Every person involved with music, with very few exceptions, is in search of community.
If you’re a recording engineer, you’re trying to network with local bands and venues to find new clients to record. If you’re a songwriter, you’re trying to find fellow songwriters to write and perform with. Bands network with other bands and promoters to get better shows and hopefully a record deal.
Without community, your music will go un-heard. Without community, no one will know that you’re an amazing recording engineer or a songwriter.
When my wife and I moved to Indiana from the Nashville area, my music suffered. I was no longer around those musicians and engineers who pushed me to write more songs and record better music.
It took months for me to even write a single song, and I did hardly any recording in my studio.
What happened? I didn’t have a music community. I had no places to play, no projects to work on. I had no motivation to write a new song, because I knew no one would ever hear it.
We All Need Community
We humans are communal creatures. We need people. We thrive off of our interactions with others.
It’s no different for us musicians and engineers. Without community, our music becomes boring and stagnant. Without community, we don’t learn anything new. We don’t get better.
There’s certainly a place for creating music simply for your own enjoyment. But if you’re like me, then you want to share your music with others.
3 Ways to Start Growing Your Community Today
1. Go to a show!
Grab a local newspaper and find out who’s playing where this weekend. Pick one you like and plan to go see them.
Nothing rejuvenates me creatively like a good performance. You know the feeling. After attending an amazing concert, you go home energized. You want to stay up all night making music.
Aside from being creatively stimulated, regularly attending shows can help you meet new people. If you’re an engineer, you may hear a great new singer-songwriter who’s looking for a place to record her first demo. If you’re a musician, you may introduce yourself to the band, and perhaps they’ll ask you to open for one of their future shows. It’ll also help you get to know the venues around town. It never hurts to know these people.
2. Share your music with someone.
Make a CD of the current music you’re working on. Give it to a friend (or group of friends) and ask for their feedback.
Give a CD to someone you normally wouldn’t share your music with. Perhaps they know a few musicians or engineers that you haven’t met yet. If they like your stuff, that may open the door to new friendships and potentially new musical endeavors.
3. Use social media.
MySpace is probably the most obvious choice. I must admit, I don’t use MySpace nearly as much as I should, but it’s a great way to check out a lot of musicians/bands. Thirty minutes on MySpace finding new musicians may prove to be as productive as going to a bunch of concerts (and it’s free!).
Sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. can be great places to meet new people and find new info. For example, if I ever come across an article or website that inspires me or offers really good information, I’ll share it on my Twitter account.
There are thousands of people out there doing the same thing, so take advantage of this valuable resource.
A Quick Warning
While networking and community are very important, don’t become so obsessed with making new contacts that you forget to make music. As I mentioned in a previous article, it’s important to incorporate music into your schedule, otherwise, you may neglect it for months.
A Growing Community
One of my goals for Home Studio Corner is to develop a community right here on the site, a place where musicians and engineers can gather. I’m sure I’ll be incorporating some sort of forum in the future, but for now that community centers around this blog and my Newsletter.
Just last week, several of my readers sent me various recordings they’ve been working on, and I shared them with the rest of the Newsletter subscribers. It’s fun to hear all the different styles of music, and it’s encouraging to know that people just like you and me are out there in the world making really good music.
What are you doing to create a community around your music?