One thing they don't teach you in music school...

Berklee was awesome for many things. In my time there I learned about music theory, tonal harmony, trained my ear and improved my drumming. But there was one thing that school didn't teach me and that was how to connect with other people.

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How eavesdropping landed me a SiriusXM gig


One day I was at my favorite coffee shop in Boulder and I overhead two people talking. I heard a name I recognized. When I felt a lull in their conversation I went over and politely introduced myself, mentioned our common connection, and traded contact information with both people.


Later that day I emailed one of them because I noticed he had some information about a TV show pilot coming up. I offered to write music for it, and sent him some examples of my work.


One thing led to another, and we ended up recording a full live band for the show, and we composed the original theme for CIA Moms. Check out the project breakdown here.


A few years later, I was the first call when the writer had another project produced by SiriusXM and I ended up writing and producing music for the SiriusXM podcast Comic-Con Begins.


These were both such great opportunities that came out of one silly in-person connection. The point here is simply that it can never hurt to talk to someone, whether it's someone sitting next to you, your cashier, or a complete stranger with a common interest.


How To Connect


First, let's drop the terms 'networking' and 'making connections'. Your intention should never be to add another human to your contact list, and you should never immediately think about how a stranger can benefit you when you first start talking. It's like dating.


You want to be genuinely interested in the other person. Not only because you want to be polite, but because you want to know if they are even someone to be interested in in the first place! Find where your common connections are, and approach each conversation with the sole intent of learning about another human.


Don't have your outcome planned before you start talking to them: "I'm going to give them a business card and they're totally going to hire me for their next project". People don't hire strangers just because they gave them a business card. You have to actually make a connection with the person on a human level, and expect nothing else.


Best case scenario, maybe they like you and decide they like your work and want to do a project with you. You might even make a new friend. Worst case scenario, you at least put yourself out there and connected with a new human in person; something that seems to be dwindling.