Pit Playing 101
- Go see musicals - hand out cards.
- Offer to Sub. For free if necessary.
- Play any show you are offered.
- Be amazing in every way
- Be willing to work your way up
- Find out who is conducting what - cold call them
- Be on time - Leave home EARLY - 20 minutes early = on time
- Commit early (yes or NO - no maybes)
- Find a conductor and stick with him/her
- Play well - Worry about YOURSELF only
- Keep your mouth SHUT
- If you need a sub, get a GOOD one
- Work as a team with someone else to cover ALL the performances
- Make the conductors job EASY.
- Come to rehearsal with your music LEARNED
- Notate ALL cuts in the music in a clear and concise manner
- When rehearsal is over - go home. If you have questions for the conductor come early the next rehearsal -
- Find players you like, or who you know.
- Treat them well.
- Pay them fairly
- Network - go to shows, band concerts, and hand out business cards.
- Business Cards
- Calendar - big one
- Email/cell - use them
- Make a copy of your book - for future shows and to mark cuts.
What Do I Need?
- Brass - ALL MUTES, oil, horn stand
Reeds - learn to double/ extra reeds, horn stand
Drums - Tamb. / Shakers / wood blocks / Glock
Piano - keyboard, amp, cords
Bass/Guitar- Amp, chords, pedals, bow (bs)
- Pencil, Pen, Post-it notes, Paperclips
Playing in a pit carries a lot of responsibility. People are PAYING to see the show, largely because of the music. Tickets in this area can get as high as $35 a seat. You need to make sure that YOU PERSONALLY are giving the people their money's worth!
- Vocal Coaching
- Music Preparation
Why Play Shows At ALL?
Take traffic, set up time, parking, and tear down time (and any other mitigating circumstances) into account when accepting a gig. If shows start at 7:30 in Los Altos - and call time is 7pm - and you work in East San Jose until 6pm - you are probably going to be late.
Factor in if the particular show is worth it. I recently played a show in SF - for $40. 1 hour up, 1 hour back, $10 in parking and a 2-hour show. Minus gas that is a $25 job for 4 hours of work. But I ended up getting 6 more gigs out of it.
Even a show that pays $10 a service can be great in many ways.
- Better Musicianship
- Earn Money / make friends
- Consistent employment - what else is there?
- Tax benefits
- Personal growth
Lastly -- Playing shows teaches you to play "on- demand" in a variety of circumstances. These skills can lead to other - more career oriented jobs like Vegas, Cruise Ships and Cabaret performances.
- One check at the end - usually $120 - $200 depending on services.
- 3 hours at minimum wage comes out to about $17 after taxes.
- More shows means more shows means more money eventually.
This page last modified on 29-Jan-2004
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