Recently, I had a gig that was going to be four rehearsals and two shows. The music was easy, and I enjoyed being able to sight-read the material nearly perfectly on the first try. The band members were a bunch of my good friends.
Everything was cool, except for one thing: the band leader disliked me from the second that I walked into the room. She absolutely and completely hated my guts, even though we had never met before.
The more that I tried to be polite and considerate, the worse the situation got. After four rehearsals, she called me and told me I was fired from the gig. My immediate response was “Why? Was there a problem?” She just said a few vague (and pretty mean) things.
At this point, I made a split second decision to just let it go- so I said “Alright. Thanks for having me, take it easy,” and we hung up. The next day I returned the music, and they paid me for the four rehearsals I had done.
Let me turn this situation into a teaching moment. Here are the main points for musicians to consider:
1. No matter how great you are at music, and no matter how much your soul beams with beauty, there may be someone out there who totally can’t stand you.
2. After losing a gig, spend a short time objectively evaluating what happened. Why was your gig a disaster? Is there any reason to call or write to apologize (e.g., you arrived late, etc.)? What lessons can be learned? Don’t obsess or get emotional. Don’t get mad or sad or brood.
3. Is this the type of gig that you want to avoid taking in the future?
4. Don’t trash-talk the venue/bandleader etc. on social media. If the bandleader trashes you to others, remain silent and show them you’re an adult. If you feel like you’re owed a large sum of money, you may want to send them a short, courteous email informing them. If it’s not that much money, you might want to just drop it and move on.
5. Drop it and move on. Realize that you can’t win them all, and proceed with your life. The next day, make it a point to identify your strong areas in music, and spend time practicing them. As tough as it might be, don’t let a setback slow you down. Start practicing and rehearsing again the very next day.