There are drummers content to play along with a favorite song, beating out a rhythm for friends, family and neighbors. There are also drummers happy to play in a drum circle or with friends, making music together just for the sake of music. Then there are drummers that love music, rhythm, performing, and want to devote at least part of their lives to drumming… and get paid to do it.
Finding a drumming opportunity or gig can be a challenging undertaking for even the most seasoned drummer. More often than not, the number of musicians and percussionists outnumber the opportunities available for pay. Most of the time, an iconic drummer did not immediately rise to fame and fortune, but had to pound the pavement like all other musicians. Smaller jobs can easily lead to bigger gigs, which can lead to steady work, or work in off times, in order to provide an income and lead to bigger performances. Finding those smaller gigs just takes a little creativity and determination, much like drumming itself.
Top places to find drumming gigs:
- Event planners or management companies – these organizations are always looking for talent to send to weddings, parties and local events.
- Schools, colleges, non-profit organizations – for fundraisers or entertainment, these establishments may not pay well (or, really, at all), but you get exposure that can lead to better gigs.
- Friends and family – tell your tribe that you are looking for work and see what comes out of it.
- Online and/or classified ads – you never really know until you try, and the worst that can be said is, “no.” If you’re good, and have the chops, you’ll get the gigs.
Embarking on a professional, paid drumming career is an exciting step in any percussionist’s life. By keeping motivated and realistic, the opportunities for drumming for pay are closer than one may think, and the benefits are more than money and fame, but also the personal satisfaction of creating music, following a dream, and living a life of authentic drumming awesomeness.