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Your lifestyle, your quirk
As a terribly struggling musician, I know what’s it like trying to “make it.” Sometimes you don’t even know where to start, or where to begin. That’s okay! No matter what you’re doing or what hobby or interests you have, it’s hard to get going, but you gotta do it sometime! All it takes is a little initiative and a lot of passion.
When I first started playing, it was mostly jamming with old folks at the music store. And that’s fun, sure. But it gets old. And nothing will burn you faster than repetitively doing something boring. It kills all the passion you might have for something. Don’t do that to yourself! You need a change of scenery, some diversity, and variation. It keeps things exciting and keeps you motivated.
If you want to find places to play, the local music store is a great place to start. It doesn’t matter if that store doesn’t specialize in your favorite kind of music, because you just need to start somewhere. Even if you go to a place you don’t like, that’s something you’ve learned! Ask for places to play, people to talk to, etc., and just see where it goes.
Look around at local coffee shops and bars. If they have house bands, ask to talk to the guys and see what’s going on. Maybe if you audition for them, they’ll bring you on as a guest or something. You just need to be friendly and professional at the same time. Musicians may be crazy sometimes, but won’t have anything to do with you if you’re not professional.
Singer/songwriter nights are always a good option, and so are open mike nights. There are lots of bars, restaurants, and music stores that will let people come put on shows. Sometimes poetry reading clubs will sponsor similar events. Ask around and check out your local bars and restaurants to see what’s up.
You can also look online. Check out the local nightlife for any clubs that have open mike nights, or check on Facebook and Craigslist. You can find plenty of events to go to just online. But also look for events to attend rather than perform at. You need to pay your respects to other musicians too! Being seen, giving tips, and being respectful to other artists will take you a long way.
Of course, when you’re ready, you need to record a demo. You need to have hard evidence of your talent to share with other people, to sell, to pitch, etc. Make sure you think out your set list, theme, message, etc, and then get in the studio! I wish you the best of luck in all of your endeavors, be they musical or not. Some of the above tips apply to other pursuits as well, so make good use of them!