I'm currently mulling over a question that I'd like an answer for, and I wanted the site's opinion on whether it would be considered a good, on-topic question for the Music stack exchange.

As a starting independent musician, I'm at the stage that I have enough material and (I believe) talent to start considering playing specific engagements. So, I'm sitting in the audience, I'm watching somebody playing for an hour and a half at a coffee shop, and I want to know how to cross that gap and play on the stage. I presume there's a good deal of bedside manner and professional courtesy that goes into speaking with the owner of the venue, and showing up without any of it will make me look more amateurish than my music ever could, but I have no clue what that is and want to ask what the expected method is for planning a starting gig.

Problem is, I can think of a lot of pros and cons to this question on this site, and I'm unsure if it would be a good fit.

The pros:

This is a necessary question for almost every starting musician, and this community is bursting at the seams with experience, from producers, musicians, bar owners, and everything in-between. I have no doubt the question will get fantastic answers that would do a lot of good for a lot of people.

It's not explicitly off-topic. There's nothing inherently legal about my question, it's explicitly applicable to musicians, it's as answerable as any other advice-seeking question on this site.

We have more isolated questions dealing with specific types of pre- and post-gig advice, and a few dealing with the importance of gigs in general. For all I know, my question is already answered somewhere and if so I'd be happy to delete this question.

Pay-to-Play Gigs

Preparing for my first jazz gig

How to make a career out of music?

The cons:

Any way you cut it, this is barely a music question. It's essential for musicians to know how to interact with professionals, but the question doesn't have anything to do with music itself. In a strictly academic sense, it's probably an IPS or Workplace question more than a music question, but I would bet good money that those sites wouldn't be tolerant of this either, given Workplace's heavy IT slant and IPS' explicit desire to keep away from IPS problems with extremely narrow non-interpersonal components.

Even if it's not explicitly off-topic, it's not on-topic either. At absolute best, it could be tied to a performance-based question, but it's pretty cleanly divorced from the actual musical performance. Maybe that hasn't stopped other questions before, but I'd hate to pollute the site any further.

It's broad. Again, hasn't stopped questions in the past and I know this site has a higher tolerance for that than some, but I still don't want to push that goodwill.

So, I'm open to input on this. Does this sound like a good topic to ask about, or would the community prefer I take this question elsewhere?

1 Answer 1


I don't think that this sort of question is necessarily off-topic. There are lots of related questions here, e.g. the questions linked above in this question.

I do think that you need to be careful about asking questions that are overly broad. For me (and I know that this isn't the complete statement of your question), a question like "How can I find/book small gigs?" is too broad. I would suggest trying to find ways to focus on more specific questions, yet I am not sure exactly what those questions would look like in this case.

But, if you make a genuine effort to articulate an on-topic question and post that question, the community will let you know if they agree. At worst the question will be put on hold, and you will have a chance to edit the question and improve it.

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