Why should you meet musicians?
In my early years of band, having an “arch enemy” might have been the best thing ever. His name is John, and he knows who he is. Fortunately, we are not enemies anymore, and we have become great friends with great respect for each other! Why was John my “arch enemy?” It’s simple…he beat me at EVERYTHING!
The reason why having John in band with me was the best thing ever was because he pushed me harder than any teacher could. I wanted to beat him in every chair test that I could, and I worked my butt off!
This is a common experience for young musicians. They want to know who is better than whom in their class. Competition is a wonderful thing as long as it doesn’t get out of control, because it creates a fire in the student to succeed and gives them clear goals at which to shoot. The key is to keep the competition healthy.
It is quite dangerous to keep this competitive mindset in the professional freelance world. There is always an element of competition in business, but the goal of a successful freelance musician needs to be how they can help their fellow musician.
Having that same cutthroat competitive nature is one of the quickest ways to stop your career in its tracks. It’s a simple fact that people do business with people they like. If people do not like you, you will not get hired for anything.
One of the most important things that you can do with your freelance career is to market yourself and learn to network with others. It is commonly said in the business world that “your net worth is your network.”
So, how do you meet musicians? Where do you meet them?
The most common place to meet other musicians is through school. Hopefully, you connected with as many other students as possible, because you never know when their contact may help you. You can also meet them at gigs, concerts, festivals or conventions, and through other musicians.
When you meet musicians…
It is very easy to fall into the trap of talking only about music stuff. Granted, it is nice to be able to “talk shop” with someone else, but the most annoying person in music is the person that can only talk about music. Don’t be that person! Learn how to talk about all sorts of things, and ask questions about the other person. That is the quickest way to get them to like you.
The most important thing that you can ever know when networking with others is…
DO NOT COME ACROSS AS ARROGANT!!! It’s easy. How do you do this? Resist the urge to talk about yourself, and when you do, “down play” the great things in your life. The quickest way to endear someone to you is to make a few jokes about yourself.
Ok, you’ve met them…now what?
File away their information under their instrument. I use the Contacts app on Apple devices, so I can recall people quickly. If the opportunity is there, try to hire them for a gig as soon as possible. That will tell them that you valued meeting them, and they will absolutely return the favor. Also, if it isn’t awkward or weird, have coffee with them and get to know them. Never forget that business is about people…not skills.
Make it a goal to see how many other musicians you can help. In the words of Zig Ziglar, “You can have any thing in the world that you want if you first help enough other people get what they want.” Great advice!
Question: How many musicians can you meet this week? Where have been your favorite venues to meet musicians?
Image courtesty of thegoldguys.blogspot.com