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How do you go about finding gigs as a classical percussionist?

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Alyssa’s Answer

Hey Lauren!

The best way to find opportunities as a musician is truly to be present! Show up! Start building a network of music friends. So many artists/ bands need percussionists. Attend live shows and simply, introduce yourself. The only way to attract opportunity is to put yourself out there.
Social media can also be a great tool when it comes to making these connections and finding work. For most cities/ towns, there will be Facebook groups for people in the arts field or music industry. Start checking in on those, and be sure to comment/ connect with others.

Additionally, churches are a great place to be able to play. A lot of churches use either commercial OR classical percussionists. Don't be afraid to go in person and introduce yourself! Look in to your local orchestra/ jazz groups, too. This, again, is likely something that can be done through social media.

It's so great that you have this passion, and that you're hungry to pursue it! Best of luck:)
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Victoria’s Answer

Hi Lauren, this is a great question.

It sounds like you have a talent that you would like to share with other people. The question is how do you do this? Just like finding a job, the more methods you use for finding a percussion gig, the better (repeat this last sentence to yourself).

The Bay Area has lots of opportunities some volunteer and some paid.
Here are some ideas about how to find opportunities. You can probably think of many more:

Start by creating a resume, social media profile, a business card, and some clips or u tubes of you playing music.
These are the deliverables that showcase your product (music) that you will want keep with you to send to prospective employers or share in an audition.

Make a list of all the places in your area that are potential focal points for classical music (Stanford, the Bay Area, California, US, International) that need classical percussionists. Find out where these places are, who runs these organizations, and how they recruit talent. Research each place to determine if there are interesting opportunities or mentoring musicians who you can talk to for advice. Show up in person. Participate in events. Consider volunteering to pass out programs to be able to learn more about the venue and to meet key organizers and musicians.

Try to play for as many people as you can either in auditions, open mic, coffee houses, restaurants, weddings, etc.
Volunteer at every classical music event you can find: opera, symphony, fusion, festivals, etc.
Start building your network of musical friends and patrons.
Talk to the musical communities at colleges, music schools to find mentors, special events, pop up concerts and participate in all these events. Tutor kids or offer private lessons.
Consider teaching music and developing your own events to star in.
Work with other musicians to create a new group, band, or ensemble.
Record some tracks and upload them to a competition or snap chat.
Build your personal brand by performing at a variety of locations.
Consider composing original music or giving concerts to places that really need the healing power of music like hospitals, nursing homes, schools, the Exploratorium, the Piers, Fisherman's Wharf, parks, and community centers. Consider applying for a grant to teach or explore music in another country or region.

All these methods, and there are many more, get your message out to the world and introduce you to new people and new experiences. They show that you care about the arts and sharing your talents with other people. They also help you reach and build an audience.

Just because you are not in Symphony Hall (yet) doesn't mean you won't meet an artist or a conductor in some other setting or by sharing.

One other very cool thing to consider that you have a lot to offer STEM and STEAM programs (the "A'" is for Art. Music improves math scores, concentration, and an appreciation for the arts. You could literally change a kid's life by showing them a new world through the performing arts.

I am very excited about your journey and the talent you will share with the world!