Street Smarts to Get You Noticed!

Learning to play guitar is no simple task by itself, but transitioning your love of music and your finely tuned skills into a stream of income is another seemingly impossible feat all together! Whether you are trying to play gigs, teach, write, or record, it all takes a series of steps to get things rolling.

“Take opportunities you would normally never consider and see what other doors it may open for you.”

There are literally hundreds of ways to turn your guitar playing skills into cold hard cash, all of which require being noticed for your talent or “standing out in the crowd.” There are some really good books and how-to guides on the market that can give you some really great advice on how to do so, but I’m gonna offer up  just a few Street Smart Tips that will help you construct a top notch professional presentation of your skills that will help you get noticed by any potential client that may hire you for your talents.

Get the RIGHT kind of attention

Now there are many ways to get attention and some are really good and some are quite frankly pretty stupid, so you want to make sure that you go about it the right way. The attention I speak of is not how cool you look in pictures, or how many chicks you can pull to your show. The attention you want that will transform itself into working gigs comes in the form of leaving a POSITIVE impression. For example, if you teach you want your students to refer you to others and confidently praise your teaching ability and personality, not tell people your full of yourself. So make sure you always cater to the needs of your student and teach for them even if you have to change your methodology a bit to suit their needs.

Be grateful for EACH connection you make

Club owners and promoters like a band that is easy going and cooperative, as opposed to acting like the whole world should bow down to you because your band is so “bad ass!” Also, people in the music industry are bombarded with artists boasting that they are the best thing since cheese in a can. They simply don’t have the time or patience to endure a lot of “self-hype.” So be thankful when you get a gig (even when the club does screw you over). They will remember your kindness in spite of the way you may have been treated, which often will bump you up the list of bands to call upon in a pinch!

Don’t OVER-SELL yourself… or sell yourself short!

As I previously mentioned not over-hyping yourself, the same holds true in regards to over selling yourself. Many bands spend thousands of dollars doing slick full length CD’s only to find that not a single record label will just “grab & release it” as they had envisioned it would go down. Get your sound established and package it into a quality 3-4 song demo that will get enough attention to want more. These days keeping things simple makes it a lot more appealing to the people who can put you where you wanna be! The same goes for live shows . Playing 20 shows in LA over 3 or 4 months burns out your following as they figure they can come to any one of a dozen upcoming shows.

Get Out There And DO IT!

No matter what your goal is, it won’t ever be achieved if you just sit at home thinking about it and never act on it. Take opportunities you would normally never consider and see what other doors it may open for you. Seek out possibilities and be persistent.  When nothing presents itself, create an opportunity using the power of your creative will!

My mother gave me a little stone plaque with a saying carved on it that is the secret to drawing attention to your artistic expression:

Do not follow the path of others, but instead make your own path and leave a trail!”

Scott “SVH” Von Heldt is a staff writer for SMG. Scott is currently the lead guitarist for Brian “Head” Welch (ex-Korn) and has worked with members of White Zombie, Cirque Du Soliel and many others. In late 2008 he released the first book of his Mystic Art of Self-Discovery series entitled Mind Over Metal: The Musician’s Guide to Mental Mastery.

Email: SVH@sharemyguitar.com

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  • yet another great zen guitar post, thanks SVH! I have seen it myself all too many times by people young and old where their EGO gets in the way of reality. it is very important that you remain humble and gracious if you want to succeed and not burn bridges, no matter how great your girlfriend or family tell you you are… someone may not like the “tude” or the style of your craft, but if you are friendly and appreciative, they just might want to go the extra step to help you. could be the difference for you between selling out at the big amphitheater versus living in a van down by the river!

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