Musicians are “givers”. Every time they pick up an instrument, even if it’s just to practice, they bring joy into the universe.
Yet they often don’t get as much back in return.
This played out in a more dramatic way- more than ever before– over the last two years. While the pandemic raged, musicians brought light into everyone’s dark life over Zoom, in city parks and other open public places, but most were unable to make much money.
Post pandemic, one of the slowest areas of economic recovery has been the music space.
The musicians who gave the most during the pandemic, and received so little back, have continued giving. However, they’ve benefitted less from the ongoing return to a post pandemic “new normal.”
Musicians have been able to feed their souls with all they’ve shared over the last few years. Unfortunately, despite — or maybe because of — their generosity, they may have not been able to feed themselves or their loved ones.
That’s why we checked with our network of musicians to find out how music professionals can keep giving… while FINALLY getting something back in return.
Here’s what they came back with.
1. Get involved with the right charitable or community organization.
You may already be doing things for charities and community groups. However, are they groups that could also help you find and generate new business?
If you’re volunteering to play music at a senior center, you should continue to do so. It provides joy to some of the most vulnerable people in society. However, older people probably won’t generate many new business leads for you.
In addition, you should also consider volunteering at a school or community center where you might find people more interested in finding a music teacher or hiring a musician for an event.
Not sure where to find volunteering opportunities? A quick Google search for volunteering for musicians will likely turn up a lot of options in your area.
2. Participate in street fairs and community events.
There’s no better place to get exposure to new people in your area than by volunteering to perform at community events. You’ll meet a cross section of people who can use your services, whether it’s performing at local venues, weddings or other social events or teaching music.
Simply monitor community event calendars and reach out to the groups sponsoring events to offer up your services. Come up with creative ways to participate beyond just singing or playing an instrument, such as leading sing alongs, supporting a dance performance or putting together an informal pick up session. It will help you stand out from other musical volunteers. While you’re at it, offer to do some cross promotion on social media. It will benefit the organization and event, and expose you to a whole new social media follower base.
3. Share your passion in a blog, podcast and social media.
Have you considered going beyond performing or teaching music by sharing your passion for it?
Why not launch a blog or podcast about some aspect of music you care deeply about or that you have unique expertise in — or one that covers your local music scene? It’s a good way to give away your knowledge while gaining exposure to new audiences, promoting your performances and teaching services and connecting people to downloads of your music. Promote your blog or podcast through social media. Careful hash tagging and targeting will allow you to reach people in your community and beyond. It could be a great way for you to give a lot while generating a load of business.
4. Lead a school band.
Take over a school marching band, orchestra or group. Or start one if there isn’t one already at your local school. It might not pay a lot, or it could end up being a volunteer job, but it may generate a lot of teaching business for you. It will expose you to kids who are interested in music. Of course, as their band leader, you’ll be the first person they think of when it comes time to improve their music skills or learn a new instrument. Plus, you’ll have opportunities to network with parents and promote your teaching and other music services.
5. Partner up.
You don’t have to limit your charitable and other giving activities to solo pursuits. It can be far more powerful to work together with a group of musicians and singers. Each can play a role in organizing activities, taking some of the stress off you. It will make you more attractive to organizations because you’ll be exposing them to a bigger fan and follower base. The benefit to you: You’ll also be exposed to the fans and social media followers of your musical partners.
It’s a win win win for everyone involved.