Getting A Job: Options for Percussionists

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A Workshop Presented By Bill Cahn

Concept 1: Know yourself and your resources

a) Answer the Self-Evaluation Form and think about the relevance of the questions to your own situation. There are no right or wrong answers, just YOUR answers;

b) Know what resources are available to help you achieve goals; use them;

c) Be prepared – know the music and know what is expected of you.

Concept 2: Have a Plan of Action

a) If you are still a student, find a good teacher – one who motivates you and with whom you enjoy learning; if you are a professional, seek colleagues who are fully committed to the same musical interests which inspire you, and then share experiences (e.g. go to their performances or invite them to your performances);

b) Find the time to go to concerts, especially by performers who play the kind of music to which you aspire;

c) As soon as possible, go where the kind of music you aspire to is being performed regularly, and insert yourself into that network so that you know the network and the network knows you;

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d) Every time you perform, consider it to be the most important thing in your life – do your best to make it as good as you can;

e) Try to keep music-making fun – remember what it was about music that you liked when you first started to play;

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f) Listen to your teachers, to colleagues, to audiences, to managers, to students, to everyone until you clearly understand what they are saying; then listen to your “inner voice” and decide what is the best action for you to take;

g) When you know what you want to do, ask yourself “what steps – small or large – can I take right now to move me towards my goal(s).

Concept 3: Develop a positive attitude in all interactions with others

a) Have as a goal to do the best you possibly can, even if it’s not perfect;

b) Be respectful to EVERYONE with whom you interact – colleagues, students, audiences, stage crews, managers, EVERYONE – always assume that they also want to do their best;

c) Be positive; rather than telling others about your personal problems, be prepared to offer solutions when asked.

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Concept 4: Flexibility

a) Most people today change jobs every 3 to 5 years. However, opportunities are everywhere. Having the skills to be flexible, having the ability to listen to what one’s market (the other people one serves) is saying, and having the creativity to make changes to serve one’s market better – these are the best forms of job security a person in any field of work can have today.

b) Continue to develop new skills – musical and business:

* leadership skills – presenting a positive and supportive attitude to others.

* listening skills – the ability to assess the effect of one’s actions on others by asking them, and listening to what they say. This is marketing.

* public speaking skills and advocacy for music. This is promotion.

* financial skills – the basic ability to understand and use budgeting, accounting, and financial analysis. This is financial management.

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c) Try to think in general terms (i.e. the big picture) – “to play all positions and win as a team.”

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© 2001 William L. Cahn, 8740 Wesley Road, Bloomfield, NY 14469 USA

The Business of Music

Presented By Bill Cahn



What do you want to do when you graduate from college?_______________________________

What do you want to be doing 5 years from now?______________________________________

What do you want to be doing 10 years from now?_____________________________________

What do you want to be doing when you retire?________________________________________

Do you have a career plan of action?_________________________________________________


Rank the following in their order of importance to you (1,2,3,etc.):

Career (working at your job and developing your business) _______

Family (caring for and spending time with spouse, children, parents) _______

Health (physical & mental) _______

Money (making it, managing it) _______

Prestige/Fame (image, promotion, publicity, etc.) _______

Recreation (fun, leisure, travel, sports, etc.) _______

Other _____________________________________________ _______


What do you think are your best strengths in achieving your goals?_________________________

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What do other people tell you are your best strengths in achieving your goals?_________________

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What do you think are your weaknesses in achieving your goals?___________________________


What do other people tell you are your weaknesses in achieving your goals?__________________



Who have you asked for advice in achieving your goals?_________________________________

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Who else can you ask for advice in achieving your goals?_________________________________

Where can you get information that will help you to achieve your goals? _____________________


What resources do you have to help you achieve your goals? (education, experience, friends)


For Information About Music Business Workshops Contact :

William L. Cahn, 8740 Wesley Road, Bloomfield, NY 14469

Tel/Fax: (585) 582-2508