In the music industry, there are many things you need to survive. Those of you that have visited this site before may have already read a previous article on the things all musicians need to be successful. If you haven’t, feel free to check it out after reading this. But, if you have read it, you’ll remember one of the sections spoke about getting advice. This is crucial as you need to receive as much help as possible. Where does good advice come from? Usually, it comes from music mentors – these are people with experience in the industry, and they dedicate their time to helping you out.
With that in mind, today’s post will focus on mentors and how you find the best ones. Some mentors are much better than others, but how do you differentiate?
Do they charge a fee?
This is a brilliant place to start as it tackles a key problem in the music industry. If a mentor is charging a fee, they aren’t a mentor. They’re a consultant or a manager – mentors should be free! The whole idea of mentorship is that you take someone under your wing and pass down your knowledge. It’s about giving back, not taking from aspiring musicians. Thankfully, there are lots of musicians and music industry experts that do give information and advice for free. There are people like Joey Armstrong of SWMRS who put all this info online in the form of blog posts. This is an easy way to learn about different aspects of the industry and understand what you should and shouldn’t do. If someone is trying to charge you for being your mentor, it’s not a good sign.
What experience do they have?
Experience in the music industry is essential as they can relate to what you’re going through. Similarly, it helps if they have experience that mimics your own career path. For instance, let’s say you’re trying to make it in a rock band. It’s much better if you find a mentor that has been down the same path as you because their experiences will be far more relative to your own. So, make the general music industry experience a top priority, focusing on mentors that can relate strongly to yourself.
How approachable/available are they?
Lastly, how easy is it to approach your mentor? Are they available whenever you need them? Obviously, it’s a bit much to ask a mentor to be available 24/7. However, you should feel comfortable contacting them whenever you need help, safe in the knowledge that they’ll reply. Ideally, the best mentor will actually approach you without being pushed. They’ll reach out to you after performances or just on a whim, asking how you are and if you need some advice. It shows they’re eager to help, which is exactly what you want/need.
So, when you’re looking for a mentor to guide you through the music industry, ask yourself these three questions. The perfect mentor will offer help for free, be easy to approach, and carry the experience necessary to assist you.