SOLO MUSICIANS: IS A RESORT JOB MADE FOR YOU... OR NOT?
pic: Tonks Bloom
Hello fellow musicians!
You just got an offer for a job in a resort but you're unsure?
Here's a short article to help you ask the right questions and check if it's for you...
First, let's check what you need to BE /HAVE for you to make it as enjoyable as possible:
It's best to be UNATTACHED, meaning
- you have no fixed home,
- you are not taking care of anyone,
- or loving anyone,
- you are a nomad in nature,
- or you just broke up with someone, gave the notice to your landlord, and need to get out, - or are in between jobs with no secure contacts and can sublet your room for a long period.
Those life situations or similar are ideals if you want to accept a resort job. Now, it doesn't mean you absolutely have to be in those situations, you can have a partner and decide that's the way you want to live 10 months away from each other and get together when you can. Some do.
HAVE ALREADY AN EXTENDED REPERTOIRE, 250+ songs OF POPULAR SONGS
Think about it, customers are staying on average 2 weeks...
you are playing a minimum of 3 sets of 30 minutes per day, 6 days a week...
Count 10 songs per set if you're not using any loop pedals...
30 songs per day....
180 songs per week...
= 360 songs! if you don't want to repeat any song over 2 weeks.... which usually doesn't happen, as we replay the most popular tunes, so on average you play safe with 250+ of popular songs.
NOTE: Popular songs can change depending on which country the customers are coming from. You need to take information about this with the company who hires you. In the UK, if you have 250 songs but a repertoire made of 80% American jazz standards, it's gonna be difficult... and, you're gonna have to learn new songs every day... like I did :)
TAKE INFORMATION ABOUT THE CONDITIONS - ALL THE CONDITIONS... try to dig deep
Keep in mind that playing 6 days a week is intense work especially if you want to offer quality - if you're serious you will warm up, maybe practice new stuff... one day of rest is just the time to realize that your day off is over...
If during your day off you have to clean your space, do the laundry, go and buy your food...etc it is not a day off! That's why I say EVERYTHING has to be taken in charge, otherwise, you won't keep up with your standards, won't finish the contract, or you will have to take some more days off (usually unpaid) - the information described below is usually well-hidden, musicians arrive and discover the disaster, then give their notice, which explains every 2/3 months, companies search for new people....
I suggest, you ask those questions to the company before you sign your first 10 months' contract:
- When and how will you eat? you think you will be able to eat whenever you want, like after your performance, which musicians usually do as we are more relaxed... think again... the manager can decide to close the kitchen at 9.30pm, and you finish at 10.30pm... ask about this...
- What's the distance between the place you will sleep, the place you will eat, and the place you will perform?
It has to be 10 minutes walk maximum believe me. Just imagine... you have 20 mins to eat before you start, if 10 mins are spent walking from one place to another it can be difficult... which brings me to my next point:
- The waiting/dressing rooms... where are you going in between sets?... can you actually relax in between sets or will you be walking across the 1000 square meters building to access the waiting room and realize you have 5 min break left before going back singing.
- Are there accessible shops, supermarkets, and musical shops from your room? or will you only have the small convenience store with a couple of tourist articles at a walkable distance?
- Can your family and partner/boyfriend visit? Believe me, a long time without seeing your partner or family is difficult, it's best if you can organize some visits during those months.
ASK ABOUT THE SOUND SYSTEM OF THE RESORT but there's not so much they will tell, basically we already know, there will probably be a PA system covering the entire building and the sound will go out from everywhere.
BRING A BIT OF YOUR SOUND WITH YOU, like your mixer, so at least if their system doesn't work or you are not satisfied with the mixer of the resort, you are safe - in-ear monitor, if you use them yourself with your mixer, can be a very good idea also. Don't use them if someone else is managing the mixer, they can push the wrong button and make you deaf without even noticing it.
Playing with a bad sound is NOT good and NOT acceptable, more so when you play 6 days a week. We think it's not a big deal, we can handle it, yes, we can handle it but the sound is your presentation, people who don't know you will hear your sound first, it has to be your sound, and it has to be as best as possible or YOU will take the blame anyway.
In general, think about all the small details that could make your life a misery if they were to be dictated by rigid rules. This is very personal to all of us.
If you are attached professionally in your country residence in a way, another question you might ask yourself is:
Can I afford to lose my contacts in my country residence, is the fee sufficient for me to restart my life when I come back, while paying my rent and bills in my country residence?
Sometimes you can sublet your room but if you're living with someone, you can't not pay the rent. Again, if you don't have a home, it's perfect. You go make and save some money for 10 months, and when you come back you have loads of money (if you can save!) and some chances to restart your life or to continue traveling.
I heard musicians telling me about how it was 20 years ago, and apparently, it has changed a lot... Smaller fee, less freedom, more rules.... so be sure you are aware of the 2023's conditions.
I hope this article was helpful and I wish you a great time whether you decide to go or not.