build trust

Why do you want to build trust?

Because word of mouth is EVERYTHING in the music field!  This fact can either be good, or it can be bad.  The determining factor is YOU.

In another post (How to Meet Musicians), I wrote about how to network with other musicians.  However, meeting them is only half of the battle.  Getting them to like and trust you is a completely different battle.  Here are some practical things that you can avoid doing to help increase your likability and build trust.



This is probably the most obvious thing that you should avoid doing.  Always leave with more than enough time to get to a gig.  Unfortunately, there are times when things happen that are out of your control, and you are running late.  What do you do?  Call the contractor for the gig, and let them know.  Even though they may not like the fact that you are late, it will help to build trust.



The reality is that contractors are trying to fill spots for gigs quickly, and the first person that they are going to call is the one that will say “yes” the quickest.  It does not matter how well you play your instrument.  If you cannot return voicemails to contractors quickly, they will stop calling you.



Like it or not, your first impression is everything, and you only get one opportunity to make that impression.  Most rehearsal environments are fairly casual, but when you are new to a performance venue, always dress a little nicer than you need.  If you notice that you are overdressed, then you can come back to the next rehearsal dressed more casually.  However, being underdressed can put a bad taste in people’s mouths about you.



I had a horn player that I hired for a gig recently who was guilty of this.  He was a great player, but in our first conversation, he made some very inappropriate jokes.  The reality was that this was the first time I had ever met him, and those jokes were my first impression of him.  Be conservative with your choice of conversation topics, because it is easy to offend people you do not know.



Unfortunately, many musicians think too much about the money that they are getting paid and too little about the quality of job that they are doing.  Even if they play well, a negative attitude can still ruin the quality of the job.  Make sure to appreciate any opportunity that comes your way, and don’t forget to smile!



The number one quality that I look for in a musician is intuition.  I want to perform with someone that can make adjustments quickly, play confidently, and never freak out when things go wrong (and they will!).  The best thing to remember is to keep your eyes open for visual cues and clues, and keep your ears open for any “on the fly” musical adjustments.  Thinking on your feet will help to build trust with the other musicians with whom you will perform.



The inability to match with your surroundings shows other musicians that you have an underdeveloped ear.  ALWAYS make adjustments to fit into the group better.  Listen, listen, listen, and match, match, match!


Question:  Do you have any good stories about blunders on the job?  What advice do you have to build trust?


Photo by Victor1558. Used under Creative Commons License.

  • Mike Diver

    Suzie and I listen to quite a bit of live music. In general the best shows start on time and have artists who make us feel like we are part of the music. Many of the musicians become friends. The people in the audience that are going to buy what your selling really want a person along with the music so when your set is done be bold and friendly.

    Given a chance wander through the crowd and if someone says great show say something!

    • Michael Attaway

      Great advice!

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