For many singer/songwriters and bands, the biggest initial challenge is breaking into their city’s music scene. When there are hundreds of other “competing” musicians, it’s extremely difficult to make a name for yourself. This is why it is so important to be connected to an organization(s) that already has established connections.
Why Get Involved?
Why not? Most cities have some type of association for local musicians. For example, Baltimore has its Baltimore Songwriters Association, and New Orleans has its Indie Rock Collective. Do a simple online search to see what’s in your city. Membership for most of these organizations are usually free and they exist solely to futher the music culture in any particular city. They often offer showcases, music workshops, compilation CDs…etc. They pass on opportunities that you might not have found out on your own; and most importantly these orgs are perfect for networking.
“AcoustiCafe is a Pittsburgh non-profit that is passionate about creating connections between local and touring musicians, venues, and fans. Since its inception, AcoustiCafe has been a driving force behind cultivating a much-needed music community in the Pittsburgh-metro area. Not only has it provided a platform of exposure through reputable venues, events, and organizations, but it provides consistent opportunities for networking through open stages, sponsored showcases, and featured events. “
AcoustiCafe relaunched in January 2008 and has grown leaps and bounds in the last 18 months. This year, because of its growing presence in Pittsburgh, AC was offered a stage at Pittsburgh largest Art Festival – The Three Rivers Art Festival. They will be showcasing Pittsburgh artists on June 6, 7, 13, and 14. AcoustiCafe drew its artist lineup directly from musicians who attend their open mics and are actively involved in furthering their cause.
Don’t Use People
Don’t get involved in something just so you can get something out of it. It doesn’t pay off! When people see that you only want to take and not give of your time (or skills), you won’t be anyone’s favorite person. Be willing to help plan events in conjunction with your local music collective. Even if you’re not playing, be willing to attend showscases, open mics, workshops…and try to pass on the information to your fellow musicians. When everybody’s helping everybody, you all get alot more accomplished. This is a fact.
Don’t Have Something in Your City? Start It?
It doesn’t have to be a huge endeavor. You can simply put together an email list or facebook group of local musicians and shoot them emails anytime you hear about a workshop, gig, or event that’s worth sharing.
Here are some other blogs on Networking. And if you know of Collectives/Organizations/Associations in your city, please post them below…as well as a link where people can find more information.