Afrika_Bambaataa_and_DJ_Yutaka_(2004)This Saturday (1/31/15) is the 32nd Annual Music Business Seminar put on by the California Lawyers for the Arts. It will also be my 4th (possibly 5th???) time attending the event as a panelist on the Fiero Flair “Face the Music” panel and while some of the sessions during the day might not be everyone’s cup of tea, this event holds a sentimental place in my professional development.

Over the years attending this event I have made new friends, discovered the intricacies of how the industry that uses social media better than anyone else makes it happen, and heard some wonderful music. The reason I go to these events is to try and help those that are looking for insights on their music. The “Face the Music” panel is a collection of musicians, songwriters, music licensing folks, producers, and other music industry professionals. With 4-5 people per panel, we sit and listen to a sampling of a track (60-90 seconds) to try and offering insight on arrangement, songwriting, or the mix to help the musicians improve their product offering.

Looking back on my experience of doing over the last several years, I note that there is one part of it that happens every single time. Inevitably after the panel a crowd with gather to get deeper insight from the panelists. There will also be the musicians that were too nervous, or didn’t know they could submit a track for review, that will ask if they can send me something and get my thoughts on it. I’m always happy to offer any insights or help that I can so I will pass out a card. But in all the times that I’ve done that, I have heard from less than a handful of people following up to share tracks or discuss opportunities for audio guys outside of the studio.

Going to an event or trade show where there are professionals that are offering help, wanting to coach, teach, or work with the up and comers is more common place than some might think. Some people believe that the experienced professionals might be too busy to lend a hand, but I guarantee that some will take the time to do what they can if you make the effort to reach out and work with them. The key is that you have to be willing to put in the work and follow up. That isn’t to say harass them, but don’t be afraid to send a follow up to your first e-mail if you don’t hear back initially – people do get busy and things can fall through the cracks.

Professional development events are a phenomenal way to meet people that you might otherwise not have had the chance to interact with, but you will only get out of them what you are willing to put in; so be certain to make the effort and ask the tough question, request advice, and follow up. The people that I remember most frequently are those that have been curious, ambitious, and, above all, kind.

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