Networking is an essential part of every musician’s job, whether you want to be a professional or you simply want to have a few gigs on the weekend. When you network, you make connections that can help you for your entire musical career, and you’ll get a few great friends, too.
Some musicians find it very difficult to network, but you’ll need to get over that if you want to play at a venue or a bar. Here are a few tips to help musicians learn how to network with other musicians, venue owners, and booking agents successfully.
Get good at remembering names. One of the best ways to endear yourself to people is to remember their names. I used to have a big problem with this, because like many people I don’t think about names too often-I think about faces instead. Remembering names can be easy, though, if you simply use a pneumonic device or think of something exceptionally odd when you first meet a person. If a guy introduces himself to me as John, I’ll immediately picture him sitting on a toilet. Hey, it’s not always pretty, but it works. Musicians need to make a good first impression, and remembering names is an easy way to do this.
Be friendly and approachable. Some musicians aren’t too friendly, and more often than not, these musicians don’t go anywhere in their careers. You’ve got to at least fake friendliness. Listen to other musicians when you’re networking, and ask them questions about what they’re doing.
However, you shouldn’t only ask questions. Sometimes, when I network with musicians, they’ll try to be friendly by asking about my music endlessly. After a minute or two, I’ve said all that I really want to say about how I write songs and the like. The point is to keep things conversational. Be approachable, talk to everyone that you can at every gig and open mic night, and you’ll have more fun and find more gigs from your networking efforts.
You get what you give. Music networking is all about offering shows and other services to one another. If you can record musicians at your home studio, offer to do it for free if you hear someone that you like. If a gig comes up and you can’t play it, offer it to a musician that you’ve networked with. You get what you give in the music business, so do whatever you can to help your fellow musicians and venue owners. This is the most successful way to network, and you’ll end up earning great, high-quality shows on a regular basis.
Do you have any other tips for networking with musicians? Post in our comments section below.