Friday, April 10, 2009


How many professional musicians have you met or worked with? And how many of them did you get a business card from? And how many of those people have you spoken to recently? Every professional contact that you make is a potential doorway to future gigs. It goes without saying that you should always play your best and behave professionally on every gig, but once you have made a good impression on someone by performing well, it is a shame to let that door close by failing to exchange contact info. If you are afraid that offering your card to someone will make you seem too pushy, then simply compliment the other musicians at the end of the gig and ask for their cards. Invariably, they will ask for your card in return. I am constantly amazed by how few musicians carry business cards with them to gigs. Don't they want more work?

If you collect contacts regularly in this way, over time you will accumulate quite a large list of phone numbers. The music business really has no formal, civilized method for job placement, so these informal contacts are the primary way in which we get work. Therefore, your contact list is one of your most precious assets, and you should back it up periodically just as you do with critical computer data. Don't keep phone numbers only in your cell phone! One laundry mishap, and your whole network could be washed away.

Merely having a list of phone numbers won't guarantee you steady gigs, however. The busiest and most successful musicians I know all regularly tend their network like a garden. I have one busy friend with hundreds of contacts, and he has a policy of calling every person on his list at least once every six months just to say hello (and incidentally remind them of his existence). It's no coincidence that he works constantly, and has great relations with everybody he knows.

Other classic networking strategies include going out to see live music regularly, maintaining a content rich and up to date web site of your own, and of course, using social networking sites like You do have at least a MySpace Music page with quality demo songs on it, don't you? Other great places to meet musicians and build your network are retail music stores and music schools. Networking is much easier these days thanks to the Internet and modern technology. It still requires an investment of time and effort, but making that effort may have a greater impact on your career than anything else you can do.

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