7 Invaluable Pieces of Advice for Recent Music College Grads

Bobby Borg, author of Music Marketing for the DIY Musiciangives advice for recent music college graduates in his latest article from SonicBids!

7 Invaluable Pieces of Advice for Recent Music College Grads

Probably the scariest thing about going to music school to become a more competent musician is graduating and having to find a paying gig. The pressure is on to start repaying those student loans and prove to your friends and family that you haven’t wasted the last four years of your life. While there are no surefire tips to take you from being a student to a celebrity, these seven invaluable tips will help set you and keep you on course for many years to come. Pay attention.

1. Locate yourself in the most opportune city to succeed

New technologies have made it more possible than ever for you to get discovered from virtually any part of the world. However, big cities are where the action is 24/7, and living in or near one is more likely to lead to networking opportunities and big auditions unavailable in small towns.

Research the city that makes the most sense to you given your goals, and then plan out a short visit. Utilize your school’s resources (such as the alumni outreach department) to get a few numbers of people who may be willing to meet up with you and provide some advice. Attend jam sessions. Visit the local musicians’ unions. Thoroughly check out the scene. Just don’t rush your decision. Once you move to a new city for your career, you should prepare to stay there and put in the work for several years.

[Top 10 Cities in North America Whose Music Scenes are Exploding Right Now]

2. Prepare for the long haul by becoming financially sound

Whether it’s New York, Los Angeles, Nashville, or somewhere else, there are countless stories about people who move to the big city and give themselves six months to “make it” while living on their friends’ couches. Needless to say, that’s a completely unrealistic plan.

Be prepared — both financially and mentally — to spend several years pursuing your goals. Look for work immediately to help cover your basic expenses and settle in by joining a local songwriters’ organization or networking group that will bring you a sense of belonging. Just remember that success won’t happen overnight, so be prepared for the long haul.

3. Bridge long-term goals with short-term goals

While finding work to meet expenses is crucial, stay as close to the music business as you can. Look for music-related opportunities such as private instruction, music transcription for educational books, equipment sales, equipment repair, or even stage production.

Who would have ever thought that one of my buddies would end up with a huge touring gig by setting up and moving equipment for SIR studios in Los Angeles? A band was holding auditions there one night and his boss and the music director were cool with him giving it a shot. He nailed the audition and his career took off from there. Moving gear wasn’t fun, but it paid off.

4. Don’t lose touch with your college friends

Remember that the majority of the work you do will be based on word-of-mouth recommendations. The genuine relationships you form today can lead to the gigs of tomorrow.

After graduating from Berklee College of Music in Boston, I got hired to play weddings by my former teachers with whom I kept in touch. Within one year, I got hired onto my first pro session in New York City by two college buddies that I contacted all the time — this gig led to joining a band on Atlantic Records. Bingo! I was in!

Today, I run into friends from school all the time who are playing with some of the biggest rock groups and working on the biggest films. We still all help each other out in small ways. Remember that connections are one of the biggest reasons why people invest in school.

To read the rest of the article, click here!

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About HLPAPG

Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group, the trade book division of Hal Leonard Corporations, publishes books on the performing arts under the imprints Hal Leonard Books, Backbeat Books, Amadeus Press, and Applause Theatre and Cinema Books.

Posted on June 18, 2015, in Music Fans, Music Industry and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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