Getting Started in a Music Career

Getting started in the music business can be daunting. Maybe, you live in a small village in an area that has very limited music opportunities. Maybe, you are also working at a fast food restaurant to pay your bills. Every day on the job is spent working with non-musicians. Any connection with the music business and other musicians is very limited. Or maybe, you live in a major city where there is an active music business. But, competition is fierce and you don’t any idea where to begin.
So, what to do? Is all lost? No not at all, actually, the situation is not all bad news. There are several available options that can be used to get our young friend started on a career path.
The usual opportunities need to be used as much as possible: take lessons from a professional; take classes at the local college/university; join local musician associations/unions. Today, success will require that you have more knowledge and business understanding to effectively plan your music career.
The world has changed dramatically in the past 5 to 10 years. Today’s cyber world provides many opportunities that just were not possible a short time ago. That progress has raised the requirements for everyone. Today, you can have presence on FaceBook, Linkedin and other social media groups designed for musicians. You can take classes and lessons on-line from accredited colleges/university. You can also join on-line forums and groups to network with other jazz musicians -all without quitting his job or moving to a large city. Using social networks to promote your music career is not optional, it is necessary.
Is the on-line experience the same as being there, face to face with other musicians? No, it is not, but not being the same does not automatically equal “less than”. Being face to face with other musicians is meaningless, if there is not any meaningful interaction. Being a passive participant is not productive. On-line or face to face , there must be interaction. sharing, asking questions, learning or teaching are all active activities. Lurking on-line instead of actively interacting will far less productive but, most importantly, active participation means that your name will become familiar to other members of the forum or group – THIS IS IMPORTANT.
Success will depend upon having a well thought out plan. Everyone needs a good plan to guide their music career and that plan should be created with clearly defined goals aimed at the desired career. There are many on-line resources available to help anyone to develop goals, plans and long term business plans. Selecting the most effective forums, chat rooms and classes will take some research and thought. Referrals from other musicians will be the best source for information. If possible, check the membership lists to see who are members.
Building a network is one of the more important tasks, you will need to do for success. This is a significant requirement. You must know and be known by other musicians if you want to be called for gigs Seems self-evident doesn’t it? But, many people try to create careers by themselves without letting other more experienced musicians provide some helpful advice. First, you need to let them know that you want to join them in the music business.
Here are some strategies for building a network: Building a network will be easy on social media sites such as Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter. Pick some major “shakers and movers” to follow and hopefully befriend and start interacting with each other. Find a Mastermind group in your area and join it. Do an internet search for groups or clubs in your area. Subscribe to the local newspaper to find concerts, lectures etc. Place an ad on Craigslist asking for information about nearby meetings, conferences etc. that would be of interest. Join National associations. Most importantly, look at the current situation, make a plan to improve your situation and then put the plan to work. Don’t wait, fix and adjust as you go. Ask questions, revise plans and work at your plans every day – success will follow. Good Luck! оптимизация сайта поисковых системахtopod.inпродвижение в москве

2 thoughts on “Getting Started in a Music Career”

  1. These are very useful ideas to those who are looking toward a career in music. The positive social networking with others in the profession is a powerful took that is used by every profession to learn, growth, get connected to, and advance in a career. The social networking phenomena has had a powerful impact on the ability to maintain relationships with people hundreds or thousands of miles away. Use of social media as well as face-to-face contacts I would think would be of tremendous value to someone who is developing a career pathway, if there is a clear plan that drives it.

    I think David’s emphasis on having a plan from the start is incredibly important. Beginning with the end in mind… clearly in mind… is vey applicable to developing a career pathway in any profession. Knowing where you want to end up and knowing, in advance, how you want people in the same profession to view you are incredibly important on this journey. Knowing where you want to end up and making some objectives to measure that progress along the way is critical to keeping you on the correct pathway and in making minor adjustments along the way to keep progress on target and as efficient as possible. Knowing how you want to be perceived as you make this journey is equally important. As you move through various stages of professional development and as you live the professional development experiences and interactions with others on a similar pathway, it is always critical to do some self reflection regarding what your personal and professional “Brand” represents. The idea of thinking carefully about the fact that through personal and social media interactions one is continuously defining who they are to others and in fact, just like Kellogs and Budwiser and McDonalds, you are creating a public image of who you are, what you do, and the standards and values you stand for.
    Young musicians have many choices to make as they pursue their careers. Making sure that those decisions align with the brand name they are building and actually contribute to their movement toward their career goals is very important.

    Personal face-to-face networking or networking on social media are essential to developing a career. Having a plan that clear defines the goals and objectives that you plan to achieve along the pathway of your career is incredibly important. And at each step of the way, asking yourself who you are and who you want to be, that is what your brand stands for, is and essential part of that planning process.

    David, you initial message was very valuable. I would love to hear your comments on the issue of the balance between working for next to nothing to get exposure and holding firm to a professional standard that requires reasonable payment for services. Trombonist Clark Gayton in one of his blogs said that it was important to remember that, “Beer does not pay rent.” I believe he elaborated to note that when musicians, particularly young ones, play for nothing or nearly nothing in a club they only have to look around the room to see that the bartender is being paid, the waitress is being paid, event the dish washer and busboys are being paid… why would musicians not be paid. I would love to hear your insights on what young musicians need to think about as they consider offers to let them play at any venue.

    Thanks for you thoughts and experience.

    Bruce Lane

    1. thanks Bruce
      Playing for free is always a hot topic. I tend to agree to agree with the late (and great) fiddle player, Johnny Gimble. He said: “play every time that you get a chance and be lucky.” There is a basic truth in that approach. Waiting for a paying gig can be a long wait if nobody knows who you are and what you can do. Get out there and play – if do well paying gigs will follow.

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