How do you become a professional musician in Nashville? The biggest key becoming a professional musician in a city like Nashville, Tennessee is networking. Making connections within the industry will allow you to broaden your horizons. Having a good strategy for networking is critical to becoming a professional musician in the Music City.
- Get business cards made with all of your contact information and the instruments you can play proficiently listed. Never lose a paying gig because no one knew how to get in touch with you.
- Go out to the clubs and bars on Broadway and listen to the bands. When they go on break, try to meet them. Let them know you are available for gigs and what you can do. Be outgoing.
- Talk to the bar owners and let them know you are available also. Many places hold open auditions on certain days. Make sure you play some of these to get your name out there.
- If you are into songwriting as well, there are many places to showcase your talents and meet other writers. Attend a songwriter's showcase to play your songs and here others. Seek out the other writers and exchange cards.
- Breaking into studio work is where the real money is. Once again, networking is the key. The people you meet on the club scene will be the key to getting work on the studio scene. Sooner or later, you will meet someone who is recording a demo or an album and needs an instrument. Making friends and being good with a name will keep you at the top of the list when someone needs a musician quickly.
- Diversify your talents. Become proficient at more than one instrument. Guitar players are everywhere in Nashville. Being a guitarist only will hamper you getting paying gigs. Learn to play other instruments. Learning the banjo is especially useful in a town like Nashville where country music dominates. By all means, learn the drums and bass. These two instruments are always in the highest demand.
- Remember the camera is always on you. When playing gigs, exhibit professionalism at all times. Have fun on stage and interact with the crowd. This is what keeps crowds coming back and what keeps owners raking money in. When showtime is over, be gracious to the owners and the people that help you put on the show. With time, you can be a professional musician.