Winning at Music College - Part 2
Winning at Music College
Building life long relationships and reputation
It's often said that making a career in the music industry isn't about what you know, it's who you know.
It's not entirely un-true - "what you know" does play a huge part, but the "who you know" thing is a little off kilter - it's more of a case of "who knows you". And then more than that - "what do they think of you?"
Making a career as a musician requires one of two things:
1. you to make your own opportunities
2. you to entice other people to give you opportunities.
Very few musicians are cut in a way that allows them to 'make work'. That side is more about business than it is about music and few are able to master both "creativity" and "business".
So if you're a person that'll be relying on other people to hire them to work in groups and in shows, the way you carry yourself and relate to other people is going to absolutely crucial to your ability to make an income.
And it really does start at Music College. Here's why.
1. Every person in your class and college will be a potential employer
Get your head around that. You maybe someone who'll be relying on other people to hire you to play in their bands, but there will be others that are able to build bands and make work - and they'll be sat next to you in your class room.
In years to come, there'll be a guy in your class who'll be running a successful function band. Or they'll be a fixer for theatre shows. There isn't necessarily a separate school for the players and the 'managers' - you'll all taught the same stuff and you make of it what you will.
2. Your teachers are also likely to employ you too
As if the first concept was hard to imagine, this concept is just as hard to imagine.
Teachers are pro schools are not always full time teachers. They're frequently guys and girls (like me) who are professional players and teaching is just a part of their income.
They'll be playing in bands. They'll be playing in shows. They'll be managing and fixing for groups. They'll be recommending players for shows they can't make.
If you thought your teachers and school were a bit of a joke, and they're not going to make any difference to you - change that thinking quickly because your music college teachers and very likely going to be directly responsible for getting you work.
Get it right - every day
Getting work in the music industry is all about relationships. Who likes you - who trusts you - who likes what you do ? When I'm recruiting musicians, I'll always go to my trusted network first. The emphasis is on trust. I might not always hire the 'best' player - but I'll hire the player who can do the job to the level I need it done and who I know I can rely on to turn up, and turn up prepared.
Keeping work in the music industry is harder. I'll only re-hire people who've turned up on time; who've learnt the material properly; who communicate with me in the right way and who are enjoyable to work with.
In the next blog, we'll be talking about essential skills you'll need as a musician… and they're best practiced when you're at college. All the people around you will make judgements on you on a daily basis. It's hard to earn trust… it's even harder to re-earn it once it's been broken.
How you act and present yourself at all times informs your reputation: how people think of you.
If you're someone who's always late, doesn't turn up, doesn't learn their stuff, produces low quality work - your reputation will be just that.
You'll be known as un-reliable, un-trustworthy and someone who won't put effort into their work - and why would I, as a recruiter, hire someone like that? Why would I risk my reputation and my show's reputation by putting in a player that might cause my show harm?
Now, if you're someone who's always early, always knows their stuff, is bright and engaged and enthusiastic - that's how you're going to be thought of…. that's your reputation.
If you were choosing someone for work - which would you choose?
So get it right….
About the Author
Dave Phillips is one of the most skilled musicians in the UK industry. A player, a producer, a manager, a teacher, a writer and a designer - Dave is very very busy!
He studied at Music School - SSR in Manchester - and almost instantly began teaching music production at Degree level which led him to eventually manage a Music College. He also studied for his BA as an adult.
Knowing how difficult the music industry is - and know how difficult it is to be a teenager and young adult! - he enjoys teaching and coaching younger musicians to make the right choices at the most critical time of their
His book "The Music Student's Guide to being a Music Student" is an in depth look at what it is to be a professional musician, and things that students should be doing while they study to ensure that their music career kicks off the moment they graduated.