4 Benefits of Being a Multi-Band Musician

If you’re a musician who has only played with one band, you’re a rarity in the music scene. Most musicians start playing in their first band with friends, then move on to other groups as their tastes change and mature. When a musician begins to pursue a career in music, there are often opportunities to play in groups or for projects that don’t necessarily inspire unrelenting passion. The goal is to make enough to support yourself without lending your talents exclusively to projects in which don’t truly believe. The search for this balance often leads musicians to play in multiple groups that span genres and even types of performances. There are a few benefits of being a musician that takes on roles in different bands.

Different types of music help keep your skills sharp and flexible

Musicians who only stick with a single band that only plays a particular genre of music often find themselves getting frustrated at a lack of growth and an increase of imposter syndrome. A simple way to combat this is to join multiple groups that play different genres of music. No matter what your instrument, you’ll find yourself learning new techniques and studying your craft more than you would if you stuck to a single genre. A quick web search will reveal a multitude of sites dedicated to helping musicians connect with groups that are looking for additional members. Usually, the band looking for a musician will add video and audio recordings, so you have an idea of what you’re getting into before you reach out and contact them.

Spanning different genres increases the likelihood of a band finding success

If you’ve ever played in a niche-genre band, you know all too well that certain clubs and venues only allow certain genres to perform on a given night. If you spread your musical talents across multiple bands that cover different genres, you’ve instantly got a foot in the door to more venues, allowing you to get more stage time, and hopefully more paychecks. Genre-specific clubs are prevalent in major metropolitan areas, which is where you’re likely to move if you’re attempting a career in music. One of the best things about these clubs is the fan base is usually more engaged with the music and actively supports the groups that play there. Playing venues that haven’t established a reputation and don’t have a niche audience are more likely to draw passive audience members that aren’t going to buy CDs, engage on social media, or support the band beyond enjoying the night’s performance. Looking for bands that run the gambit of genres will open significantly more doors than playing for a single band.

Having experience with multiple genres opens you up to the potential session work

One of the holy grails for career musicians is linking up with a producer that has steady work for studio musicians. While not particularly glamorous, and sometimes even thankless, studio musicians are often making the steadiest living of all career musicians. Playing multiple types of music is always attractive to a producer looking for a studio musician because producers are rarely working with the same genre on every project. They want a talented musician who can adapt and play whatever the day throws at them. While having experience with multiple genres is a huge plus, there are also other prerequisites for being a studio musician. Producers will almost always want musicians who can not only read music, but can sight-read as though their life depended on it. If you’re a solid sight-reader, having experience with different genres will always make you a more attractive choice for session work.

The type of music you’re most passionate about, may not be the most lucrative

There is no shortage of articles discussing the balancing of passion and paychecks in the independent music and film industries, and the same is true for musicians. If the type of music you are most passionate about playing is not a commercially viable option and doesn’t have even a niche audience, there is little chance you’re going to be able to make a living playing that type of music alone. This doesn’t mean you should completely stop playing and enjoying that genre; it just means you should look for more commercially and financially viable bands to play in that you can still glean enjoyment and fulfillment from. If you’re pursuing a career as a musician and haven’t been finding success with your favorite genre, sit down and look at the other genres you could see yourself enjoying. Once you’ve got a list, take a look at what the market is demanding and find the overlapping genres. Once you’ve found those options, hit the web and find someone who is looking for your instrument. This approach may lack the romance of hitting it big and not giving a damn about the market, but it sure beats riding a chair and water-cooler talk in an office.

Contributor: Andrew Border

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