My experience with a different kind of gig

I recently was hired as the guitar player for the local community playhouses’ production of “Little Shop of Horrors”.  I got the gig because of my friendship with another guitar player.  We both go to the largest church in Lincoln, NE and we both play electric guitar on the worship team (we are usually scheduled for different weekends as there are currently only three electric players in rotation).  The church will typically have 3000-5000 people that attend on a weekend (three services).  My friend shot me a text totally out of the blue, saying “My daughter is choreographing for the Lincoln Community Playhouse’s production of Little Shop of Horrors, and they are looking for a guitarist for the orchestra (which ended up only being, bass, drums, keys and a guitar).  It’s a paying gig however I don’t know what they are going to be paying for the guitar position.  I’d love to do this, it sounds so fun, but I can’t do it as I’m travelling for my new job, and I thought of you right away.” I was both flattered and honored that he thought so highly of me and my playing skills.

I contacted the music director and got the gig.  They sent me a “Guest Artist Contract” to sign (I’m moving up in the world ha ha!).  After I signed it, I received the music score for the play.  We had one music rehearsal, four dress rehearsals with the full orchestra and the cast. Then we had seven performances, all but one was sold out!  It was a lot of fun and I was paid about union wage for the whole thing!

My points in all of this are:

  1. Networking-network with other musicians in your area! Connect, connect, connect!  Make friends and connect with other musicians in your area, even if they are from different bands, play different styles of music, play different instruments, and so on. I would not have gotten this gig if I had not made some friends with other musicians from different venues i.e., networking! In fact, it might be a good idea to make a file or an address book, either on your computer or laptop, or written down, of all the musicians that you know.  List names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, instruments played including their main instrument, if they sing add that, styles that they play and anything else that you might think of.  This would give you, in my opinion, a double advantage.  First, that you have a list of musicians available for your bands, gigs and playing opportunities.  And secondly, that you would start to become a “go to” person for other bands and musicians in your area, that are seeking musicians to join their bands, or musicians that are seeking to join a band. After typing this, I started an excel spreadsheet with as many musician contacts as I had in my phone, I know that there are more, but I’m finally started doing this!  I should have done this years ago!  If anyone would like this excel template for free, that I’m using, email me at
  2. Be open to new and different opportunities, that you may not have been aware of, to play and make music and get paid for doing what we all love to do. I was not even aware of this being available in my area.  And now that I have the experience, and the people at the playhouse (and the other folks in the band that I of course networked with, see #1 above) know me and my skills, I have opened the door to doing more of this in the future.  I just opened a new stream of income in addition to playing in a band, giving lessons, and doing sessions!

Author: Mark White,