Networking can be challenging for musicians, especially if you’re starting from zero. But good music isn’t made in a vacuum, and any remotely successful musician has their own support system. Where do you begin developing your musical community?
Find those open mics!
Open mics are a great way to meet local musicians. They’re free and easy to perform at, and often times the same players come back each week. Just showing up and playing isn’t enough though—networking requires some socializing. Hang out, listen to other people’s songs, then talk with them after their set! If you’re on the introverted side, this can be daunting. But just remember, everyone likes to be complimented! Find an open mic to attend every week, talk with the people there, and pretty soon you’ll find your circle of musicians growing. It’s not uncommon for venues to host showcases featuring the best and most popular open mic players, either. Not only are open mics great for meeting other players, but you might book your first gig through them too!
Sell some merch
Speaking of venues, they’re good for more than just singing songs at. Venues are hubs for all the important music people in your area—talent buyers, stage managers, audio engineers, you name it. If you’re looking to network, venues are then a great place to do so. An easy way to do this is to sell merch at shows. Bands will often bring their own people to sell merch, but not always. If a band doesn’t have a seller, they can ask the venue to provide one. And when the venue goes looking for someone, make sure it’s you. Email some of your local venues letting them know you’re available to sell merch next time they have an opening. It’s a relatively easy job, you get paid to go to a show, and it’s an opportunity to meet venue staff.
Your city probably has a musicians’ Facebook group
So find and join it. A quick way to network with online groups is to ask for help. After all, people like to give advice and feel like they can be of use. Ask for some feedback on lyrics or just information on the local scene! Alternatively, offer your own talents to people. If you offer to sing backup for someone’s next show, for example, not only will you have more people coming to you with gigs, but you’ll have a network of players who you can now ask for help when you need it. In general, Facebook groups, Discord channels, Reddit forums, and online communities work best if you take an “ask not what your community can do for you, but what you can do for your community,” approach.
If you’re trying to find more community in your life, check out Tonic’s Discord server! It’s a place to workshop music, collaborate with others, and learn from pros. You can join The Remix here.