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Re: Percussionists interested in being BDs: Which gig should they apply for first?
IMO, once you get a job as a "percussion specialist" that's pretty much your career track. The longer you spend off a podium, especially just out of school, the harder it is to get back on one.
A percussionist wanting to be a BD should strongly consider taking a small school job for their first gig. You really get brushed up on instrumental pedagogy there since there's no one else to teach.