You’ve picked up a gig for a local band or artist, maybe even as a house drummer and things couldn’t be better! You’ve added to your supplemental income and the money is coming in! You found new gear to buy, new toys to obtain, your favorite cereal can now be name brand instead of the cheap stuff. The sun is shining on you! Until….. you receive a call or a text from said artist/band, or the restaurant owner informing you that your stent is over…. The once magical gig you had that was making ends meet has come to an end. The black cloud has covered up your ray of sunshine that was paying your bills and feeding your bank account. You’re done…. well… not totally done.
I recently went through this same situation. It hit me hard since I have never been fired from a job nor from a gig in my 34 years of being on this planet. It was a hard hit to the ego and to the soul. A moment that made me question myself and my playing. “What did I do wrong?” “Why did this have to happen now?” “Was I not a good hang?” Just a big plain ole….. Why?
Sometimes we can tear ourselves down after moments like these and fall into a rut. And in all seriousness… that’s not a bad thing. You need moments like this in your life to reevaluate things and to remember that it all can end in a split second. This is a beneficial time for you wither you realize it or not. Let me explain…
Be truthful to yourself
Look back on your stent with this gig. Did you do everything you could do to make sure you were on top of your game?
- show up early
- learn all of the material
- be a great hang
- provide support and not playing over everyone else
Once you evaluate these questions in a truthful manner you can start to narrow down what actually happened… or maybe not. What if it just wasn’t a good fit? That is actually something that has happened numerous times with players from all over the world no matter how great they were on and off the stage.
Did you leave on good terms?
Even though you might have felt the urge to make a comment out of hurt or frustration please refrain… It’s so important to not burn bridges in this industry. People know other people, and people talk. If you run off at the mouth odds are it’s gonna get spread around to other establishments and twisted into something that can hurt your career.
Pick yourself up!
This was the hardest part for me… A time frame to heal your mind and get over that last sentence you heard from the person who hired you. Yes it plays through your mind over and over but get out and do something to get your mind turned in the right direction. Find something positive to do for yourself. I found exercise (bike riding) to give me a positive reinforcement that I couldn’t find anywhere else. I was doing something to improve my body, mind, and overall health. How can that not make you feel good!? Get back to the practice room and find that love for your instrument you had as a kid. This is your time to reinvent yourself!
Time to find the next gig.
Now that you have had some time to get over things and get your mind back on track it’s time to get out there and find the next adventure. You can’t sit still for long. You have bills to pay, and music to play! In this life you will go through disappointing times and the road may get bumpy but that’s…. well…. life. This career path isn’t like a nine to five where you’re somewhat promised this safety net of a stable job. Our line of work could change in an instant and we have to be mentally prepared for it so that we can go grab the next thing. There’s beauty in that… adventure… I wouldn’t have it any other way.