that one time i dropped out of a gig

#nowplaying // h.e.r. volume 1 | h.e.r.

if i may, i am very proud of myself for being a reliable + prepared musician. when i agree to do something, it’s done. so imagine my dismay when i had to tell someone i highly respect that i could not perform in their show. it was the worst – downright uncomfortable – but it had to be done.

it had been a while since i worked with this artist so i was delighted when i was asked to play keys for an upcoming gig. even though the event was about a month or so away, i started studying. about 2 weeks or so out from rehearsals, i was asked to play for another artist who would be performing at the event. sure, it’s not a problem. i just needed the music. about a week out from rehearsals, i finally get the music + i begin to study. this music is epic! i mean, intros, transitions, hits, licks, non-traditional chords and progressions, key changes – not to mention it was lengthy. this was only the first song that i had listened to. (keep in mind, i have 2 jobs with only about 6 days to learn 3 epic songs.) the artist was kind enough to provide sheet music for one of the numbers – i thought my head was going to pop off! it was so difficult. i panicked instantly. with my schedule, + the epicness of this music, there was no way i was going to learn + perfect all this music in time for the event. but i attempted to learn it. i’m going to learn this music even if i have to create my own scores. as my practice progressed, reality set in. there was no way. i did not have enough time. so i made the call. have you heard this music? it’s epic! i don’t have the time to learn it. i’m not going to be able to perform. i cried on the phone + thank goodness it was a friend. consoling me, i was told it was ok + not to worry.

although i was relieved, i still felt like i let them down. even with those sinking feelings, it was an experience that i needed to have because i learned a few things.

1. be clear + specific about your needs
if you need to have sheet music, not recorded music, at least 90 days before the first rehearsal then you need to specify that at the time you agree to perform for a gig. when i was asked to play keys for the other artist, i wasn’t clear about what i needed. all i did was agree then i sat around waiting for the email. i should have requested that the music be sent to me immediately since we were already about two weeks out from rehearsals. closed mouths don’t get fed, as they say so don’t be afraid to let people know what you need to be successful.

2. it’s ok to cancel – but give plenty of notice
after listening to + reading through that music i felt intimidated + uncomfortable. i knew that if i was going to drop out i needed to do it today – right now. this way, the artist would have time to find a replacement if need be. try your best to avoid last minute cancellations. no-shows are not only unprofessional, they are unacceptable. the least you can do is send a text message. pro tip: if at all possible, find your own replacement. when you call to cancel, make sure it’s someone who has already agreed + be sure to have their contact information ready.

3. your reputation is your business card
from your talent to your reliability, your reputation will always precede you. i’m a dope piano player but i knew if i played that gig my reputation as a dope piano player would have been hurt. i would have sucked so bad that people would begin to know me as that chick who can’t play. so i had a decision to make: play + be embarrassed or cancel + know my worth as a piano player with a reputation of being prepared.

have you ever had to drop out of a gig? what was that experience like? let ya girl know!

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