I found that about 98 percent of my growth as a musician has come from attending, booking, and playing shows. The other 2 percent has been practice, spending time recording and working on new ideas.
A show is the quintessential part of the music that binds everything together and is the very reason why music still continues to thrive regardless of it's setting.
There are three main benefits to being a part of the show experience as a musician. Here is a high level explanation on why attending, playing and booking shows will always be a rewarding and motivating experience to you.
No matter where you come from in music, attending shows allows you to find and expand your network of musicians. Some of my better friends are from playing shows, every person I have ever played music with on every one of my records comes from attending shows. No matter how old, young or inexperienced you are, you will find comfort in attending a show, just make sure you find the show that is for you and be sure to always support your friends. Think of shows as a never ending resource to finding everything you need. Can't find people to play with? Go to a show. Can't find someone to book you shows? Go to a show. Can't find someone to record you? Go to a show. In the end of the day, it all adds up to going to a show.
Get off the computer, stop writing emails and messages to people on Facebook to hear your music and get your a$$ out on a stage. It doesn't matter what kind of show you play, DIY, punk, basement, bar, 21+ the only way anyone will ever get to relate to you is if you get to play in front of them. You can pay for all the ads you want and pay all the publicists, the only way you can get known is to play a show and play a damn good show. Make sure you get better, leave town, get in the car, van, bus or bike and spread the word. I always view playing a show as a way of spreading your message. You aren't only making people entertained, you are connecting with them on a personal message and telling your story. As much as this is a business, this is the most personal and artistic thing a person can do. Don't just hide behind a computer trying to be the next thing, show people that you are living the pain that you wrote about. Make a new friend, and don't be afraid to make new friends, people don't take face to face interactions for granted, especially in this day and age.
In addition to connecting to people, make sure to make sure your shows something that makes people feel that they are being a part of something more than "just another local show." Make an event out of it, make the show a charity show, add a liquor sponsor, play different kinds of shows. Add a theme. When you are able to add a spin to a show, you give people more of a reason to want to remember you.
When you are able to book a show whether it be for local bands or touring bands, its your way of saying " I am thinking about more than just myself, I want other people to succeed." Whether you own a house or not, always make sure that somewhere along your path you are booking shows. People who book shows are the very foundation of why music of all forms still has a home.
If you are playing shows, but you aren't attending or booking shows, you are doing something wrong. Make sure that as a musician that you are always doing one of these three while still sticking to your mission as an artist. These three things are the very meat and potatoes of being able to spread your word on the most personal level. Without being able to attend, book or play a show, then you are just a troll on the internet sending links.
Spread the word and Happy August.