Pursuing Music as a College Student


We’re only a few weeks away from the start of Fall Semester, so its about time to start thinking college booking.  I was hanging with a friend of mine, Ife Kehinde, a few months back and we were talking about how to score college gigs while living as a student. The following thoughts will apply to both students and non-students.

cafeteria Tour!
Your college probably has a few cafeterias…and probably at least one that also serves as a lounge . Look into performing during peak cafeteria hours – i.e. lunchtime  and dinner. You’ll have a built-in crowd, and some people who will listen actively (though many will listen passively).  Don’t limit yourself to just your campus. Hit up all the local colleges in the area. Who knows, the school might even pay you for this, but if anything its a sure fan builder.

Weekend Tours
Can’t play on weekdays? Book  your Fridays and Saturday regionally. Book in town or out of town…but just book!
Take advantage of 3-day weekends, and if you can’t go home for a holiday, stay in town and play somewhere. Allison Weiss has been doing this for the last few years. She actually just graduated from college and is now a free bird. But if she can do it, I’m pretty sure anyone can.

Start an Open Mic on Campus
You could easily hold it in your dorm building’s lounge, but if you wanna do it up, get official permission from the appropriate faculty member(s) and make it a school sponsored activity. If its legit you’ll be able to list it on the school’s activity calendar, promote it better, etc. You could alternatively start an open mic thats near campus but not on official campus property (i.e. a nearby coffee shop). In that way, non-students will also be able to attend. If you’re a non-student, start up something like this. The college kids will love you for it!

Not 21?
So you want to play gigs but all the legitimate venues are 21 and over? Hmmmm…there’s not much you can do about this until you hit that 21 mark.  In the meantime, look into coffee shops.  Coffee shops can really make for good gigs when you find the right one. See:  “Making the Most of Your Coffeeshop Gig“. Just because you’re not playing “real” venues doesn’t mean you can’t make a name for yourself. Thats’ completely false.

Know what’s happening at your school!
At your average large college, there are tons of on-campus events taking place on a monthly basis.  Read your school paper. Find out whats happening. Is Habitat for Humanity doing a benefit concert? Contact their student leader and ask if they need a band. Is one of the school’s Fraternities having a party next weekend? Go play!
Is Student Government bringing in a famous artist for homecoming? Ask if they need an opener. Be shameless about asking. The worst they can say is “No.”

Dorm Parties
Just like a house show. Send a Facebook invite to everyone on your floor or slip little fliers underneath their door and invite them to come to your building’s lounge for some late night music. Tell them to bring food and a friend. This could turn into something really fun! Make sure its a “dry” party b/c you’re sure to be kicked out of your dorm if its not.

Check back here over the next week for a few posts on pursuing college gigs – ideas for students and non-students.

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