This has been my lesson this year. Work harder.
I was shooting the shit with John Maloney, a friend and very talented drummer, earlier this year. It was right around the time that I started gaining a little momentum – booking more gigs, doing a little better with students and work in general. Anyway, John was in the midst of tons of gigs and we were talking about being busy; about being busy musicians. And when we got the part about what it takes to become a busy musician, John laid this piece of wisdom on me: Work harder. If you want more gigs, don’t go out looking for gigs. Instead, practice your instrument. Become a better player.
Between the two of us, we figured that a) people will notice if you’ve been practicing. You’ll be offered more gigs because people will want to hire the new and improved you, and b) you’ll feel more confident. John used the example of overhearing two players discussing an upcoming gig while packing up after an existing gig. If you’re confident, you’re more likely to pipe up and say “I’d be interested in that,” and might just land the gig.
I dunno – I don’t know all the answers, but “work harder” is an answer that works an awful lot of the time. My dad taught me to think that way, and I gotta say, it seems to bear out in real life.