How to network on the gig

Networking is a big part of getting work as a musician. But we think of networking for new people, while it is also important to network with the people you're already working with.

Here are the six rules for networking at work, from this article published on the Harvard Business Review.
  1.  Build outward, not inward: "Start by remembering that the point of collaborative networking is to connect people who wouldn't ordinarily work together. Don't waste your time deepening connections with people you already know."

  2. Go for diversity, not size: "Rather than aiming for a massive network, focus on building an efficient one. This requires knowing people with different skills and viewpoints. They should be different from you, of course, but also different from one another."

  3. Build weak ties, not strong ones: "A strong tie is probably someone who knows a lot of the same people you do, whereas a weak tie forms a bridge to a world you don't walk in. And to keep a weak tie, you only need to touch base a couple of times a month."

  4. Use hubs, not familiar faces: "When facing a problem at work, most of us will ask a close contact for help. But because we tend to befriend people at our own level, our closest contacts are unlikely to know more than we do. Instead, identify the "hubs" in your company — the people who are already great organizational networkers — and ask them to connect you to someone who knows more."

  5. Swarm the target: "Say you've built a diverse network of weak ties. Using the help of a hub, you've identified someone who can help you: a target. Before you approach that person, you need to enlist the help of your network to increase the odds that she will come through."

  6. If people aren't pulling together, strengthen ties: "If you're managing a project that requires crossing organizational silos, and following the previous rules has not provided results, it's worth investing the time and resources to build stronger connections. Help the team get to know each other better. You'll start to see results."

Picture from http://www.ybskin.com/careers.html


Why you should take a gig you're not ready for

We all believe we have to work our way up.

So when an offer comes asking us to play at a higher level than the level we are on, we may think that it is in everyone's best interest to turn it down.

After all, what we do in the practice room is reflected on the stage. So why take a chance?

Because the opposite is true too. What we do on the stage is reflected in the practice room. So when we do a higher level gig, it forces us to work quicker and better, and to adjust our work in the practice room.

When we turn down a higher level gig because we want to get to that level on our own first, we actually turn down the best way for us to learn how to get to that level. 

Photo from http://www.parentsconnect.com/articles/music-for-babies.html


How to be proud when you screw up

When you are working on a new piece and a section isn't working, it can be tempting to get frustrated.

However, it is the perfect time to feel a sense of pride. Why pride when you just screwed up?

Because it's a reminder that you know what all the options are to fix that spot!  All you have to do is go through each one of those options to figure out the one that will make that section work.

With every option you try that doesn't help, you can get prouder and prouder of yourself for having more and more tricks in your tool bag to try.

Practicing is so much more fun when you turn every mistake into a way to be proud of yourself!

Picture from http://toolmonger.com/2008/01/16/hot-or-not-vetos-topless-tool-bag/


8 steps to kickstart your wedding band

Making your place in the wedding industry can be quite hard, but when you follow the following 8 steps, you will increase your chances of getting gigs for your wedding band.
  1. Have a website: This is absolutely mandatory. Clients think that when you don't have a website you don't exist, or that you're not serious enough. Make one.

  2. Put a video reel on your homepage: Make sure to film the first few wedding gigs you do, then add up 30 seconds of different songs you played back to back. This is the most important aspect of your website, that will help couples decide if you're right for their wedding or not.

  3. List your songs rep: This is a way for people to see what style you specialize in. Some bands do more classic rock, some more contemporary songs, and some do a mix of everything. Make sure you know which category you fit in, and make that obvious on your repertoire list.

  4. Have a FAQ page: answer people's questions before they even ask them. Reassure them that you will Emcee at the wedding, that you have replacement musicians in case of emergency, tell them what sorts of equipment you use, what your band will wear at the wedding, how you handle volume, if you will bring party lights or not, etc.

  5. Contact page: many bands and other wedding vendors have an inquiry form for couples to fill out. Couples end up having to fill in too many of such forms, and they will be most grateful when you simply put an email address that allows them to copy and paste the same introduction email to different vendors.

  6. Introduce band members: A simple way to connect with your potential clients is to put headshots and bios of your band members. Some bands also put the bios of regular subs.

  7. Have a facebook page and a twitter account: A lot of bands have been around a long time and aren't on facebook and twitter, which means that you will have more chances to be found on there and hired by the population using those sites than the older bands.

    Provide value to your followers by adding tips on weddings, to show that you know what you're talking about: you may talk about song options for first dances, link to articles about parents dances, suggest ceremony musicians, etc.

  8. Encourage reviews: The cheapest and best form of advertisement is word of mouth, and these days word of mouth happens as online reviews.

    To encourage your clients to post reviews of you, offer them incentives to do so: a free cd, $50 off their final bill, etc. Help them suggest you to their friends by offering a 5% discount to whomever they refer you to. 

Picture from http://www.spaweekblog.com/tag/wedding-band/


    Are you as clear as your students need you to be?

    To help our students, we tell them what to do better.

    Support. Phrase. Breathe.
    Be clearer. Take time. Express. 

    But while our advice is true, it is only beneficial to our students when they know what those concepts mean, and how to use them.

    Sometimes the best advice is not to tell, but to ask.
    Not "do this," but "do you know how to do this?"

    Picture from http://johnwilkenson.com/?q=node/39


    The difference between performing and sight reading

    When we perform, the role of our body is to be an extension of the music and to show in a visual way what the music is doing.

    However, when we sight read, the role of our body is to be efficient. When we move our body the same way we do for a piece we know, our body actually becomes in the way of our sight reading.

    The more we move our back and head, the more difficult it is for our eyes to focus on the music. And the more we move our arms and elbows, the harder it is for our fingers to quickly move to their next notes.

    Sight reading takes too much energy for us to use it up on extra movements.

    Picture from http://www.fotosearch.com/photos-images/musical-scale.html
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