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ASU School of Music launches gig referral system

Music students performing at a gig.

March 27, 2019

The Arizona State University School of Music in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts has announced a new online gig referral system designed to connect community members who are seeking musicians for events with undergraduate and graduate music majors and minors who are looking for paying gigs.

Samuel Peña, community engagement coordinator in the School of Music, works with students and community members on collaborative projects and said that during project discussions, students frequently ask him to help them find paying engagements. At the same time, the School of Music also receives many phone calls from community members looking to hire musicians. The online gig referral system facilitates communication between the two groups directly.

The system allows students to locate potential gig opportunities in different types of venues, provides real-world experiences, helps students develop negotiation skills and gives students opportunities to build or to continue their careers as professional musicians.

“Our students have a strong desire to play music, and we want our students to see themselves as professional musicians and value themselves in the overall music ecosystem,” Peña said. “Our students are learning how to market themselves, how to present their music and how to build a successful freelance music career at the same time they are learning about the local music ecosystem, musician etiquette and standard pay scales for hiring musicians.”

Peña collaborated with the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts information technology team to create the new online system, which uses available website technology to streamline the communications, expediting the process and making it very clear and simple to use.

To use the gig referral system, community members looking for musicians to play an event or gig will log in and create an event listing. Students can search for all events or use filters to narrow options. Once the student locates an event, they can contact the community member about the gig through the information provided. All negotiations are between the student and the community member. There is also contact information on the gig referral website that provides community members with a phone number and email if they have further questions.

Peña said he hopes community members discover that by using the gig referral system, they are not only getting great musicians but also building a collaborative relationship with partners for future possibilities.

“We want to create further touch points in the community where we can create deeper engagement and mutually beneficial relationships,” said Peña. “If our students are doing a great job at a gig, or participating in our community engagement classes, they can use the time before, during or after the gig to talk with the community member and learn about needs or interests in other types of projects that would involve our students.”

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