Attending College While Building a Music Career

The coronavirus pandemic has affected the lives of people worldwide more so than any other event in recent history. Individuals and businesses have started turning to various online platforms to stay connected and productive. Jobs that many employers thought needed to remain in the office have shifted to being done remotely, and many other services are being provided through the use of online software. Students have been attending their classes online, consulting their teachers in video calls, and submitting their work through email.  The last one isn’t exactly new – it’s just become the primary way to do things since the virus took the world by storm. Now you might be wondering how to approach life from this new perspective, and is it possible to juggle attending college while building a music career? Although performing live at a local pub is still a bit far due to social distancing measures, there is still a lot you can do to further your dreams of a music career. 

Empty stage set up with instruments.

Performing at a local pub might not be currently possible. Photo by John Matychuk on Unsplash

Build contacts

College is a great time to meet new people and build your own network of contacts. You might feel restricted by the lack of in-person acquaintances you can currently make, but online tools have never been so plentiful. The music industry is people-based, meaning that alliances and contacts are crucial for success. Create profiles on every possible online platform, from Instagram to LinkedIn, and start connecting as soon as possible. Get your foot in the door by applying to a music-related internship. Most printed media has been shifting online for a while now, and this is something you could easily do from home. Inquire at a radio station or a music magazine. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, they don’t even need to be local. Ask them if they need someone to write review articles, manage social media accounts or create content. You’d be surprised how many places are short on digital-savvy staff. You don’t need to wait to graduate; you can still be attending college while building a music career by meeting people and letting them know your talents and skill set.

Spread out your skills

While we are on the topic of skills, we need to set a few things straight. You will need to diversify. Knowing something else besides music will keep you agile and adaptable while also acting as a backup option. When it comes down to the music industry nuts and bolts, it requires things any other business needs: from lawyers and managers to public relations and other specialized positions like talent scouts. You would be surprised where some people’s careers started. Successful people can quickly shift their talent, and the best-known celebrities tend to wear many hats, like being a musician, actor, and entrepreneur. More and more people are present in all forms of pop culture. It is sometimes hard to tell where they came from. Coming out of college and having a broad skill set will definitely give you a competitive edge.

Person following an online course on a laptop.

Online courses are a great way to develop new skills. Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

Do as many online courses as you can

Sitting at home during a mandated curfew isn’t how most people thought they’d spend their year, and with no definite end in sight, you might have a lot more time on your hands. Put that time to good use. Practice your music skills, learn, grow, and develop. We have already mentioned the importance of diversifying and having a fallback option. You can take many courses that will let you develop new skills to add to your resume. Pick something that can allow you to earn money, like a trade or a craft. Those things never go out of style and are always necessary. Find something you can do even if you are still attending college while building a music career, like a barber course you can do online. Realistically, you’ll need something to get by while your music career kicks off.

A person holding a smartphone with a guitar musician.

Look at what is currently trending and adapt to it. Photo by Dollar Gill on Unsplash

Follow trends

Being in the loop is important for any job but knowing what’s trending is especially important if you are building a music career. People can quickly come into the spotlight and fade out just as fast, so having your finger on the pulse of what’s hip can gain you a lot of attention. It is never too early to start developing a following, and those numbers will grow significantly faster if you know how to respond to the current demand appropriately. Being one of the first when something goes viral will give you a big push if you have already started to gain traction. Attending college while building a music career is a blessing regarding pop culture since you are already mingling with other people trying to expand their social circles, so look to them for inspiration and advice. Find something that is popular and give it your personal stamp. Don’t be ashamed to learn and adapt to what the best are doing. No idea is genuinely new, and people are always on the lookout for a fresh take at something they already like.

Develop your brand

Think about your personal brand and what is it that makes you stand out? Focus on that and put yourself out there. Have accounts on as many online platforms as you can. Who does your style cater to? Find out on which networks your target audience congregates and make a strong presence there. Many starting musicians end up being their own manager, social networking specialist, content creator, the strictest boss, and the worst employee. Life in the online sphere can be difficult; it’s vital to set certain boundaries and give yourself some time away from work. Throughout it all, remember to remain true to who you are; doing so will provide you with an air of originality that will be instantly recognizable.

Attending college while building a music career might require you to take on a multitude of tasks you didn’t even know you needed, but it can be a rewarding experience. Come out of your college days with a diverse array of talents that you are eager to show the world. You will have confidence in your multiple skills and a willingness to take risks knowing you can always adapt to the upcoming challenges.