6 common mistakes to avoid in 2024 as a Classical Musician
For classical musicians, navigating the intricacies of career management while taking care of regular practicing, dealing with the aspects of everzday life and striving to secure coveted concert opportunities can be very challenging. When it comes to getting concert opportunities, most musicians (myself included!) seem to make one or more of the mistakes described below. In order to orchestrate a successful career path and secure more concerts, this blog post explores 6 of the most common pitfalls for classical musicians and potential solutions.
Here are some mistakes to avoid in the 2024:
1. Neglecting Networking and Relationship Building
Mistake: Relying solely on musical skills and prowess without cultivating professional relationships within the industry.
Solution: Go to concerts, actively engage in networking events, collaborate with fellow musicians, attend workshops, and foster connections with conductors, agents, and concert organizers. Personal relationships often pave the way for concert invitations. Obviously in-person events are preferable, but messaging on social media also works. I've started some great collaborations over the years just by DM-ing people I was interested in working with. Read more about networking on my blog.
2. Lacking a Strategic Online Presence
Mistake: Underestimating the power of a strong digital footprint in today's music landscape.
Solution: It doesn't mean that you need to be online 24/7, but avoiding that your website's information is updated to 2018 wouldn't be a bad start. Maintain a simple yet professional website, active social media presence, and utilize platforms like SoundCloud or YouTube to showcase your performances. Consistently update these channels to engage with a wider audience and potential concert organizers. One of my goals for 2024 is to be more consistent with my online presence and updating my channels regularly. Check out my blog post on setting goals for 2024 if you'd like to set some clear and actionable goals for your career.
3. Ignoring Diversification in Repertoire and Concert Formats
Mistake: Limiting oneself to a narrow range of compositions or ways to present a concert.
Solution: Expand repertoire across different musical eras and styles. Diversification not only brings versatility but also increases opportunities for different types of concerts and collaborations.
4. Overlooking Promotion and Self-Advocacy
Mistake: Assuming talent alone will attract concert offers without proactive self-promotion.
Solution: Develop strong self-confidence, be your number 1 fan! This aspect is important and (good news!) it can be built up. Upon that foundation you will build your promotional strategy, including press kits, professional recordings, and other media. With that confidence you will be pitching concert proposals to venues and promoters, showcasing unique selling points and past successes.
5. Underestimating the Importance of Business Side of being a Classical Musician
Mistake: Neglecting the business aspects of a music career, including contracts, negotiations, and financial management.
Solution: Invest in yourself and your knowledge. Read books, blogs, listen to podcasts, take courses. The amount of knowledge you will get will be one of the best returns on your investment (ROI) in terms of more opportunities, more success, more money and more of everything success looks like to you. Invest time in understanding contract terms, negotiation skills, and financial planning. You could also consider hiring an assistant, a manager or an agent to handle business aspects while focusing on musical endeavors.
6. Failure to Adapt to Technology
Mistake: Disregarding the impact of technology on reaching broader audiences and securing concerts.
Solution: Embrace technology for digital marketing, online concert streaming, and leveraging AI tools for audience engagement and promotional activities. Last year I started experimenting a bit more with the short format videos on TikTok and with YouTube shorts.
In October 2022 I published a video of me playing Vivaldi's "Winter" on YouTube Shorts and never thought much about, it was performing well for the average of my channel. For some reason, in September 2023 the video sparked some interest (without me doing absolutely anything!) and got 40000+ views in 5 weeks bringing more than 350 subscribers to my channel.
In researching and brainstorming topics ideas for my blog and podcast I decided to give ChatGPT a try. It also gave me alternative ways of presenting my bio and tweaking some of my social media content. I, however, still rewrite bits on the blog, filter my content and personalize it in a way that represents me (and makes my brain work). You don't necessarily need to employ these technologies in order to be successful, but I believe in giving everything new a shot. You should try it too!
In the competitive world of classical music, avoiding these common missteps can significantly enhance a musician's career prospects and increase opportunities for securing concerts. By taking care of your relationships, maintaining a strong digital presence, diversifying skills, actively promoting oneself, understanding the business side of the industry, and adapting to technological advancements, classical musicians can conduct a more successful and fulfilling career journey. Strategic planning, continuous learning, and a proactive approach to career management can ultimately lead to a crescendo of concert invitations and a flourishing musical career.
If you'd like to have a chat about your most common mistakes and explore solutions to solve them, book a chat with me below.
Share in the comments which of these mistakes you are "guilty" of.