First gig ever!

Jml

Senior Member
Was on Craigslist looking to add a bass player to our group of guys who just jam for fun. Came across ad looking for worship musicians. The thing is, I don’t belong to this church, listen to Christian music and haven’t been to church in 30 years. But I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and play with other musicians, which is the best and fastest way to learn and improve, regardless of the music genre. I replied, got an answer, got some contemporary Christian songs emailed to me Friday night, broke them down and jammed yesterday. That’s when they asked if I wanted to play at this morning’s service. I’ve never played in front of people but I said yes again.

Everything went well, other than dropping my drumstick 10 seconds into the first song (luckily I had others within reach, something I’ve learned on this forum!). Got a few compliments and I basically have the gig if I want to keep doing it. Strange how everything happened so quickly but I guess that’s rock and roll! First live performance down - hopefully many more to go!
 
Last edited:

Jml

Senior Member
Thanks for the words of support and encouragement, guys. I know in the grand scheme of things it’s not a big deal to play in front of a few dozen people, but it was big for me. Oddly, I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I’d be because I prepared for the songs and every possibility (i.e. dropping the sticks).

I’m thankful for the opportunity that was given to me, and thankful to this great drumming community for all your help over the years!
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I have a parallel to your story. I joined a GREAT Southern Rock band in the early 80's. Two weeks into my tenure with them, our agent told us to switch genres, as Country music was exploding then (Thanks to the movie "Urban Cowboy")

I had never played or even listened to Country music. I was bummed, because I absolutely LOVED (and still love) the Southern Rock genre.

Long story short, it turned out to be a great learning experience, playing Country music. It continues to serve me well till this very day. It taught me how to accompany without getting in the way, among other things.

So getting out of your comfort zone is usually good for your development as a musician in the longrun. I'm glad it happened to me.

Way 2 go.
 

Jml

Senior Member
Thanks Larry. I agree. Opening up my eyes (and hands) to new music, and playing with different musicians can only be a good thing going forward. At the very least, I’m learning, and that’s what it’s about. Second gig tomorrow morning!
 

Jml

Senior Member
OK, last update from me on this topic. Yesterday’s church gig went better than expected. With twice as many people at the service! Per the music director, I went with a stripped down, unplugged set up - my LP cajon snare, a regular cajon for a bass drum, plus hi-hat with tambourine, crash and ride. Fewer things to hit, but it sounded great and people enjoyed it. Starting to dig the lower volume stuff. Maybe I’m more of a percussionist than a drummer???
 

trickg

Silver Member
I always love hearing stories of people on their first gigs because I love hearing the enthusiasm and excitement that it brings. After doing literally thousands of gigs, sometimes a good reminder of the joy it can bring, not only to the player but to those listening, helps me to be a little less jaded.

Something that I think is neat in your situation is that you are proving yourself flexible and adaptable by switching gears to a quieter acoustic setup with percussion pieces rather than a kit. You may not realize this, but this is actually kind of a big deal. I've worked with players who have a set idea about things and refuse to budge when asked to try something different, and that can be frustrating. You are going to quickly endear yourself to the music director and the other musicians on the team. Well done!

Keep us posted on how things continue to go.
 

Jml

Senior Member
I always love hearing stories of people on their first gigs because I love hearing the enthusiasm and excitement that it brings. After doing literally thousands of gigs, sometimes a good reminder of the joy it can bring, not only to the player but to those listening, helps me to be a little less jaded.

Something that I think is neat in your situation is that you are proving yourself flexible and adaptable by switching gears to a quieter acoustic setup with percussion pieces rather than a kit. You may not realize this, but this is actually kind of a big deal. I've worked with players who have a set idea about things and refuse to budge when asked to try something different, and that can be frustrating. You are going to quickly endear yourself to the music director and the other musicians on the team. Well done!

Keep us posted on how things continue to go.
Thanks very much. It’s stuff like this that keeps me coming back to this forum - support and encouragement from fellow drummers. To be honest, I wasn’t sure I should post this as a “first gig ever” thread, because an unpaid gig in front of a few dozen people who didn’t come to see me play didn’t seem post-worthy. But I have been suprised by how many church/worship drummers there are, so I thought - why not? I see this as a special opportunity to grow and I look forward to where this drumming journey will take me.
 

trickg

Silver Member
Thanks very much. It’s stuff like this that keeps me coming back to this forum - support and encouragement from fellow drummers. To be honest, I wasn’t sure I should post this as a “first gig ever” thread, because an unpaid gig in front of a few dozen people who didn’t come to see me play didn’t seem post-worthy. But I have been suprised by how many church/worship drummers there are, so I thought - why not? I see this as a special opportunity to grow and I look forward to where this drumming journey will take me.
This is the very thing you should post about. I've done all kinds of stuff over my varied career as a musician - trumpet and drums, military bands and freelance stuff. I've done everything from rendering Taps in a small family cemetery plot to just a few people, to playing in an arena in front of 15,000 people, (Spirit of America show) to playing studio dates for recordings that became legitimate albums, to doing events that were nationally televised. I've done gigs where I got paid a premium fee, I've done a lot of stuff pro bono, and I've even done the dreaded "pay-to-play" gigs where if you don't sell enough tickets, you essentially have to eat the cost of the remaining tickets out of your own pocket.

I don't say this to brag, but simply to say, a gig is a gig - whether it's for free or for money, in front of just a few, or in front of thousands, they all have their place in a working musician's life, and no matter who you are, you have to start somewhere.

Think about bands like Rush, AC/DC or Queen. They ended up playing to enormous audiences all over the globe, but at some point, they probably played their first gigs at a small club or a bar for a pittance, barely enough to cover the bar tab, if they got paid at all.

One thing I can tell you though, if you do well, are responsible and easy to get along with, and are liked by other people and players, it often leads to more work, and based on what you initially posted, I can envision that happening for you.
 

Jml

Senior Member
Thanks, trickg. Definitely am liking the low volume difference. Played with just hats, ride, cajon snare and cajon bass drum today. Nice to be able to hear what’s going on without the need for hearing protection!
 

Jml

Senior Member
I used the black Vater Whip brushes. They don’t break like rods, and can be as loud or as soft as you want. I also think rods might break a little easier when hitting my wooden cajon snare. I tried softer nylon brushes and they did the job OK, but lacked a little ooomph, even miked up.
 

Gottliver

Senior Member
Have you tried the regal tip ultraflex nylon brush? I’m using them during a regular acoustic jam night at a friends house on a Remo frame drum with a fiberskyn head. Sounds great.
 

Jml

Senior Member
I’ll give those a try. Thanks! Any other recommendations from anyone using a stick/brush to hit a cajon or cajon snare?
 

Jml

Senior Member
Update: after today’s service, an older woman who comes to the church every week thanked me for coming, and adding drums to the service. She knows I’m not part of the church and thought it was just nice of me to come and help out. She then put her hand in mine and offered me a Christmas “tip” and told me to take the money, and take my wife out for coffee. I thanked her and refused, but she insisted. After I was done packing up, I looked and saw she had given me $50! So I guess today was my first (unknowingly) PAID gig? I was overwhelmed.
 
Top