Q. I was just wondering how could i become a session guitarist and what opportunities i would have?
A.The key ingredient to a successful career in music (in this case - the recording scene) is to be versatile. To be a professional player (i.e all your income is derived from your skills AND your ability to market yourself) the more versatile your are the more potentially successful your career would be.
Here’s the key points:
must be able to play in a variety of styles e.g., rock, country, blues, jazz must have a great sense of humour and be able to work well under pressure be able to read standard music notation AND play by ear is essential be a good business person - understand how to market your skills
Q. and how would i become one?
A. The first thing is to let people know your are available for that type of work, here’s what I did:
make it known that I would be available for any type of session at any time …this resulted in a lot of *studio down-time* work i.e., 12.00am - 7.00am recording sessions where bands can hire a studio at a greatly reduced rate. I did a lot of *free* rehearsal band work, this was with *big bands - 15- 20 piece bands* that have a lot of musicians from all different musical backgrounds, trumpet, sax, piano players etc …they all have their own bands and we read off of music charts so it was an *ad* for my reading skills. I handed out my business cards to everyone I thought could be a good contact for the future.
Q. do i need any qualifications?
A. No, your reputation is your qualification …in over 30 years of professional studio work …I have never been asked for my qualifications, basically if you are at that session you have been booked because of your past track record in the studio.
Q. if so where do i get them?
A. (see above)
Q.are there an good work opportunities in this particular field?, why would my job be so important in the music industry? .
A.The studio scene has changed a lot since I started, the music scene is a very competitive field very similar to formula 1 racing ……you have to be prepared to work had on your profession for your entire life. I requires an enormous amount of dedication and in many ways is very unglamorous and anonymous (I’m talking about studio work - people will hear you on the radio etc but very rarely ever see you).
Q.Why is studio work important?
A. Today the focus is on VISUAL so in many instances the featured *artist* is chosen for their looks not their musical ability - this is where the session player comes in to make them SOUND good.
In conclusion here is a few little tips that have made all the difference for me …I hope you find them helpful.
Professional musician life:
“the phone rings you go and play ….it doesn’t ring …you practice”
Three rules that determines whether you agree to a booking/session etc:
1. be good fun
2. have connections for the future
3. good money
to accept the booking must have two of the above.