As a composer, musician and bandleader, I’ve spent the last few years trying to get my music and the bands I run ‘out there’ into the wider world.
The ultimate goal of course is to get gigs! But, particularly as a composer, we also want our music/performance/band to be heard as widely as possible, and fortunately we have an amazing resource on tap to help with this – the Internet!
Through my own experience, here are my top tips to getting your music heard; whether it’s online, on the radio, or even better, live!
1. Be Persistent!
This would be my number one tip for any musician. Whether it’s practicing and honing your repertoire, diligently perfecting your latest masterpiece, or just being super-persistent in chasing that all-important gig – if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again!
It’s well known that a high proportion of people don’t open the first email they receive – so don’t be afraid to leave it a few days before sending a polite chase – and then another one a few days later. After all – what harm can it do?
2. Create a Website
In 2019, a website is so important. All too often, you aren’t even asked for your details, as people will assume that they can ‘Google’ you, go to your site, and see your online CV within a few clicks!
Fortunately, there are not only many free or cheap tools to help you with this (e.g. WordPress, Wix or Weebly), but also lots of web designers (or even friends) who can help – don’t be afraid to ask!
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask!
If I could go back and give a piece of advice to my 20-year-old self, this would be it. The number of times I was afraid to ask for help, or too afraid to ask a great musician to play with me or my music, is too numerous to list!
My advice would be – what do you have to lose by asking? The worst that can happen is that someone says ‘no’ (unlikely – normally people say ‘sorry no, BUT this person could help’ or ‘YES!’) – and if ‘no’ does happen, you are no worse off than you were if you didn’t ask!
Some of my best musical experiences have come from asking someone to join in with something I expected them to say ‘no’ too, only to be pleasantly surprised!
4. Online Presence
Going on from a website, as a musician, you need a strong online presence.
If you are lucky enough to be featured at a gig, on the radio or TV: when people search for you, they need to be able to find you, find out all about you and hear your music straightaway! This means you need:
- Online Recordings (rough demos or live recordings are fine – I’d recommend Soundcloud to host these) – get these uploaded onto BBC Introducing – they are great at playing tracks from emerging artists, and you may end up being played to thousands across the world!
- (Ideally) Videos of your work – high-resolution if possible, but if not, just a video from a gig you’ve done or an upload of a Sibelius mock-up is much better than nothing!
- Photos – and with most smartphones having excellent cameras nowadays, a snap on your phone is good for now!
- Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube – all very important to create your online presence. If you don’t have time or the inclination, there are really affordable social media marketing people who can help!
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – again, very important to make sure people can find you on your search engine of choice. There are online tutorials on this if you are tech-savvy, and if not, your local friendly online marketing & SEO guru will be able to help with this too.
These are just a few things I’ve picked up over the years – there are loads of articles, podcasts, blogs and vlogs on the internet by very successful musicians who are all out there to help you – remember, don’t be afraid to ask!
Composer | Arranger | Trumpet & Flugelhorn | Educator