Tips for Getting Session Work As a Singer or Player
If you happen to be a really gifted musician and can read music, learn quickly, and play in a variety of styles, you might consider the world of session work.
From what I've seen in NYC, the musicians for hire who are already out there playing in various bands, naturally start getting more work.
If you are considering session work you should be playing out as much as possible.
The music business is a very social business and if you get along with people easily your chances of getting called in are that much higher.
If you don’t have much studio experience, you might want to offer yourself for free, and let songwriters and bands know that you are interested in this work. Playing live and playing to perfection under time constraints in the studio are two very different things.
Once you start getting a resumé and reel together, you can start looking up session agencies. It helps if you have someone recommending you. In my case, I was referred to a top agency by someone already inside. The agent loved my reel, but had too many artists for the rock genre. I was told that they really needed Latin work, so then I quickly went into the studio and put out two more samples of the specific style. I am now being seriously considered for work. It did take me 6 months to get a great reel for submission though, and someone who trusted my work to make the recommendation.
Put Together a Pro Promo
Start putting together a promo pack with photos, a bio, and a great varied reel. Once you have that, you can put it on your website. Let people know on your social networking pages that you are interested in work as well. I've had great luck with Facebook posts and YouTube videos.
Other things to consider are sending your promo pack to various studios in your town. Put up info in rehearsal spaces, and promote yourself at shows. You may also want to look into becoming a member of the Musicians Union.
Once you start getting calls, be reliable and ready to perform, and be able to adjust on the spot. Be versatile, have your gear in order, and also have patience. Producers also like to work with people who understand studio jargon so get familiar basic terminology.
Breaking into any area of the music business is challenging, so you should always be learning and adding to your reel. Get out as much as possible and network. You never know where your next gig or recommendation might come from.
I use bandcamp for full songs for my vocal reel. But for personal emails I attach 30 second MP3’s of whatever style is being asked for. You can see my site at doritsessions.bandcamp.com/
Dorit is a rock singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and Middle Eastern Dancer. She has performed internationally on concert stages, TV, film, and theatre, and has inspired many students to find to their own expression through music and dance. Dorit’s current goal is to self produce her album and complete an acoustic guitar she hand built as a teenager at the Bronx High School of Science. Her influences include Led Zeppelin, Middle Eastern music, Latin music and old school hip hop -- anything with great rhythm. Find out more about Dorit here>>