How to Become a Session Musician

guide_featured_photo

Table of contents

  1. Empty
  2. Create a Network
  3. Work On Your Skills
  4. Advertise Your Skills
  5. Create an Online Portfolio
  6. Start Online Advertising
  7. Be Flexible
  8. Play Different Styles
  9. Conclusion

Empty

{"blocks":[{"key":"4dtgb","text":"Becoming a session musician is a dream for many. You’ll get to play plenty of different genres with a lot of artists, and you’ll visit many studios along the way. And best of all, the industry will always be in need of session musicians.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":237,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":237,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":237,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":237,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"leuj","text":"To become a session musician, you’ll need to put in time for your career path, advertise your skills well, and mingle with the right crowd. Here’s how to become a session musician in detail.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":190,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":190,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":190,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":190,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}}],"entityMap":{}}

Create a Network

{"blocks":[{"key":"c98v1","text":"If you want to get a career in the musical industry, networking is key. Musicians are everywhere, and the competition is at its highest. Getting a job is even more challenging in the modern era because of the abundance of chances online. The internet made it much easier to hire anyone, and session musicians are no exception.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":326,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":326,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":326,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":326,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"c89a2","text":"If you want to be at the front of the competition, get to know more people in the industry. Visit local labels and leave your business card, leave a good impression at each studio you visit, and exchange numbers with anyone you meet that can help you along your career path.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":274,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":274,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":274,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":274,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}}],"entityMap":{}}

Work On Your Skills

{"blocks":[{"key":"eobr4","text":"Networking is great, but alone, it won’t get you a job. To get a job as a session musician, you need to work on some skills. You need to be confident in your skills but at the same time humble enough not to get star-struck. And, you need to be able to assess your abilities right to avoid over-or under-estimating yourself. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":324,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":324,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":324,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":324,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"5jagq","text":"Moreover, playing music by ear is a highly beneficial skill to have. It means you’re adaptable to anything coming your way. Of course, reading music is also an essential skill for musicians.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":190,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":190,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":190,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":190,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"5s3tg","text":"As for personality traits, you need to always be on time. Being punctual is vital if you want to leave a good impression. Arriving early is always preferred.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":157,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":157,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":157,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":157,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"133k2","text":"In addition to that, you need to be ready to deal with a whole lot of pressure. Recording can go for long, and you may not have time to grab a sandwich or a cup of coffee. Despite that, you need to be focused and in your best form to help the band. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":249,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":249,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":249,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":249,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}}],"entityMap":{}}

Advertise Your Skills

{"blocks":[{"key":"31ij3","text":"The first step to doing anything is advertising. If you’re selling a product, you need advertising. Likewise, if you’re becoming a singer, a businessman, or a teacher, you need to advertise yourself.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":199,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":199,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":199,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":199,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"99dd2","text":"In the case of session musicians, you need first to contact the people you already know. They’ll help you create a network and get your name to bands and recording studios. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":173,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":173,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":173,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":173,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"fse1v","text":"You can print some business cards and hand them out to anyone who can help you. Plus, you can keep some cards with your manager or band members in case an opportunity comes their way.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":183,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":183,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":183,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":183,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"43akk","text":"The second step is reaching out to recording studios. You probably already visit plenty of studios for recording. When you do, talk to other musicians in the session with you and let them know you’re looking for a job. On top of that, try to show off your skills and get the message across that you’re easy to work with.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":320,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":320,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":320,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":320,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}}],"entityMap":{}}

Create an Online Portfolio

{"blocks":[{"key":"3skhn","text":"No one will hire a musician without seeing his experience, previous gigs, etc. So, an online portfolio is a perfect opportunity to showcase your work because it’ll allow the employer to hear it before hiring you. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":213,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":213,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":213,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":213,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"7m9b0","text":"In the portfolio, you’ll want to include a video or a live performance of you playing, the name of your band, and a professional photoshoot. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":141,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":141,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":141,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":141,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"3i6gg","text":"You can use plenty of sites for your online portfolio, such as YouTube, SoundCloud, BandCamp, and Vimeo.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":104,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":104,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":104,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":104,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}}],"entityMap":{}}

Start Online Advertising

{"blocks":[{"key":"dccml","text":"Most professional musicians started online. You can put your profile up on Craigslist and talk about your services. You’ll need to mention everything that seems necessary for people looking to hire, such as the instruments you play, your rate, and your experience. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":265,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":265,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":265,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":265,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"270l7","text":"Bear in mind that beginner session musicians usually have a rate per hour of $40–$60. So, don’t stray far from the average rate if you want to get hired fast.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":158,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":158,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":158,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":158,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"fbrmg","text":"Along with advertising online, you can also put up your profile on websites that target songwriters. If someone wants to hire a session musician and stumbles upon your profile, there’s a high chance you’ll get hired on the spot.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":228,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":228,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":228,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":228,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}}],"entityMap":{}}

Be Flexible

{"blocks":[{"key":"55uml","text":"Trusting your skills and being confident in yourself is great, but you need to be open to suggestions too to get along with your mates. For example, you may receive suggestions on how to play a specific part or get told to try something different.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":247,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":247,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":247,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":247,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"985sf","text":"In this case, getting too defensive can cost you your job. Be open to suggestions, and try new things. In the end, the people around you want to get the best out of you, and they want the best for the performance, which is everyone’s goal.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":239,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":239,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":239,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":239,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}}],"entityMap":{}}

Play Different Styles

{"blocks":[{"key":"7m2m2","text":"To become a successful session musician, you need to be able to play different styles and genres of music. You don’t need to be an expert at every genre, but having a reasonable skill level is a must. This way, you’ll have more recording opportunities because you won’t be limited to a single style.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":299,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":299,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":299,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":299,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"c1sl1","text":"If you prefer to play only one instrument or excel in one style, we recommend choosing a lesser common instrument because there won’t be many musicians playing it, improving your chances of getting a job. Bear in mind that you’ll need to be pretty good at it, though, because it’s your only weapon.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":298,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":298,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":298,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":298,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}}],"entityMap":{}}

Conclusion

{"blocks":[{"key":"fdr62","text":"To wrap up, becoming a session musician is challenging, but you’ll succeed eventually if you follow the right steps. Remember to be open to suggestions, punctual, and professional. Talk to everyone you meet on the way, and leave your business card everywhere. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":260,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":260,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":260,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":260,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"vmcv","text":"If you persist hard enough, you’ll reach your goal. All you need is some patience, relations with the right people, and flexibility.\n","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":132,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":132,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":132,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":132,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"akg22","text":"Related: Talk to Someone Specializing in Entrepreneurship ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":57,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":57,"style":"bgcolor-rgb(255,255,255)"},{"offset":0,"length":57,"style":"fontsize-medium"},{"offset":0,"length":57,"style":"fontfamily-sans-serif"},{"offset":0,"length":7,"style":"BOLD"},{"offset":9,"length":48,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"}],"entityRanges":[{"offset":9,"length":48,"key":0}],"data":{}}],"entityMap":{"0":{"type":"LINK","mutability":"MUTABLE","data":{"url":"https://sidetrain.com/categories/Business/Entrepreneurship","targetOption":"_self"}}}}