How Music Showcasing Can Jumpstart Your Career
Schuyler Gallagher on December 21, 2017
Music showcasing takes hard work, energy, and dedication. With the right tools you'll be able to jumpstart your career in no time.
Do you plan on becoming the next Taylor Swift, Drake, Ed Sheeran, or Bruno Mars? Music showcasing is the perfect way to get there, but, as the old adage goes, practice makes perfect.
Let’s face it, a lot of practice starts in your bedroom, basement or any other similar means of buckling down and perfecting your craft. While it’s also true that “you have to start somewhere,” you never stop perfecting what you do. In fact, whether you are a solo act, or singer of a group, the point is to never ever stop. You, a legend in the making, are like a shark: if you stop moving you die. Your sense of passion drives your commitment and you know you will never stop, no matter what life throws at you.
Up until very recently in the music industry – as recent as the last 20 years or so – it was standard to practice hard until you got it just right, and get to a studio to record it. Now it’s entirely commonplace for bedroom producers to compose and get down some fire takes all while in the comfort of their living space. Still though, performing musicians aren’t going anywhere. Whether you play guitar and sing, or you love rapping, musicians craving the right kind of attention in the spotlight are never going to die out.
Letting your music be heard by strangers takes courage, and to get onstage and express yourself takes some energy. You’ve been thinking about your short-term and long-term goals, doing your visualizations and putting out your intentions. The time has come to step outside of your comfort zone and find a venue in which to perform to showcase your talents.
Once you’ve determined you’re ready and you’ve psyched yourself up, you possess the confidence to step into the spotlight in front of others and can start using music showcasing to your advantage. Deciding where you want to set the bar for yourself is really important. Will you be content with playing local bars while keeping that day job, or do you have your eye on Madison Square Garden? What exactly is your long term plan?
If you thought learning your instrument was tough, finding places to play can be equally daunting. Remember, there is always room to improve, and you need to gain the experience in order to earn that spot at the Garden. This all takes time and you may feel as if you aren’t really sure where to start, don’t know anyone in the music biz and feel as if you are all alone. You will feel that you’ve been thrown into a sink-or-swim place – but you aren’t truly alone.
Back in the day, you had to record demos on a cassette tape and hand them out to anyone you thought could help you. But, getting the word out now is easier than ever. Besides telling everyone you know that you (and your band, if you have one) are available to perform at coffeehouses, bars, clubs, restaurants, hotels, parties, high schools, bar mitzvahs, benefits (just to name several), there’s social media. It runs the gamut from Bandcamp to Soundcloud, to Youtube, to Fanburst, or Audiomack and many others. The good news is that they’re all free (although you can pay to subscribe to a higher level package), and part of your identity in a very big sea of other potential wannabe stars is learning search engine optimization. Social media also enables you to garner instant gratification. Post an impromptu gig and, in no time, you can acquire potential future concert attendees and band followers.
Get your name and brand out there so you can showcase your talents. Don’t be shy. Self-promotion through social media is being done by musicians from lo-fi indies to megastars. Get savvy and make it work for you.
You may already be a highly skilled musician who has been using music showcasing locally, so looking for bigger and better places to showcase yourself as a performing artist is at the top of priority list. No matter which venues you book, whether in a small town dive or a friend’s wedding at a ritzy country club – they may seem mundane and nowhere near as exciting as Citi Field or The Hollywood Bowl – but you’re getting your name and face out there. And you never know who knows who may hire you for another gig.
Remember, until you’re able to hire an agent to do the heavy lifting for you, it’s about taking small steps. Gaining exposure is vital, no matter what your intentions are – to be the next Rihanna, or, should you prefer to stay out of the spotlight, but be seen and recognized as a highly respected musician – until they’re coming to you, asking you to play their venue.
Finding venues to play, traveling (whether by car, van, train) and shuttling around endlessly seems like an old rock cliché. It should provide fodder for your memoirs in your golden years as well as tightening your skills as a musician. While it’s nearly 20 years into the new millennium, that “roving musician” lifestyle most won’t be going anywhere any time soon and the use of music showcasing is continuing to prove it’s helping artists careers.
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