You want to perform, but you’re not sure where to go or how to start.  Your friends and family keep telling you how talented you are, and that you should get out there. However, you don’t know where “there” is. You are a part of the worship team at church. You released an album a little while ago, but you feel stuck. What’s next? And how do you get “there”?

    Your first step to getting there is becoming a part of your local community of musicians. It may seem a little intimidating, at first. But, there’s no need to worry about being accepted. Just be yourself and follow these steps. You’ll be an insider in no time.

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    1. Find venues that cater to the kind of music you perform. Search the internet and write a list of about 10-20 bands that play similar music to your band. Then look for venues in your area that they have performed at. Look at the venue calendar to see what kind of shows and open mic sessions they may have. In addition, ask other musicians for venue recommendations. Keep a list of these venues. It will come in handy.
    2. Go to the performances of other musicians. Pay attention to when a band you like comes to your town. Where do they perform? Read local blogs or newspapers, like Creative Loafing and Rolling Out. Go to the concert and pay to see the band. Your monetary support is always appreciated.
    3. Sit in on jam sessions and open mics. Here are a few rules about sitting in a on open mic/jam session. Be polite. Listen to the house band and other performers. Find out who runs the open mic/jam session and find out how they run the show. Don’t be in such a hurry to show them what you’ve got. Meaning don’t perform and leave or try to jump the line. Instead, be patient. Wait your turn. When it’s your turn, be ready. Instrumentalists, your instrument should be tuned. Vocalists, you should know what song you want to sing and the key you sing it in. If you are singing or playing an original, have lead sheets for the band. Thank the band for the opportunity to perform with them. Again, be supportive of other musicians.
    4. Stay long enough to meet people. Introduce yourself to the band members and music fans. Remember, be polite.  You don’t have to be overly aggressive. If you show up to enough events, you’ll begin to see some of the same people at different shows. After a while you won’t be a stranger.  You’ll be a part of the music community. As you participate in open mics and jam sessions, other musicians will feel more comfortable with the idea of working with you. They’ll even introduce you to others. Not only is this a great way to possibly get work, it may also help you find your bandmates. As you become more comfortable, don’t forget to do the same for a new member of the community.
    5. Engage with local venues and artists on your social media. Follow your local venues, bands, and blogs on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc., and subscribe to their YouTube Channels. Like, comment, repost and share the posts. In addition, invite friends to the shows.

    Many of the steps listed in this post may remind you of basic principles you learned in elementary school. However, sometimes we have a difficult time figuring out how to apply what seem to be simple lessons to our business. Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People is a great book that I am reading, and have read several times, that talks about many of these concepts. If you haven’t read it, you may want to add it to your reading list. These principles can be a great help as you navigate your local music community, and ultimately your music career.

    Becoming an engaged member of your local music community is the beginning to getting “there.” Your local music community will celebrate your triumphs and encourage you to overcome your failures. So, if you’ve been procrastinating because you feel a little intimidated by the talent in your neighborhood, or you just feel like you don’t know where to start, stop thinking so hard about it. Just get out there! Let these tips help guide you along your journey to “there.”

    Please, let me know if you found this blog post helpful by commenting below. I’d love to connect with you on social media and be a part of your music community cheering you on in your journey to “there.”

    Sometimes it’s hard to talk to musicians at larger concerts, but I’ve found that it is easier to catch them at jam sessions or at really intimate venues.

    Jam sessions are a great way to meet musicians.

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