In the early days of your “playing out”, as folks like to call it, you may find that you’ll be happy to play just about anywhere people will be willing to hear you play! The earliest gigs these days seem often to be school-oriented, and they may include things such as “Battle of the Bands”, or similar types of slightly competitive, but fun events. It’s hard when you’re very young to play in bars due to the booze being served and certain laws prohibiting you from playing there, but there are times you can “sit in” in situations like that.
It’s so important that you gain the experience wherever you can of performing in front of people. I mean, I have really played literally everywhere! From outdoors in front of bar-b-que restaurants, to mental wards of hospitals, to swimming pools during the Asbury Park riots and way beyond…I have see it all! Some of it was not rewarding at all, but it all depends at what point of your career these things happen. Regardless, the experience does make you a better player, and like I have always said, one good thing usually does tend to lead to another in this business. Above all else, you truly want to be heard, and nothing beats the “live” experience you gain when playing in front of the public!
Sometimes, even when you think you’ve seen it all, another strange gig will suddenly appear, and make you feel like “what am I doing here?!” The ones like that which occur for me these days are like when someone wants me to play during some cocktail period at an event or something, and I realize I am only “background music” at that point! But I simply grin and bear it, realize it’s for the money (which is hopefully good enough), and just accept the fact that these folks don’t know I am world-respected guitarist. Usually, in those kinds of situations I can win people over, and actually turn it into a rally fun gig for all of us! The important catalyst is usually if these is at least one person really “tuning in” to what I do….that always makes me play better, and become far more happy and outgoing as I go along.
This will be important for you in your early years too, as I’m sure that when you play you’re going to have your initial group of friends, fans and family to help be there to support you. People love to do this, especially when they know just how much of a difference they can make to you and your performance, and most of all, to your happiness!
So, keep on playing wherever you can, and above all, make sure that no matter what the venue, you really make it count. In the end, it all does!