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ArtistWorks Jazz Allstars: How to Prepare for a Gig


Preparing for a performance or a gig can be a nerve-racking endeavor, especially if you’re relatively new to performing publicly or don’t gig very often. It can be even more daunting, and sometimes even overwhelming feeling, if you’re performing with a group you’ve never played with before, or an ensemble consisting of musicians you don’t know particularly well. Having to quickly learn each musician’s communication style and musical vocabulary on the bandstand can feel intimidating.


Fortunately, a few of our ArtistWorks jazz instructors are here to provide a handful of tips and tricks to help you better prepare for your next gig! They’ll guide you through the preparation process so that you approach your next performance with confidence and excitement, rather than uncertainty and anxiety.


Shortly before their 2018 performance at the highly-regarded Blue Note jazz club in Napa, CA, ArtistWorks instructors Nathan East, Peter Erskine, Eric Marienthal, and George Whitty sat down to share their different methods for preparing for a gig in a detailed panel discussion designed specifically for their ArtistWorks jazz students.


In this discussion, they cover topics ranging from how to approach playing with new musicians to selecting a well-rounded repertoire, finding common musical ground with your peers, how to kick off a jam session, and more.


LEARN MORE: Want to learn how to play jazz from a true master musician? Try some free online piano, saxophone, bass, or drum lessons now!


“One of the great things about being a musician, particularly a jazz musician, is that situations that provide you with the chance to play with your peers in various configurations is really part of what the genre is all about,” explains Eric. “One of the beautiful things about coming together as a group that’s never played together before is the potential for spontaneity, creativity, and sharing a new collective experience.”


Focusing on the potential for a positive performance and embracing the excitement of the uncertainty is an important mindset to retain when approaching a new gig with a new group. A great way to get into a positive frame of mind is to begin by establishing a common ground with your fellow performers from a musical perspective. Beginning the performance with a song that you all know really well, for example, will help everyone get comfortable and understand each other’s communication styles more quickly.


“We often play jazz standards because they’re an integral part of the musical vocabulary of the genre,” Peter explains. “But, they’re also great because most jazz musicians will know these tunes, and, by performing standards together that we all really know well, we’re able to better understand each other’s styles and approaches much more quickly.”


To learn how to better prepare for your next gig, dive into this amazing discussion from ArtistWorks jazz instructors Nathan East, Peter Erskine, Eric Marienthal, and George Whitty:


Nathan East, Peter Erskine, Eric Marienthal, & George Whitty—How to Prepare for a Gig:




ArtistWorks online music lessons are recorded and taught by 42 world-renowned master musicians who not only have rich musical legacies but have a deep passion for teaching and sharing their knowledge.


Through our comprehensive assortment of courses, students can learn anything from acoustic and electric guitar to piano, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, saxophone, ukulele, how to sing—just about any instrument you can think of. And, our esteemed faculty can teach you how to play everything from bluegrass to jazz to rock to blues to classical and beyond.


Through the ArtistWorks platform, students have the unique opportunity to both learn at their own pace and also interact with and receive feedback from our faculty of master teachers in the form of Video Exchanges. ArtistWorks' patented Video Exchange Learning® platform allows students to submit questions to our master faculty in the form of a video, and our instructors then create personal video responses full of guidance, encouragement, and critical next steps to facilitate improvement.



Jazz Piano Lesson: Learn How to Play “Tune Up” with George Whitty

Electric Bass Lesson: Note Length with Nathan East

Jazz Drum Lesson: How to Hold the Drumsticks with Peter Erskine




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