How to Make Connections- AdamReifsteck Interview Part 2

The first part of Adam Reifsteck's interview was about his journey as young musician to finding a balance between his work as a composer and as the membership manager of Chamber Music America. This second part delves into the importance of making connections, and how to do that best. 

Geraldine: What types of musicians benefit most from being a part of Chamber Music America? Why should anyone join?
Adam: It goes back to the whole process of collaboration.  What led me to CMA is that desire to help people realize that you’re not out there alone. You need a support system; you need to learn from your colleagues, collaborate with them, come up with projects with them, and see what other people are doing and see where you can fit in and where you can be a part of what they’re doing.

Being a member of CMA allows you to network with other colleagues that are doing the same thing you are, learning from them, and at the same time getting benefits that help you out like listings in our online and printed directories, also discounted instrument insurance and discounts on car rentals, hotel accommodations, etc. So if you’re a chamber musician, whether you’re a world, jazz, classical, or experimental musician, you need to be a member of CMA there’s no question about that!

Geraldine: Working at CMA have you learned of anything that professional musicians do that young musicians are not aware that they should be doing?
Adam: It’s having an entrepreneurial spirit, it’s not enough to just be good at your instrument. You can be the best musician, but you need to learn how to market yourself,  to collaborate with other people and administer your own music.

"Young musicians need to create 
their own opportunities"

There’s that whole administration side now that people think “oh, I’m just going to get an artist manager to do it for me. “ Art managers still exist, but their rosters are full most of the time. Young musicians coming out need to create their own opportunities.
That’s why you need to invest in professional development that is not only incorporating how you play your instrument but how you sell yourself and how you sell your art. You need to find opportunities that allow you to explore that sort of thing, whether it’s like in my instance a job opportunity or through professional development opportunities, through seminars and workshops.

That’s something that organizations like CMA do, and other organizations do it too if you’re not a chamber musician. They can help you navigate this business of music, because it is a business. Find people to share your vision, you can’t go at it alone, even if you’re not part of an organization, you have to network.

Geraldine: And meeting people in person is the best branding there is because you’re there, meeting people in person.
Adam: When you go to social situations like cocktail parties, concerts, receptions, and you meet people, you want to talk to them about what they’re doing and say a little bit about what you.  You don’t want to use that as a selling opportunity. You just want to use that as a way to get to know the person and see what kind of project they’re up to and what kind of projects they’re interested in. Down the road after you made that contact you say “oh I have this project, let me call so and so that might be good for this project“.

You can’t go in telling them “Listen to my music, listen to my music, and take a CD!” That’s not going to work. You talk about the business side of things, what people are up to, what they’re doing, what their passions are and what you’re passions are, sharing your life with somebody, beyond just trying to sell directly. You are selling yourself but in such a way that it fosters collaboration and community, not “How can I use you?”

"People in the arts 
who are successful are
the ones working collaboratively" 

People in the arts who are successful are the ones working collaboratively.  People that use other people only as a means to an end--I think that is a dangerous way of doing business. Become friends with people, don’t be just colleagues.


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