Blog #33
Blog #33: Career of the week

Over the 4th term we are going to try something a little different.  We are going to explore the different careers/jobs that go into putting on a concert.  We are going to look at a medium sized venue, such as the Anthem, Howard Theatre, or Lincoln Theatre.  Most of these jobs still apply to small clubs or arena/stadium shows, but vary depending on need and with the number of people attending.  Unlike past weeks, we will not be giving as in depth of a view of each job, but giving a synopsis of what each person does to make the show work.  

During The Show

During the Show

Once the lights go down and the audience takes their seats, the show is set to begin. The main event is the band, but it several different roles to create a performance.  


Band/Performers$17K-$1M+ per year

The bands job is simple (simple, not easy), they come out when it is time to perform and they perform.  They generally have a previously decided on set list of songs and the order that they will perform them in.  They execute their performance as best as possible, and unlike in the studio setting, have to bring energy to the stage to get the audience engaged and involved.  In between songs, they either vamp interludes (music that connects one song to the next) or talk to the crowd and fill the time.  During this time, any equipment changes (guitarists like to use different guitars for different songs, others might need to adjust their set up, or the volume of their amps), and when everyone is set up they start again.  Usually the whole performance consists of about an hour of music.  It is important that the pacing of the show starts strong, maybe brings it down in the middle or a few times with slower songs, and ends strong.  If the audience is really feeling it, they can try to get the band to come back out at the end for an "encore" by keeping the cheering going for an extended period of time and the band might come back out and perform one more song.  The performers need to be consistent with their execution, have stage presence and performance quality to engage the audience, be able to communicate with each other, and be able to turn it all on for a short but intense burst.  


Security$10-$20 per hour

Security continues to do their job of keeping everyone where they are supposed to be, but during the show, some of the security must stand at the front of the stage to create a barrier between the audience and the performers.  Especially for larger performances, more people mean that some people might try to get on stage, or cause problems, so they need to watch the audience and act if anything goes wrong.  They need to be quick thinking, strong, and attentive to make sure nothing gets out of hand. 


Lighting/Audio Technician$50k-68k per year

During the show, the lighting and audio team have to perform just like the musicians do.  They have cues that go along with the music and need to make sure the performers sound and look their best.  For each song, there are pre-determined setups on their equipment where they must press a button or engage something to put all of the audio/lighting equipment at the correct levels.  In many ways, they are an extension of the performers, adding color and mix to the performance, yet if they do their job perfectly, the audience won't even notice them at all, because they can just enjoy the overall experience.  To do this job, you need to have good timing, be organized, know how to interact with the technology, and be quick on your feet in case anything goes wrong either with the performers or with the equipment.


Stage Manager$29k-67k per year

The stage manager is like the conductor of an orchestra.  They work behind the scenes on a headset to make sure everyone is where they need to be, doing what they need to be doing when they need to do it.  They communicate with all of the technicians, the venue staff, the band, and the concert hall manager to ensure that everything goes according to plan.  If something comes up unexpectedly, they are the first to know and they devise a plan to fix it.  They at times can be like a producer on a tv show, giving cues, checking or adjusting settings with the lighting/audio technicians based on the venue, and making sure everything that can go right, does.  To be a stage manager, you need to have musical knowledge, be a good director of people, and be a problem solver.

Instrument technicians$35k-79k per year

The instrument technicians are the performers right hand man/woman.  They are behind the scenes tuning guitars, removing or adjusting instruments covertly, and doing all of the small tasks that make the show run so that the performers don't have to.  If something with the equipment breaks (like a drum head/stick, guitar string, wire of some sort) they are there to replace it, take it off stage, fix it, and return it.  They are essential to making a performance run smoothly, and in the event that nothing goes wrong, they get a front row seat to the show.  To be an instrument technician, you need to have a great deal of knowledge on the instrument that you are working with, be quick on your feet, and work well with the band/performers.

Click this link to respond to the questions below

Which of the jobs above seem the most enjoyable to you? 

Which of the jobs above seem the hardest to you? Why?