Get the most out of Five-Week and summer programs: Network!
It seems in today’s world people are more connected than ever. Websites such as Facebook and Myspace are allowing people to stay in touch all over the world.
For musicians, this is a very very good thing. Why? Because in the music business, success relies largely on who you know. Learning the art of Networking (i.e. meeting people and exchanging contact information) is vital to establishing and maintaining your career.
Let me give you some perspective on just how important this really is. I’ve been performing professionally for 17 years and I’ve worked with hundreds of different musicians. When I think about it, I can only count half a dozen gigs that I got from responding to an advertisement or from someone I didn’t already know (either directly or through a mutual friend). What this means is the majority of opportunities you get will be via people you already know. This is why it’s so important to constantly network.
Improving your education…One colleague at a time
Networking isn’t just important for working musicians. It is also a vital part of your education and as such, you should aim to meet as many people as you can while you’re at Berklee. It’s been my experience that the learning process is more effective (and easier) when you’re part of a community of like-minded people who share similar goals. This provides a support system and it’s also extremely inspiring to be surrounded by peers whom you know personally.
Even if you’re here for only a few days, make it a goal to network as often as possible. There are many ways to do this:
- Go to social events including concerts, jam sessions, clinics and lectures.
- Frequent the Student Activities Center (located in 921 Boylston Street, 3rd floor). There are always people hanging out there.
- Organize your own gathering! Put up flyers and invite people to get together and socialize.
- Here are a few websites to check out:
Getting the most out of networking
Let’s fast-forward to the end of your stay at Berklee. You’re mind is full of new licks, grooves, scales, tunes, and if you followed my advice, you have a big list of names, phone numbers and email addresses. Now what?
Networking doesn’t do you any good if you don’t keep in touch with people. Meeting new people and then never keeping in touch is like buying a new method book and never opening it up. You have to stay in touch and keep people updated on your life and career in order for those contacts to be of any help to you.
Like I said in the beginning of this article, people are more connected these days than ever. With sites like Facebook, Myspace and Twitter, there really is no excuse not to keep in touch with everyone you meet.
Here’s a list of sites I use to network:
- Facebook (www.facebook.com). This is the best social networking site available today. ‘Facebooking’ new colleagues has become standard procedure for me. Be sure to add the Summer Programs facebook page.
- Myspace (www.myspace.com). I feel this is a great site for musicians to promote themselves as it showcases your content in a more professional manner than Facebook. If you don’t have your own website, this is the next best thing.
- Twitter (www.twitter.com). This site doesn’t showcase your information as much as Facebook or Myspace, but that’s not its purpose. What it does is allow you to constantly post ‘what you’re up to’ and people can configure their account to ‘follow’ your posts, i.e. they get notified whenever you post something. This is particularly effective because it is designed to be used via phone.
- LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com). This site is very business-centric and as such your profile reads more like a resume.
- Plaxo (www.plaxo.com). Very similar to LinkedIn in format.
These sites are all free, so go create a profile on them today! Get your networking mojo on before you get to Berklee, so when you arrive you’ll be able to get much more out of your experience.
Jeff Muzerolle is a professional musician/producer/educator in the Boston area. He also is a Berklee alum (class of ’99), and spent the last decade establishing a successful career in touring, recording, producing and educating. Drummers may be interested in his new e-book, The Gigging Drummer .