A lot of solo musicians think that there are not enough places to perform, either paid or on a volunteer basis. After spending some time snowbirding in areas of Florida I went to many outdoor restaurants and saw guitarists’ playing all over town and in the middle of the day. I thought “how cool is that”. Many players back in Michigan are trying to get gigs at night in a grimmy bar.
I have a partial list of shows available to the solo artist. Some are paying and some are not. For example, Nursing homes might have a budget to pay “entertainers”. Others only seek volunteers. Actually some never have anyone come in. I played a nursing home up north Michigan and they said they never had anyone play guitar in ten years as best they could remember.
I personally just like to play to the glory of God, but don’t mind the paying gig, either. With the 4000 musicians that played in the Lord's temple, I don’t think they had to come in after their “day job” shift.
On facebook, I have several friends that make their living playing music at many types of shows.
Hospice care facilities and in-home visits
Nursing homes, Assisted Living and Senior Living
Memorials, Funerals and Celebration of life.
VFW and American Legion halls
Various church functions and of course the Worship Service
Soup Kitchens and Shelters
Fundraisers, Corporate events
Outdoor events, craft shows, farmers markets
Now, I play a lot of Christian Contemporary tunes and some restaurants/clubs will reject it. That’s ok. There are plenty of better places and they really don’t know what they are missing. I once sang Mercy Me’s “I Can Only Imagine” at a grubby karaoke night bowling alley. It was very well received. Even the rough and tumble bartender had tears in his eyes. Jesus was repeatedly rejected and mocked so nothing ever goes without resistance, at least the truly important stuff.
Playing on a volunteer basis will help build confidence and assist you in finding your “niche”. That’s why I call the “above” a partial list. I’m sure there are some other opportunities yet to be determined.
In the future I would like to provide more details on how to plan for these various shows and what they entail.