I do.

I have found that playing gigs leads to offers from other musicians. It happens to me a lot. And I don't have to sell myself. So that's what I mostly rely on.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Being the best player you can is the best self promotion you can get. All you have to do is:

A. Be the kind of player others want backing them up, most importantly.

B. Be seen playing your drums on a regular basis.

C. Don't be a D-bag.

The rest will work itself out.

There are a lot of drummers. Good ones are like 1 in 10, maybe less. If you are good, people will seek you out. Good drummers are way more rare than good guitarists IMO. Getting asked to play by good musicians is one of the most satisfying things that can ever happen. Rehearse yourself and go to jams, best networking there is.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I don't know what it's like where you are, but man I'd avoid Craigslist like the plague.

I found the BEST thing you can do is play with as many people as possible (within reason), and be really, really nice to everyone. You should get plenty of gigs. It may take some time, but it's worth it.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I've been handed "business cards" from fellow musicians. They're usually pretty simple. Name, number, email, and "I play guitar!".

I think it's effective. Carry them with you and whenever you meet a musician: "Here, I'm a working drummer! If you need a guy to play with, give me a call!"
 

PlayTheSong

Senior Member
I've been handed "business cards" from fellow musicians. They're usually pretty simple. Name, number, email, and "I play guitar!".

I think it's effective. Carry them with you and whenever you meet a musician: "Here, I'm a working drummer! If you need a guy to play with, give me a call!"
That's a great approach, if you can say "I'm a working drummer". It tells the recipient that you're probably not a hack. I don't think the business card thing would work as well for amateurs. I know I'd be leery of calling a stranger to play with if I'd never heard them play. I'd be afraid they'd be terrible and then I'd have to blow them off if they wanted to be regular jam buddies, or I'd find my practice space stripped of gear next time I got there. Maybe I'm just paranoid. Anyway, I'm not desperate enough to cold-call amateurs I don't know/haven't heard.

But hey, once I become a pro ;-) I'll print up the cards first thing.
 

BruceW

Senior Member
Around here there are several local musician Facebook groups, where people post gigs, as well as player needs and/or availability. And the music stores here have bulletin boards where people do the same.

Some other ideas for you...good luck.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I'm always paranoid about marketing myself and making videos and stuff. I'm always afraid I'll come across like Wailin' Smash.
 

tcspears

Gold Member
Being the best player you can is the best self promotion you can get. All you have to do is:

A. Be the kind of player others want backing them up, most importantly.

B. Be seen playing your drums on a regular basis.

C. Don't be a D-bag.
Really sound advice!

Work with others as much as possible, and realize that they are hiring you. It's their show, and it's your job to support them. One of the mistakes I see a lot of drummers make is taking over the show, or not being flexible enough.

The more you play, and play well, with other artists, the more opportunities you'll have to play. This will help with CL posts or GigSalad, et cetera. You can now list some references, or maybe link to video of you playing in a live setting.

I've built up a pretty solid network, and I'm at the point where most of my gigs are from people reaching out to me. Still, every month I go on CL and take a look at the gigs/talent section. I scroll through all the "foot fetish model wanted" posts and find the event planners looking for groups and email them a couple of samples of one of the groups I play with, or send some information on me to a Drummer wanted post.

For me Facebook is where I book most of my gigs. Usually I'll get a friend request from a bar owner or another musician, followed by a message asking about a gig.
 

drummergirlgina

Senior Member
I'm the novice here, but, I'll throw in my thoughts. I just put a website up about a year ago. Prior to that, I had Reverbnation and Facebook, that was really my only online presence. I also keep LinkedIn but I won't add anyone to my connections unless they can help my career, or I can help them. I have been handing out business cards since I was 9 years old. For me, that was hard to do because I don't like a lot of attention. My dad always said to be the first to introduce yourself. When people ask, what do you do? I always say that I'm a professional drummer/percussionist. And, that I do studio, session, and touring work. Then I hand them my card. I've been lucky enough to sit in with a lot of bands locally and across the US. I've found a lot of musicians that I've played with will recommend me to others. Even if the music is not my genre, I'm happy to play it because, I just love to play! But, when I play, I play for the song first. I really don't let loose unless the band asks me to. It has gotten me invited to play some really cool gigs this year.
 
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DrumWhipper

Member
I have picked up several opportunities just by going and playing at a local jam on Wednesday nights. Playing a few songs for fun/free at the jams has landed me several paying gigs in the past few months. It's all about being seen and heard.
 

145drummie

Member
I've got my own website, plus FB and Bandmix profiles and I try to get out to other band's gigs, open-mics, etc. as much as I can to "network". My two bands keep me pretty busy, but I still always carry around business cards to hand out and anytime I meet or jam with other musicians, I make sure to hand them a card. You never know when they will need a drummer or know someone who does.

Most music stores also have a board up where you can put up a flyer or post some business cards for other musicians to see. The bulletin boards are kind of old fashioned but some guys won't go through Craig's List or the internet to find players anymore because of all of the fruit loops out there.

Having business cards made up at least shows that you are willing to take playing drums somewhat seriously, at least more seriously than the player who doesn't have cards, right?
 
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