Life Lessons Or, How to Get the Gig and Keep It - theHumm November 2019
Life Lessons Or, How to Get the Gig and Keep It - theHumm November 2019
By Tony Stuart
A former student who is currently studying Music at university was recently in to talk with me. I love having these opportunities to catch up, and truth be told, I would go back to school tomorrow if I could. I loved being at university studying Music, and still feel passionate about teaching it as I near the end of my career.
We were talking about performance. I maintain a pretty busy performing schedule outside of school, especially with my partner in The Somerset Combo, Ric Denis. Ric and I will have performed between fifty and sixty shows in 2019 by the time December is done. My student was asking about getting gigs, how to keep them, and what other advice that I had.
It was a terrific chat, and I thought it would make for an interesting column, so I hope you will bear with me. Some of these lessons took me a long time to learn, and it is very true that we learn from our mistakes.
The first thing I told him is that he needs to be prepared to work hard and take advantage of every opportunity that his school has to offer. It is inspiring to be around other high-level musicians, and you can always learn something.
Every musician who decides to play professionally needs to find their niche, and recognize their own strengths and weaknesses. There will always be better players out there. However, the type of person you are (or want to be) is just as important as your skills and abilities. Ric and I bill ourselves as The Somerset Combo as opposed to playing under our own names because we recognize that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We make each other better when we play together.
Presenting yourself as professional is very important, and this includes arriving early to a job and being ready to go on time. It also includes an often-overlooked item: dressing appropriately. Ric and I are aiming for a classy, retro vibe when we play, and always show up to a gig with a suit jacket. It is a little thing, but it establishes something about you right away before you play your first note. Your reputation plays a big role in furthering your career. If you are known as a reliable, responsible player you will get work. I know many really fine players who aren’t working regularly because they are difficult to get along with, or they have a habit of taking gigs that they aren’t suited for.
Another often-overlooked piece of the puzzle is your own demeanour when you are at a show. Being friendly and appreciative to the person who hired you and treating their staff well goes a long way towards creating a good impression and will help get you hired for a return gig. Being aware of your volume levels and making sure they are appropriate to the venue are also critical. Jazz musicians are often called upon to create atmosphere, and recognizing that people still want to be able to chat while you are playing makes all the difference. You are no less of a musician because you are providing background music.
Creating and nurturing relationships is one of the joys of the music business. This is something that I wasn’t always good at, but have really been working on improving over the years. When another musician experiences success, this should not be viewed as a threat but rather as something to be celebrated. We all know how much work is involved in being a musician, and should not be afraid to celebrate the success of others. We should also not be afraid to recommend a gig to someone else if we feel that they are better suited for it.
In the end, the best advice that I can give is to work hard, try to be the best version of yourself, acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses, and most of all be grateful that you get to work with amazing people and make music. It is one of life’s greatest joys.
Canadian Winterscapes The Algonquin Ensemble Premieres Stunning New Production - theHumm November 2019
The Algonquin Ensemble has created a stunning new production and it’s coming to the First Unitarian in Ottawa on Saturday, November 30 and to the Almonte United Church on Sunday, December 1. Canadian Winterscapes is a multi-media journey celebrating the untamed beauty and indomitable spirit of a Canadian winter through music, art and photography. With moving pieces from the ensemble’s acclaimed début production Sonic Palette, uplifting arrangements of traditional seasonal repertoi......
David Ivens —He’s Got a Hammer - theHumm November 2019
By Sally Hansen
Art… and Soul
That’s not correct. He has many, many specialized hammers and other metalworking tools, and he hammers in the morning and in the evening and in the afternoons. And he’s been happily doing it for over forty years. You know you’ve found your niche when what you want to do after you retire is to do more of what you’ve been working at.
David Ivens ran a restoration and fabrication company in Toronto for forty years, creating, reproducing and......
On Tuesday, September 7, 1982, Peter Hamer walked into Bell High School for the first time. He was a shy kid taking the first steps into his new school eager to begin grade 9. Like every other young person beginning their high school adventure he had all the hopes and dreams for a future filled with opportunity and excitement. The next four years at Bell would prove to be anything but that.
Not much of a jock, or a high achiever scholastically, Peter found his place in the music room. Par......
Almonte’s Sivarulrasa Gallery is celebrating its 5th anniversary this year — the gallery is incredibly grateful to the people of Almonte, Lanark County, and the broader region for all the support and encouragement it has received over the past five years. The 5th Anniversary Show will bring together works by 22 talented artists from Almonte, Eastern Ontario, and across Canada. The show runs from November 22 to December 29 and will feature sculpture, paintings, drawin......
By — Heather Phaneuf
Disgruntled are you? Could it be the pre-winter blues? The looming holly-daze? Or are you fundamentally concerned about the suspicious red boxes that traipsed willy-nilly through last month’s Humm? Hmmm? You should be!
Something is amiss in Mississippi Mills. Something is horribly wrong. Someone is ranting about Almonte, Pakenham, Ramsay and why the heck isn’t it called Alpakram? Almapakarama? Ramalamapakahama-ding-dong? Why wouldn’t you be concerned?
Solve the mystery! Grab a ticket to......
rND Bakery: Beyond Wheat - theHumm November 2019
By Sebastian Weetabix
Wherein the hero is identified, a disease is defeated and medicinal food is defined. All this in a thousand words and one picture! (For those coming in late, see my column in the October 2019 issue). Our story resumes with the reminder that celiac disease is a real disorder, not a preference or a sensitivity. It can be difficult to diagnose but even a small amount of (wheat) gluten can be the source of much and long-lasting misery.
Wheat and wheat processing played a ......
It’s time again for Mississippi Masala — the fourth annual festive evening in support of Child Haven International. Come on out for an enjoyable social and cultural evening!
On Saturday, November 23, you can beat the chilly weather by immersing yourself in warm South Asian culture. The Carleton Place Curling Club will be transformed for the evening: draped in the rich colours of Indian fabrics and featuring talented young Kathak dancers from the Upsana Dance School. Enjoy a ......
Get festive in small halls across Eastern Ontario! The Ontario Festival of Small Halls is bringing big names in music to even more special places this holiday season.
The Festival is growing its holiday offerings, presenting thirteen shows leading up to Christmas that include two Juno-nominated artists: the undeniable musical talent of Royal Wood, as well as the dynamic live performance and unforgettable harmonies of the Fortunate Ones. They are also delighted to bring back Còig, one of Atlantic Cana......
2019 Heritage Perth Christmas House Tour Fourteen Years of Holiday Cheer & Fundraising for Education and Literacy - theHumm November 2019
By — Mary Rothfels
We all have favourite traditions to lighten our hearts as the daylight hours shorten and the temperatures fall. The annual Heritage Perth Christmas House Tour is one such joyful occasion to break up the winter months. For 2019, the Perth and District Chapter of the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) has once again lined up an incredible selection of eight homes, transformed for the holidays with inspiring festive décor presented by talented local designers and florists. The pop......
Author Lesley Choyce is coming to Almonte to meet some of the folks who loved his book The Unlikely Redemption of John Alexander MacNeil. With over 535 copies sold locally, it’s a Mill Street Books bestseller, beloved for its characters and Cape Breton setting.
Come out on November 12 and celebrate the launch of his new novel, Broken Man on a Halifax Pier. It’s a tale of one man’s shipwrecked life and an unlikely crew of rescuers. Charles Howard has lost his jo......
The above is the description of a pantomime according to Dictionary.com . Many folks who are unfamiliar with the genre mistakenly think there will be no talking, but the opposite couldn’t be more true. There is singing and dancing, and an important part of the pantomime experience is audience participation. We polite Canadians are reluctant to shout out at a show, but it is expected here! You MUST boo the baddies and cheer on the......
Perth’s Nick of Time Show - theHumm November 2019
Perth’s longstanding Nick of Time artisan show is back again this year, taking place on Saturday, December 7 from 10am to 3:30pm in the historic McMartin House, located at 125 Gore Street East.
All three floors of the McMartin House will be packed full of the work of artisans who do their very best to tempt and tantalise with wonderful creations and tasty treats. Enjoy shopping in a festive atmosphere and leave the crowded shopping malls behind as you relax and enjoy all that ......
Seeing RED at Strévé - theHumm November 2019
The fusion of fashion and art through the colour red is the next themed exhibit at Perth’s Strévé Design Studio Boutique Gallery, taking place during the months of November and December.
Red is the colour of fire and blood, so it is associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power and determination as well as passion, desire and love. Red is a very emotionally intense colour. For the months of November and December, we associate red with Remembrance Day poppies and festive holidays such as Ch......
Folkus Heads into 2020 - theHumm November 2019
By — Sandy Irvin is the Artistic Director of the Folkus Concert Series
Almonte’s Folkus Concert Series is pleased to be announcing another great season of music for your ears. This year’s season focuses (sorry) a lot on vocal harmony. We will bring you sweet singers, choruses galore, storytellers in song, and there will be laughs along the way too. Folkus receives funding from the Government of Canada and that allows us to take chances on bigger-name artists, to support local artists opening, and to support music in the community. We also couldn’t do anything......
By — Rose Tekel
The Boomers are now reaching what has been called “the golden years.” We harvest fruits of years of labour and are beyond the cares and responsibilities of the on-going problems of the world.
By — Alexandra Few
SchoolBOX is a registered charity in Canada and Nicaragua that is making education a possibility for children. Founded in 2006 by Tom Affleck, SchoolBOX was able to put two young girls from Nicar......
Come on out and dance for a great cause! On Friday, November 15, the Guatemala Stove Project is hosting a fundraising dance featuring the talented local band Open Road playing rock & rol......
By — Jenny Pfitzer
If history helps us to discover our past, define our present and shape our future, then the CP200+ Time to Remember show gives you that and much more: drama, songs, smiles… and tears!
To See the Stars: Imagining a Life A Reading from Jan Andrews’ Last Novel by Ellis Lynn Duschenes - theHumm November 2019
By — Jane Ellens
On Saturday, November 16, there is a marvellous opportunity to celebrate Jan Andrews’ life as a writer, an internationally recognized storyteller, a rock climber, and a woman who lived her l......
May 22 - Sep 5 Head Over Heels
Jun 11 - Jul 9 Eric Uren on the Patio
Jul 1 Chris Murphy
Jul 1 Canada Day
Jul 2 Basia Bulat
Jul 2 - 3 Perth Antique Show & Sale
Jul 2 - 3 Almonte Celtfest
Jul 2 - 3 Rideau Lakes Studio Tour
Jul 4 Jason Kent
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- OUTERBRIDGE — Clockwork Mysteries Canada’s Grand Masters of IllusionReturn to the Station Theatre in Smiths Falls
- There is Bad Bloodin Dry Stone…
- Midsummer Herbfestis Back in White Lake!
- Bloomfest Garden Art Show and Sale
- A Company of Fools PresentsThe Tempest
- History Comes Alive in Middleville
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