How to establish yourself as a professional musician in a new city (part 5)

In this series, I’ve covered a lot of strategies you can use to get work as a professional musician when you move to a new city. It’s not always easy to become established, but reading through these posts will give you some ideas and perspective about how to get started.

Here, I’d like to give you a few more thoughts about the subject that I’ve seen work from my experience:

1. When you’re working with someone for the first time, make sure you radiate whatever is special about you. Don’t force it, but if you’re a warm human being, feel warm. It will help people feel good about working with you. If you’re insightful, make a subtle comment that shows this. Don’t be a wallflower and keep it to yourself. Again, don’t be obvious or obnoxious about it, but show people what you can do. If you play piano with a beautiful touch, make sure your cohorts hear that. They’ll be drawn to your playing. Whatever you have to offer, like enthusiasm or knowledge, make sure that you share that in your initial interactions with your new contact. You just want to show them who you are, without forcing.

2. If you’re nervous about a first meeting or rehearsal with someone, pretend that you’ve been playing with them every day for a year and this is just another routine day. You won’t let them know this, of course, but having this attitude in the back of your mind might help you relax and “be yourself.” And the more relaxed and comfortable you are, the better you’ll interact with them and make great music together.

3. Sometimes the best way to work with other musicians is simply to go out and get the work yourself. Then you can hire the musicians you want to meet! If you’re good at talking to club owners, this will be easier for you. But in any case, keep an open mind and look for opportunities. Maybe your neighborhood is having a block party. Ask if there are funds available to hire, say a guitarist/vocalist. Since it’s your own neighborhood, you can volunteer your services to play keyboard with the guitarist. You’ll accomplish a lot by doing this: 1. You’ll have a great time and the whole neighborhood will know you’re a musician, 2. You’ll make a professional connection with a locally established musician, and 3. Since you’ll have given the guitarist a gig, they’ll likely reciprocate at some point in the future, or at least recommend you to their contacts.

Wow! I’ve written a lot more about this subject that I initially planned. If you’re looking for work as a musician (either in a new city or your present one), I urge you to read all 5 of these posts again. Print them out and make notes on the pages, with ideas you can implement in your local musical scene. You’ll get more ideas if you do this with pen or pencil in hand.

Good luck, and happy music-making!!!

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