As a freelancing musician, yes, I always strive to be the best player on my instrument but, a lot of the time, in order to get that next gig, it’s going to be more about WHO I KNOW.
At all points in my career in music, finding ways to grow and nourish my network is crucial. Virtual relationships (i.e. on social media) and actual ones (i.e. in-person) are equally important to me, and relationship-building is something that I blend on those two fronts. Having a meal or a drink, or a walk with an old musician buddy usually does the trick to keep the relationship thriving and relevant. PRO TIP: Ask your buddy what she or he has been doing lately and share industry insider information with them. These kinds of sharing conversations are less selfish (i.e. “me me”) and more about “how can we help each other?”. I find these conversations to be a good use of time and often a lot of fun.
Additionally, as a musician, I often have little time and money on hand, so I must be judicious in which opportunities and connections to pursue. Sometimes a gig is far away and doesn’t pay much but it still pays a bill; and sometimes the gig doesn’t pay at all, and takes up a lot of time but is good exposure. Only with experience, have I learned what the right balance is for my career.
Staying visible to others in my network, showing up at others’ events, posting about recent performances/events, and being active as a working musician (e.g. performer, teacher, administrator), are all great ways for me to stay on contractor’s A-lists, and on the minds of colleagues who are most-likely to recommend me for the next gig.
For advice on how to build your professional network, or on how to build a career in music, please feel free to contact me. Thanks, Michael