How I've Made Music My Full-Time Gig
I loved Denver, but, after three years, I still missed my Midwestern roots. As I brainstormed places to move, the Twin Cities kept coming to the top of the list. I already had an established social network there of friends, my godchildren and my sister, and Minneapolis-St. Paul was a drivable distance to my hometown of Minot, ND.
I knew it would be a challenge to re-establish myself musically, but I also knew I could take the lessons I learned in Denver and apply them to a new location. In May 2016, I made the move to St. Paul, MN.
True to form, I began my new journey at a jam session. A friend of a friend who was playing there introduced me to the other musicians in the group. The first thing they mentioned was playing in cover bands, which was no longer intimidating for me.
Soon I started subbing in cover bands for a couple of the keyboard players I had met that night. However, when I was approached to join a band full-time, I realized that I was getting a bit burnt out and wanting to play more of my own music. Nevertheless, the cover bands proved to be valuable for networking, and it wasn’t long before I was getting asked to do other gigs through their recommendations. And I do still enjoy subbing in cover bands a couple times a month.
I wanted to play more solo gigs, so I started advertising on some event sites and found myself playing for weddings, corporate parties and private events. Event gigs tend to come in waves – weddings in the summer, holiday parties in the winter – so I knew some other steady income would be helpful.
From my experience teaching a few piano students in Denver, I started to find piano students and started teaching in my new home. I also enjoyed my first experience working as musical director at a small church in Denver, so after applying for a few jobs in the Twin Cities, I was hired to be the part-time music director at a great church in Bloomington, MN. More about these experiences to come in future posts.
In addition to all these musical opportunities and income streams, some new avenues would open up, which would bring me to unexpected places, including the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport.
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Nate Hance is a professional pianist, entertainer and composer living in St. Paul, MN. He grew up in Minot, ND but has traveled around the world playing music. You can listen to the six albums that he has written as well as check out his goofy music videos on YouTube