Be a ship musician!

March 16th, 2012

e are all told at one point in our lives that we possess certain gifts. Whether it is in the arts, sciences, business or humanities, we all have an instinct or natural proclivity towards something. If you’re reading this, you most likely have a proclivity for music. You’ve spent years honing your skills to a level that you and others (mainly teachers and peers) deem as praiseworthy and your main goal, your modus operandi, is to channel your passion towards an audience that will appreciate your talent.  That is the main reason why many of us aspire to play in big bands and jazz orchestras in the first place.  However, it becomes rather easy to lose hope when opportunity does not present itself at your door. Some of us fear taking the plunge and taking opportunity that requires small sacrifices. This is usually the case when accepting a gig on a cruise ship. We set sail for months and leave everything behind. We disconnect from what we know as home and friends for a life that we are not familiar with. But the fact remains that music is meant to be shared. Read the rest of this entry »

Time Of My Life

May 23rd, 2011

Throughout my career as founder of Proship Entertainment, I’ve been asked countless of times: “Did you ever worked on ships yourself?”  The answer is: yes and I had the time of my life.  In fact I had so much fun, I started this company whilst onboard my first vessel, in cabin CW-8 of the SS Amerikanis.  During the two-day crossings between New York City and St-Georges in Bermuda, I was able to borrow the purser’s typewriter to put together our company’s first agreements, procedures and correspondence. Read the rest of this entry »

You’ve gotta have styles…

April 13th, 2011

Looking for a nice, challenging gig onboard Cruise Ships? There are lots of opportunities for musicians. But, before you join on that fabulous adventure of Cruising around the World, there is one thing among others that’s very important to master to have a successful start in this industry.

For those who are just finishing school and looking to get started on your musical career, it is very important to have a good understanding of Latin Dance Styles; the most popular being played onboard ships are the Bossa Nova, Samba, Cha-Cha, Rumba. Although the music perform onboard is getting more pop oriented, in many occasions you will be asked to perform Ballroom Dancing sets. Depending on which instruments you are playing, knowing the right rhythms, tempos, comping, bass lines for each of those latin styles mentioned above is most important. It might actually be the first things that you would play when joining a ship. Being well prepare will give a good first impression to the Band Leader.

What follows are the most common Ballroom dancing styles and others that you’ll likely be performing onboard ships: Bossa Nova, Samba, Cha-Cha, Rumba, Swing, Slow Waltz, Viennese Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, Paso Doble, Jive, etc  There are plenty of videos examples on YouTube to get started. Just do a search and start shedding.

Patrice Duchemin, Account Manager

I will never forget the first time I saw a cruise ship.

April 7th, 2011

I was 15 years old and the PEI Symphony Orchestra was playing at the PEI Confederation Center of the Arts, which is just a few blocks away from the Charlottetown harbour.Charlottetown_quay

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Here is what a guitar player should know …

March 30th, 2011

… about a Show band gig on a modern cruise ship:

First off, you have to posses excellent sight reading skills; every day you will be called upon to read different charts in many different styles.  Usually you will see the charts for the first time at rehearsal, which is only a few hours before the actual show, thus making it imperative to nail it on the spot.  If you do struggle with one or more charts, you may have the time to practice them before “Showtime”.

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How to Prepare yourself, musically, for a Showband gig onboard a cruise ship

February 14th, 2011

So, you’ve heard about ships from a friend, or maybe seen something online, and think you want to give it a shot. Perhaps you are asking yourself, “What type of music would I be playing, exactly? I mean, I’m going to be playing endless choruses of The Girl from Ipanema, while sipping piña coladas by the pool, how do you prepare for that, anyway?” Don’t kid yourself, playing as member of a showband on a ship is a challenging job for many musicians. Based on my own experiences, I will try to give you an idea of what you might actually be doing onboard a ship, and what kind of things to work on to prepare yourself for the gig. Read the rest of this entry »

“I wish I’d known … we could have had lunch”

January 21st, 2011

So, life has moved on a bit since I did my first cruise gig… I’ll spare you the Paulo Nonnis “He was the Cruise Director on the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria” gag, but I can tell you, we did line up at a table outside the port agent’s office to get our “letter from home” every Sydney turnaround day. In those days it was “snail mail” unless it was really bad news, then you got a telex. The only way to make a phone call home was to book an appointment time at the post office. As I said, life has moved on quite a bit since those days.

Staying in communication was one of the biggest fears about working on ships all around the world. “Man, you’ll go there for 6 months, everyone here will forget about you, you’ll lose all your contacts and you’ll have no gigs when you get back.” Read the rest of this entry »