Guest blog: Pro vs. student – It’s in your head

head_heatmapby Danielle Marcelle Bond

I recently had the pleasure of working with a great artist who is at the early stages of his career — just out of college, and with incredible talent. Yet I could see he was held back, because he was still thinking as a “student.” This is a common problem with new grads, as so many universities forget to tell their students that they have to become professionals in mind as well as on paper.

This young man mentioned he had been part of a master class with a famous musician, and although it was impressive to meet the musician, but he hadn’t been very nice. When I asked him what he meant, he said, “Well, he didn’t treat us very well. He forgot we were students.” I was horrified! First, what a compliment to have a musician of such stature treat you like a colleague rather than a student. But most importantly, YOU are the one who has to stop treating yourself as a student, even if you’re still in school.

You have to make the choice to be a professional. I see this not only in current students, but in many emerging artists. While observing another master class, I saw the people who were waiting to sing texting, doing Sudoku, making comments while their colleagues were singing. I couldn’t believe that the teacher didn’t kick them out. I certainly noticed, and I would never be able to refer these people for any gigs. The reason why has nothing to do with their voices — they aren’t acting professionally, and my referral puts my name on the line, too.

One of the greatest things about LA is that we have so many projects going on around us, all the time. If I work with a stellar sightreader, I make a note of them in case I’m asked for referrals in another session. If you’re a singer with a beautiful voice that’s new to the scene, I’ll send you a note for a networking event.  Or if you’ve got a great R&B voice and I get asked to do a R&B solo, I’ll say “I’m booked that night. Can I send you a link to a fantastic female R&B singer that would be available?” (I do not have a good solo R&B voice!) Sending in someone awesome is almost as good as booking the job yourself. And the majority of professional musicians in LA are also listening and watching others in their gigs. People remember great singers. and they remember the ones who were annoying to work with (coming in late, talking while others are rehearsing, not paying attention.)

Treat your studies, in school or privately, as a professional would. Approach your research and internships like a professional. Do the same with your interviews, networking…everything that can be of benefit to your career. It should all be treated with the respect you hope for from others.

Learn more about Danielle by visiting her website.


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