OnlineRock: Empowering Musicians  

The Art of Networking

I suppose it is possible to become a successful musician entirely on your own. To teach yourself how to play an instrument, write songs and learn all you need to know about sound engineering without ever leaving the comfort of your home studio. Then again, it is always possible to win the lottery !

But if you are trying to have a career in music without the help and input of others then, you’ll find less success than those who scratch their lotto tickets will. If you truly wish to have a career in music, you have to use any and all tools at your disposal. A musicians biggest asset (or liability as the case may be) is himself. A musicians drive, determination and zeal are just as important as talent. And a musician who knows this and harnesses this energy in pursuit of a career puts him or herself directly on the path to success.

So, if you’re driven enough to produce your own music in the first place, and you’re determined enough to perform for the largest possible audience, then network ! This oft-ridiculed term is a very useful means of advancing your career and will get you a lot further than you realize. As you begin to build up a "network" of music-related acquaintances, you develop a pool of expertise from which you can draw. You’ll soon have other musicians to play with, and key contacts in clubs , music stores , recording studios and promotional organizations. These are the people who can help you all the way from forming your own band to getting gigs ,equipment and record company contacts.

All this is achieved by " hanging out" and participating in your local music scene. It only requires time and socializing, a small price to pay when you consider the upside potential. For example, if there are clubs that you would like to play in, go hang out when local bands are playing. Talk to some of the guys that are playing that night to find out who books the acts and go find that person to ask about their booking policies and how much they pay, etc. When you play in a club, don’t just show up, play your set and leave. Instead, come early and hang out and talk to some of the other musicians that are playing that night; buddy up with the sound man (if the house runs the sound), chat up the bartenders and the owners. In general, make yourself a presence that people will remember! And be sure to make a mental note for anyone you think can be helpful to you. Inevitably, you will make new friends who could prove invaluable in future musical pursuits.

If you are looking for other musicians to play with, a good place to hang is a rehearsal facility. Also, music stores are great places to meet other players . Find out about any events where musicians will be and be there , too. And if any clubs in your area have "open mike" nights, these are great forums for meeting and playing with other musicians.

No, networking is not a dirty word or just a bunch of computers hooked up to each other. It is simply a way to develop relationships with helpful and influential people, and, if you are serious about a career in music, leave no stone unturned in your pursuit of it!

Stay Tuned,

The Virtual Musician

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