In our previous entries in this series, we’ve guided budding musicians through the intricacies of Dorico’s music notation software, as well as how to get the most out your music education – now, it’s time to begin thinking about the next stage of your path to professionalism.
One of the most common frustrations that musicians encounter early on is a lack of exposure. You can produce the most stunning work, but your music isn’t going to find its way to a receptive audience without a touch of promotional savvy. While it can be easy to balk at the idea of letting anything other than the music do the talking, the art of self-promotion has in fact been serving composers and musicians admirably for centuries. Here’s how to replicate that success in today’s professional music world.
Create a Website
In the internet age, a key part of promoting your work should be to establish a strong online presence – and your first step should be creating a website. Collating all the information relating to yourself and your music into one professional looking package makes it far easier for anyone who comes across your work to discover more.
It’s also not as difficult as you may imagine – you don’t need a website that is overly complex or showy, and there are now a number of services and user-friendly website builders that can deliver high-quality results simply and effectively.
Start Using Social Media
Social media sometimes gets a bad reputation, but when used to its full potential it’s one of the most powerful tools for communication and promotion that anyone could possibly ask for. After all, it’s estimated that over 3 billion people are currently using at least one social media platform – and that’s a huge potential audience to tap in to.
Setting up accounts purely for professional purposes is therefore an ideal way to reach new people and engage with those interested in your work. However, you don’t want to come across like a salesman dispassionately pushing a new product – it’s important to strike the right balance between effective promotion and a tone that engages with people, instead of talking to them.
Communicate and Interact
The conversational approach to social media can also be applied to other online outlets and platforms. Online discussions, forums and web seminars might not have the same wide-ranging reach as social media, but instead they offer a more specialised field of discussion and ample opportunities to communicate with your peers.
Similarly, starting your own blog is an often overlooked way of promoting yourself professionally – while you may not be writing about your own work specifically or exclusively, it can be a good way to develop a reputation as an authoritative and knowledgeable voice within the music profession.
Put Together Your Address Book
Communicating with your fellow musicians and those in the business can be hugely beneficial, but it’s important not to let those interactions be fleeting. Whether it’s people who’ve contacted you on social media to praise your work or someone you’ve been introduced to at an event, don’t be afraid to let them know more about your own professional endeavours.
Take the time to make a good impression and begin building up a list of contacts. The world of professional music can be a fiercely competitive one, and you never know who you may re-encounter as you work your goal of success.
Enter Your Music into Competitions
In our recent interview with award-winning composer Amanda Lee Falkenberg, she told us that one of the important steps on her path to success was her decision to begin entering her music into competitions. Sending your music out into the aether in the hope of it finding an audience can sometimes feel a little daunting, but the defined parameters and end-goal of a music competition can give you a more tangible framework to worth within.
Entering your music into a competition usually involves a minimal level of effort, for a huge potential gain. Most submissions policies won’t be too taxing, and a win or nomination can help to boost your profile significantly.
From the deliberately over-inflated reports of rioting at the premier of The Rite of Spring to today’s social media landscape, classical music has always had a flair for publicity gathering – and the art of self-promotion is one that any aspiring young musician would be wise to master.