How to survive as a session musician

Check out our alumnus guitarist Vic Jamieson's tips for making it in the world of session playing...


Our annual Careers Day is a great opportunity for our students to come face-to-face with many key music industry players. 

This year's event was no exception with the likes of Tom Grennan manager John Hawkins, Insanity Record's Cian Cooper Davies and our alumnus Vic Jamieson among our guests. 

We sat in our Vic's session to learn his tips on how to survive (and hopefully thrive) as a session player...  

Always be prepared

The turn-around time between getting offered a job and starting a job completely varies. So just try and be as ready as you can for opportunities. For example, if you want to get a gig with a psychedelic shoegaze band and you’ve only got one pedal and you need 12, then be aware of this sort of thing…

Your networks can be key to finding opportunities

In January I landed a teaching job through someone who I was in the same class with when studying at ICMP. My network started in uni and I’ve made sure I’ve kept it and nurtured it ever since.

Have as many income streams as possible

There are many, many things you can do. The nature of the work is it can be unreliable – so just try and be open to as many income streams as possible. It’s always better to have too much work as opposed to not enough.

Think about your performance as well as music

Remember when auditioning to think about how you look. For some gigs, especially the pop ones, it’s not just about the audio. A performance is a show so be aware of that. Film yourself at home playing in front of the mirror, even if it feels weird.

Remember your musical identity

Remember why you started and who you are as a player. You’ll be developing at a crazy rate at uni and in the industry but don’t forget about you and don’t lose who you are.  

Read our previous Careers Day blog on how to find the perfect manager.

Study music in London with ICMP

If you're interested in developing your musicianship, learning from our regular industry guests and collaborating within the vibrant ICMP creative community, then speak to our Admissions Team. They're on hand to help you find the right course that matches your ability and aspirations.

Contact the team on 020 7328 0222 or via email and start your music career today.

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by Jim Ottewill
December 12, 2018
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