We live in a time where it seems like everyone, and I mean everyone, creates their own music. Like that one token friend who desperately wants to become a rapper. Or that one well-known YouTuber who has suddenly taken an interest in producing music. Few artists, however, genuinely hold the capability of transforming the music industry wholeheartedly. An industry where most aspiring musicians hope to take part in, and one where many secrets to success love to stay under wraps. Because standing out as a college student proves no easy task, these tips and tricks will undoubtedly help set you apart from the rest.
Check out these ‘major key’ ways on how to effectively network as a college student if you plan to make it center stage in the music biz.
1. Let’s talk social media
Believe it or not, all your favorite artists had to begin somewhere. Famous names such as Charlie Puth, Ed Sheeran and Tori Kelly, all displayed their musical talents on one of the fastest growing social media platforms of this generation, YouTube. Set some time aside to find your flair if you don’t already possess this quality. Besides, millions and millions of users on this platform likely hold the same goal(s) as you. “Social media is just a great way to have instant contact with the highest level of players and being able to ask them questions,” incoming freshman at The Julliard School of Music Zachary Neikens said. “For networking, the most important tip is emailing professionals and asking for lessons, it has proved extremely valuable for me and has gotten me connected with the best trombonists around.” You can even try networking your sound on everyone’s favorite (for the moment) platform, Instagram. Take notice of the business account feature. You can track the performance of your account using Instagram’s analytics tools. If you think you’ve got what it takes, sing live for all your followers on Instagram’s live stream feature. Facebook also adds another viable option to the mix. Show everyone your hard work. If you wish to hear brutally honest feedback from your friends and family firsthand on how your music sounds, this direction could seriously save you from a cringy posting moment. Phew.
2. Network within your university
You don’t need to search far to discover new connections—look among your peers. Show a genuine interest in others, connect and collaborate to grow your craft with students who share the same ambitions as you. It takes a lot to survive and flourish in the world of music. Need somewhere to start? Look for free moments in your schedule to learn more about the business you want to pursue your future career in and get your name out there. “I think you can learn to make time for music,” New York University junior Madeline Boreham said. “Whether it’s getting up 20 minutes earlier each day to write a song or not go out with your friends one night to work on a demo. If this is something you really love, then you’ll make the time for it. I know it’s hard dealing with FOMO in social situations, especially in college, so I view it as “I owe it to myself to work towards my goals every day.” The more university clubs, organizations, programs, events and activities you get involved in, the better. Keep in mind, if you play the “I’m a student” card while networking, you’ll surely get favorable outcomes.
3. Impressions do, in fact…matter
Sometimes you need a break from those boring lectures, gut-wrenching 8 a.m. classes and mile-long walks in-between classes. We know how to fix this. Get yourself into the mix of the music scene and attend or get yourself involved working behind the scenes at a local concert or festival. Attending will require tons of engagement with an audience because local events seemingly swarm college campuses. Walk around, market your music and then reward yourself with a funnel cake afterward. You might only get one chance to shoot your shot, so make some top-notch, long-lasting impressions. “There are so many levels to this,” The Julliard School of Music senior Immanuel Wilkins said. “Work your way up the ladder as much as you can. Make connections, think outside of the box and foster those relationships so you have what you need to survive doing what you love.” Networking can prove uncomfortable for a variety of people, including college students. Stand up, get out of your comfort zone and let your inner marketer unfold.
4. Make your cameo appearance on the small screen
Take matters into your own hands, even if that means taking some risks. Your next hit song may end up on a television show. If so, take advantage of each opportunity that comes your way. “I had a couple of songs licensed to Dance Moms back in the day,” Chicago native and singer/songwriter Jess Godwin said. “It was really surreal to have people quoting my lyrics on Twitter…amazing, actually. I think knowing that the things I felt and wrote were resonating with other people on that level meant more to me than any attention I was getting—you can’t put a monetary value on that.” Godwin’s most notable song, Fool Me Once, features former Dance Moms star Chloe Lukasiak in the song’s official music video and has received over 1.7 million views on YouTube, respectively. Many televised programs held in the U.S. such as The Voice, American Idol and America’s Got Talent, select different cities and states to host multiple rounds of auditions. If you’re lucky, one of these shows may even come into a town close to your university. It doesn’t hurt to gain a little experience, so if you get rejected, hold your head high and give the next try everything you’ve got.
5. Strengthen your face-to-face communication skills
Go back to the basics. The least desired option award goes to the taboo-like idea of face-to-face communication. You all know what I mean. Most of us would instead communicate solely online to avoid those awkward in-person stares and meaningless conversations. However, there aren’t many ways around talking in person. “Music is collaborative,” Indiana University Jacobs School of Music graduate Lauren Gaynor said. “There’s no one who can write every aspect, perform it all, record, distribute, etc. whatever they create completely alone. And even if there are the few people who manage to do all of those tasks, it’s always better to have someone on your team.” Discuss new song ideas with other students during class or while walking around campus. If you run into someone famous, solidify your best sales pitch and sell the reasons why your music stands out among other well-known artists. The path to greatness may seem an impossible mountain to climb, but you know what they say—the classics never go out of style.