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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Filtering by Tag: Book Yourself Solid

Networking Exercise

Andrew Hitz

I recently read about a great exercise for growing your network. (This comes from the fantastic book "Book Yourself Solid" by Michael Port.)

Make a list of 20 people in the music business that you don't know personally but would like to know. Think in terms of impact. Who can most help you to achieve your goals in the business.

(Note: The most successful networking is done between two people who can help each other, not just a one-way street. That's a topic for another day but very important to mention!)

Next, try to figure out proactive ways to introduce yourself to the people on your list. Maybe you will be attending the same conference. Maybe they are passing through town with a touring orchestra. Maybe they are good friends with your current or former teacher.

Figure out some kind of commonality with the first person on your list and plan your first step towards connecting with them. Always think about whether your route to connect with them will be convenient for them. This is very important.

As anyone who has ever seen me present or perform knows, I am always happy to speak with anyone afterwards. But there have been plenty of times when I had another engagement (particularly at a conference) and only had 10 minutes to speak with the eight people who wanted to introduce themselves.

Maybe send someone an email ahead of time explaining who you are and get creative about how you might introduce yourself. If we are in the music business, we are creative people by definition! (Or we shouldn't be in the business!) Use this creativity for things like networking and not just how you finish a phrase.

This is a topic that could be covered in detail over 20 different blog posts. This is just one small idea of how you can proactively attempt to grow your network.

While you have to have the skills to back everything up (or everything else is moot!), the music business really is all about who you know. So do something about it!

 

Embracing Marketing

Andrew Hitz

 

"Marketing and sales isn't about trying to convince, coerce, or manipulate people into buying your services. It's about putting yourself out in front of, and offering your services to, those whom you are meant to serve – people who already need and are looking for your services."
-Michael Port from Book Yourself Solid

Today's music business is so incredibly competitive, whether trying to play for a living or trying to land a top teaching gig.  There are not many concrete areas where you can get an easy leg up on the competition.  There are, however, a few of them and one of them is marketing.

Focusing on the "putting yourself out in front of" part of the above quote by Michael Port, there are not many musicians or music educators who excel at this.  There are a lot who are good, but not a lot who are great.

If you figure out two things, who are you meant to serve and how you will put yourself in front of them, you will be way ahead of the game.

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As a side note, absolutely everyone should read the book quoted above.  I can not recommend it any more highly for people learning to get themselves out there.  It is a New York Times bestseller so chances are your competition has already read it.

We Are All Marketers

Andrew Hitz

"Marketing and sales isn't about trying to convince, coerce, or manipulate people into buying your services.  It's about putting yourself out in front of, and offering your services to, those whom you are meant to serve-people who already need and are looking for your services." - Michael Port from "Book Yourself Solid"

I love this quote.  It takes a lot of the used car salesman feeling that some of us have when selling ourselves as performers or teachers of music out of the equation.  Marketing yourself is simply about getting yourself noticed by the people who want or need your services.  It's that simple.

The good news is most musicians, including teachers, are not good marketers and that presents an opportunity for us all.  The bad news is people are figuring this out and everyone is getting better.  We all have to up our games when it comes to marketing.

And make no mistake, we are all marketers whether we realize it or not.

Sun setting over the University of Glasgow on my trip there last week with Boston Brass © 2013 Andrew Hitz