i got offered a rock/latin gig for three weeks from now that would require me to learn quite a few tunes in 3 weeks.  i'd also have to put in 4-6 hours practice time with the band per week and be responsible for most of the bass lines, as the leader wants to go bass-less (like a less virtuosic version of a jimmy smith-style organ trio.)  i think it's way over my head, but the guy has heard me play and has a pretty good idea of what he's getting.


here's the problem: i don't think i want to take it. i work two jobs (one of which is a teaching job requiring lots of grading and planning while at home), so some weeks my free time is kind of limited, and when i do have free time i prefer to spend it working on music that interests me and spending time with my fiancee.  the thought of having that time disappear into rehearsals and working night and day on tunes for the gig doesn't really appeal to me. i've already turned down two acting/singing gigs this year for the same reason, and there's some part of the old (pre-"real world") me that can't believe i'm turning down gigs that are being offered on a silver platter.  also, the leader is nice but persistent, and i feel bad about turning him down.

i've lost my former aspirations of performing for a living, but this is still clashing with what's left of my professional instinct.  am i thinking about this correctly?  has anyone else been in this situation?
There are 12 comments, leave a comment.
(my usual addendum): it makes me think about how i used to practice all the time in hopes of getting gigs or opportunities to perform, and now that they're here i feel like i dont have enough time and/or need another year in the woodshed.
are you in a place in your musical career where you need all the experience you can get?
are you in a place in your musical career where you are still trying to brand yourself and build your name?
do you want or need to network?

nothing wrong with turning down gigs you are not into but there comes a point when you wonder; if i'm not playing gigs than what am i doing (as a musicvian)?
time flies and you ask yourself what have i accomplished?

if you're worried about the material...don't...its not the last or only gig in the world. and normally you're gonna be the only one paying that much attention to your mistakes.
i'm with ya, ziggysane.  if ya don't need the money and you're not particularly interested in the gig, why would you want to spend long hours on it?  it irks me a bit that groups frequently want the keyboard player to cover bass, which means carrying more responsibility, hauling and providing more equipment, and having to short the piano/keys parts in order to cover it.  i was fortunate to have played in a band for many years, that paid me double for the hassle, but after 20+ years of doing it, i don't ever want to do it again.  in the end it's just cheese:)

more power to ya brotha!  enjoy the time with your fiance'.  that's what life's about anyway:)
ziggysane- the fact that you're asking these questions should tell you something!

at any point in life when you are questioning something like this, it means one thing: you're not getting paid enough.

if the band paid you $60 an hour to rehearse, i bet you'd be ok with it, eh?

the deeper thing is feeling resentful or ornery because you already have a full schedule and now something you're not even sure you want to do could potentially take way the rest of your free time.

i hate to sound like obi won, but you must do what you feel is best young luke.

music, it starts with doing it for yourself, you konw?  it's there to make us feel good.  we sit at the piano and who we are comes out in the music.  don't forget that.

you don't eat everything at a buffet, you don't try every drink in a bar, and there's nothing that says you have to take every gig offered unless you're starving or are 100% pro (no day job, nothing else but music).  even if you are 100% pro, if you're working all the time, you still have to be discerning about what you want to do and how much reward you're getting out of it.

seriously, it boils down to if you're asking these questions, then you already have an answer. you gotta follow your heart or you'll be upset with yourself and that's no good.
If I'm not back in 24 hours, call the president.

Scot is available for skype jazz piano lessons (and google hangouts, phone call, etc...)
Use the contact link at the top of the page.
i've done plenty of these "put a ton of time in to do learn a bunch of songs that i'll never play again for just one gig" (mostly weddings, but sometimes helping out a friend in need).

what you never know is what the future holds. a few of these gigs have resulted in my learning songs that later (even years later) that i'm asked to play and then i'm glad i did do my homework.

sometimes, it even turns out that i like a couple of the tunes so much that they become a permanent fixture in my repertoire.

you just never know how seemingly irrelevant or useless knowledge can turn out to be important and useful later on.

consider it a learning experience ...
i'm just picking up on one part of this thread: going bass-less.  i work regularly for a guy who wants me to play without a bass player, i.e. singer and trumpet and drums and piano.  it drives me mad, and is very stressful.  i've been trying to do this for years and still have not mastered it, or even "covered" it in my opinion.  i keep trying as a "learning experience", but because i am a weekend warrior (full time job, kids) i just don't get the practice in to progress.  i just can't seem to solo effectively while covering the "bottom end".  enough whinging....
i guess the point of this thread is that life is about choices.  if it drives you mad and is very stressful, why do you do it?  perhaps you feel a need to conquer the challenge?  nothing wrong with that!  and you're right, you probably need more practice to get comfortable.  i practiced playing bass while soloing for years while growing up. not because i wanted to get better at playing bass, but because i craved hearing bass lines, so i made myself do it.  as a strange twist of fate, a group i played with later in life had run through a few bass players, so it was easier for me to just do it.  and when i was offered double pay, that really sweetened the pot. so a result i got even better at it.  nothing like playing gigs to sharpen your skills.
if i had a hundred dollas for every gig i have turned down in my life id be freaken rich man.  there are at least two bad gigs out there for every decent one.  sometimes you gotta take a bad one to get to the good ones... key is keeping the bad ones to a minimum.  if you take the type of gig you are talking
about make you show up late and drunk at the rehearsls so no one will even think
to offer you a situation like that again.
i think we all go through this at some point.  and i like what whack said. if it drives you mad and is stressful, why do it?

and that's my real test.  if i am hating the idea of going to a gig, then i know i made a poor choice. but if i said "yes" to it i'll go there, smile, and be a pro of course. i just won't do it again.

with that said, there are few times (not many) that i've felt that way and been very happily surprised about the gig and was glad that i went.  so it's a bit of a crap shoot... but in the, in life and music, i really do follow my gut feeling and it's usually not wrong.
If I'm not back in 24 hours, call the president.

Scot is available for skype jazz piano lessons (and google hangouts, phone call, etc...)
Use the contact link at the top of the page.
from dr. whack: "nothing like playing gigs to sharpen your skills."  i've decided to "man up".  i've just committed myself to playing some solo gigs.  if that doesn't sort out my playing, i don't know what will.  must go practice now,....
go get em g!
i just realized i promoted you to uppercase g, but i think you deserve it! :)
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