I almost never play for free. I believe that as professional musicians we have to have enough self respect and self-worth to charge for our services. We put in countless hours of practice and preparation to get us to each gig and should not take that time lightly. If we don’t think of ourselves as professionals providing a unique and valuable service then we can’t possibly expect others to think of us in that way.
However, there are some cases where I will break my own rule. Tonight is one such case. I’m playing with my trio at the Association of Bridal Consultants monthly meeting. Hundreds of wedding planners, venues, photographers, florists, etc. get together on a monthly basis to talk shop and schmooze. Josh and I went to the April meeting and found that we were the only musicians there! Ah, like shooting fish in a barrel! 😉 But seriously, this is a great networking event, and we asked if we could showcase our talents. We will be playing a 90 minute set during the cocktail portion of the evening.
More often than not when someone offers me a gig and says “It’ll be great exposure” I politely decline. Exposure is almost never quantifiable. But in this case I know we will reap the benefits of playing for this crowd. I know from experience that when we get the chance to play for prospective clients we have close to a 100% success rate. When people see us, people love us. So getting into this event is a big deal and will pay off bigtime, I have no doubt.