Respecting People’s Time

People often ask what it takes to be a working musician in New York City. How can you as a musician or artist be heard above the static? How can you distinguish yourself so that you are the one that gets remembered, that gets the call for the next gig and the gig after that?

Respecting People’s Time
There’s nothing more important than showing your coworkers, collaborators and friends that you respect their time. The nature of the music industry usually requires that people invest all of their free time in several projects: if you’re not performing, you’re preparing for a gig. If you’re not creating new music, you’re promoting the music you’ve made. If you’re not booking a gig, you’re working on marketing. The vast majority of musicians need to play with numerous artists and/or work numerous jobs to make ends meet and get to do what they love.

So if you show them that you respect their time, they will respect yours. How can you indicate to people that their time is valuable to you?

Show up on time. If, as a musician, you show up late to a rehearsal, not only do you waste the artist’s time (and possibly money)– you waste the time of every other musician in the band. If, however, others see that you are prompt and efficient, you will stand out and are likely to be on everyone’s list for the next gig.

Be over-prepared. If you’re an artist, know what needs to be accomplished with every moment that you call your team. If you need your band to arrive early for a gig, soundcheck, or rehearsal, show up on time yourself, and make sure that they will be adequately utilized. If you take your musicians’ time seriously, they will take your music seriously and will put the added preparation and investment into taking it to the next level.

Everyone’s time is valuable, and if you find yourself working with an artist or musician who has spent years honing their craft, it means they are choosing to spend that time with you on this project. Show them that it’s well worth it. Don’t just talk the talk– promises of tours, record deals and big-paying gigs just around the corner spill from mouths like drunk kids stumbling out of taxis on the Lower East Side. Most musicians didn’t choose a guitar over law school to be rich– a gig is valuable if the experience is good, the music is edifying and the people are respectful.

Have your own ideas about how to show people that you respect their time and talents? Add your comments below, along with anything else you’d like to see on this blog!

Next week, we’ll look at ways to prepare songs so that everyone in the band can get the most out of rehearsals.

Other posts in this series:
Being Over-Prepared: Tips for Musicians & Singers
Being Over-Prepared: Tips for Artists & Bandleaders
Learning New Skills for the Gig

Justin Goldner is a bassist, guitarist, producer, songwriter, language junkie and lover of culture in all its manifestations. He hurls snarky remarks into the Twitter-void via @JusBass.

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