Advice from Jazz Professionals From Behind The Scenes of the How to Make a Living in Jazz Documentary

If you’re already in the jazz community, you’re sure to have heard about the upcoming jazz documentary, How to Make a Living in Jazz. This forward-thinking docufilm investigates jazz careers, from the young musicians just starting out, to the older jazz professionals, and aims to discover how to make it in the music industry in this 15 minute of fame style world! Needless to say, we’re learning a lot. Today, we’re sharing with you the top tips of how to make a living in jazz from the jazz professionals who have been there and done it!


All jazz professionals involved in the powerful documentary have highlighted the sheer importance of networking. From playing an active role in your education, asking teachers of scholarships and reputation-building opportunities, to making yourself available to meet and play with local bands and orchestras, networking is key to getting work in jazz.

Connect with Your Audience

Many professionals within the jazz industry also highlighted the importance of being able to talk to an audience. Music is incredible but connection with the audience is key, especially if you want to be remembered. Managing Director of Ronnie Scott’s, Simon Cooke, shed some light on the lessons and courses available to people to learn this valuable skill whilst jazz singer Iain Mackenzie discusses the importance of a resonating image such as Miles Davis playing with his back to the audience and Sia’s anonymous silhouette. The latter types might be best in the studio while the former will receive more live opportunities.

Tips for Getting Booked!

The key to getting booked, according to our professionals, is showing your personality within your music and performance. Jazz musician and Artistic Director of Ronnie Scott’s, James Pearson implores musicians to remember that audiences listen with their eyes so you must put on a show and have fun. Similarly, Iain Mackenzie advises you to work on your banter and present yourself comfortably.

Find out more in our upcoming documentary, How to Make a Living in Jazz, coming Spring 2020! See the trailers and behind the scenes snippets now at