Useful Tips for Session Work Players

Useful Tips for Session Work Players

If you haven’t heard of session work, here’s a little introduction on some of the basic principles behind it.

There are two kinds of work in the music industry, full members in a band and session players. Session players are those who get paid for studio time and/or live performances. They get paid per song and/or per show. The reason why some artists choose to work with session players is because they are professionals, with professional gear, and very talented. They are least likely to waste your time and money by screwing up their parts.

Sometimes, these players become full time session players in a particular group. For example, most mainstream single artists tend to have a live backup band. Those members are session players, so if one is not available or doesn’t want to commit to the project, they can easily find a replacement. This makes it easy for the single artist because there will be nothing holding her/him back when it comes to the performance or recording aspect.

As a session player, there are a few things that you should be prepared for. For starters, being a good player would help. The whole purpose of session players is that they’re fast learners and can play almost any kind of genre really well.  So it’s important to be familiar with a large variety of genres and know your theory! Another useful tip is to be easy to work with. Remember, it’s not your project! You can share your opinions, but whoever is hiring you has the final say at the end of the day.

The second most important factor is the gear that you own. You need to have access to a great variety of amps, guitars and stomp boxes. You may have a preferred sound, but when it comes to a particular project, a Strat through a Fender amp might get closer to the required sound than a Les Paul through a Marshall amp. It’s about being flexible with your sound.

Another useful tip is to be very friendly and social in order to get connections. These will help you the most in the session work world. The people you meet are all potential employers, and you need to develop a connection with most of the people you meet. Some people may even recommend you for just being a nice guy…you never know.

Session work has its ups and downs and it’s not for everyone. It’s more likely to make money in music this way simply because people are paying you to do what you do. There are a few things being compromised however, including having a major say in decisions (something that you would have if you were a full band member and not a session player for a band). Some people don’t mind that, they enjoy any kind of music and they have fun either way, like myself.

Of course you can always choose to not be a part of a certain project if it’s completely out of your comfort zone! You won’t be affecting the project itself by that much if you decide to leave. Some session players, like Justin Derrico, have become a full time session player for a particular project. In Justin’s case, he has been guitarist for Pink and the TV show “The Voice” for over 3 years.

These tips will help you get started in the world of session playing. It may not be for you, but you never know until you try it!

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