As part of the FOCUS on You program, we offer monthly interactive workshops for young classical music performers and composers to acquire the skills and knowledge needed in the music business. Several conferences attract representatives of the classical music world to learn and network each year. It is a legitimate expectation that if you, as a classical musician, participate in these events without regretting your time, money and energy, you will get the most out of the workshops and conferences. In this article, we have collected some useful tips for this.

Eszter Bodnár

Before the event

1. Choose well!

There are tons of workshops and conferences dealing with classical music business, and each has a different strength. Think about what topics you most need help with, not only in the current situation but also about your plans for the near future. In addition to the personality of the trainers and speakers, pay attention to the form as well. Smaller, interactive events help you to make your ideas known, while larger conferences allow you to connect with more people.

2. Commit your time!

Enter the event in your calendar in advance, try to leave the period free so that you don’t arrive and leave in a hurry, and you don’t have to answer emails, phone calls, or messages during the event, but instead have your full attention.

3. Get ready!

Look over the program, find the lectures that are most interesting to you, and read the biography of the trainer or speakers. If it’s public, check the list of participants to see who you might want to talk to. Think about what your goal is, what you want to improve on, and what questions you want answered.

During the event

4. Take notes!

Taking notes helps you remember what you heard about at the conference, who you talked to, and what thoughts and ideas you had. No one has an infinite memory; it is better to write them down so that you can refer back to what you have learned later.

5. Listen to others!

We often learn the most not from the trainers or lecturers, but from listening to the stories and questions of the other participants. Don’t switch off when others are talking.

6. Be active!

You went to the event to learn and get answers to your questions. To do this, you have to put them up! Feel free to set questions, ask for advice in your dilemmas. Take an active part in the exercises – the trainer brings them because you can learn more effectively.

7. Talk!

Conferences and workshops are an excellent opportunity to get to know people whom you would otherwise not meet or who are inaccessible. Ask the speakers about what they said during the break, audience members about what they heard, their projects, and their life journey at the coffee table. There is a great chance that such an acquaintance will lead to some exciting cooperation in the future.

After the event

8. Take action!
Don’t let everyday life take you away. Look over your notes, and your jotted-down ideas, and try to start working on them right away. Take steps to use what you have learned as soon as possible.

9. Ask!

If you have additional questions during the reflection, feel free to contact the speakers. Usually, either they share their email address themselves, or they can be reached through the organizers.

10. Connect!
Send a short email to those you met at the workshop or conference. Thank them for their ideas, send what you promised, and confirm your intention for future cooperation. Stay in touch with them so it’s not just a one-time encounter.

+1 Pass it on!

Did you learn a lot at a workshop or conference? Use it in your own work, but also share it with others in case it might be interesting for them, too. Recommend the event to them, send reports and videos about it so that others can also benefit from it.