Well landing that big time, or even just a full time gig can be a combination of hard work, time, patience, and being in the right place at the right time. Sometimes the best way to be in the right place at the right time is taking gigs you might not otherwise prefer, but will lead to exposure.
For example, if you are playing in a cover band you may get to play venues that your original band hopes to play. Through playing there in the cover band you may be able to make the connections to make that happen. Also, the more gigs you do, the more experience you get overall. This leads to more confidence behind the kit. If you have gotten to play a venue a few times you will know what to expect in terms of the gear needed, the sound/monitor situation, the venue's food/drink policies, and even the parking. All good things to keep in mind as the drummer is usually the musician with the most gear to set up and tear down in a short amount of time.
Then, of course, there is the exposure of your playing to other musicians and bands. And believe me, the other bands are always watching. If there is any chance that a band is in need of a drummer they will be looking to score a drummer from another band as they are already out and playing, and they can already see what you sound and look like. Depending on the situation be sure to have business cards or just your contact info ready in case you are approached by another band.
In many cases you may get a gig by recommendation by another drummer so make sure to keep your inner circle of musicians aware of what you are up to and if you are available for gigs.
Most of my major gigs have been through word of mouth....so get out there and do some talkin'!
(*watch out for an exclusive interview with Feli drum student and world traveling drummer, Greg Winsper of punk band Reagan Youth this month on FTDRUM247.com for more on this topic!)
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