Networking for Musicians: How to Get Started

So now you get it:  networking is the way to go if you want to expand your reach and create opportunities that can lead you to career success based on a mutual exchange of information, resources and contacts. You understand that networking is about connecting with, sharing and being relevant to others.  You have your Elevator Speech.  You are eager to meet people who can share their experiences with you and with whom you can relate what you know about the world of music.

So who are these people?

And what’s the first step in laying the groundwork for successful networking?

Start by thinking strategically about the people that YOU want to connect with.

In my various workshops this spring, these are the types of people that musicians are eager to connect with:

Starting with the music industry, musicians and composers alike cited
•    Fellow performers           
•    Experienced artists and musicians
•    Conductors               
•    Orchestra Managers           
•    Artist Managers           
•    Presenters
•    Music educators
•    Board members of arts organizations
•    Audience members
•    Critics and journalists
•    Publishers

It is also helpful to network with people outside the music industry who might have valuable knowledge and skills.  Examples include (and the list is almost endless)
•    Internet professionals
•    Graphic designers
•    Photographers
•    Lawyers
•    Bankers
•    Software designers
•    Educators

Once you have identified the categories of people whom you would like to meet, start making a list of everyone you know who fits into that category or you can introduce you to someone whom you are eager to connect with.  Networking is definitely a process of “degrees of separation”!

Start with Family and Friends.  They will be your best initial supporters since they know you and they want you to succeed.  

Then be sure to incude:
•    Mentors
•    Coaches
•    Collaborators
•    Your friends’ parents
•    Your parents’ friends
•    Members of audiences where you have performed
•    Your neighbors
•    Classmates
•    Anyone whom you have ever met who is interested in music. 
•    People whom you have met when you have performed.
•    Organizations where you performed or where you taught or where you worked or interned
•    Festivals
•    Conferences
•    Non-profits where you work or volunteer
•    Anyone who has ever hired you

Think broadly about your “friends”.  Don’t be shy about reaching out to people whom you have lost touch with.  The Internet and social media are great ways to reconnect. 

Organize your contacts into a database or an excel spreadsheet, including first and last name, email address, phone number, street address and a note on how you met this person.  Every time you meet someone new, add him or her into your list.

Before you know it, your network will begin to grow and you will enjoy the benefits of the process of connecting, sharing and being relevant to the people YOU want to know!