Hey, did you know it’s good for you to be friends with your fellow students? I’m always surprised when people are shocked about this. It may be something about the majors I’m in, but many people I know were genuinely surprised at how many career musicians got to where they are today based on the people they know. It’s something business majors have pounded into their skulls, but music majors are never really taught. That, combined with the innate competitiveness (and therefore Drama) of the music field, leads a lot of musicians to burning bridges in college without realizing it. So here are four reasons why you should be friendly to all of your classmates!
Having a kind reputation is an advantage! If you’re auditioning for something at your school, or if someone is looking for potential small group members, being known as someone who’s nice is a huuuuge advantage. If there’s a tie between you and someone else, the tiebreaker more often than not ends up being “who would the auditioner like to see on a regular basis.” That is usually the person who’s nicer. That means the person who doesn’t gossip, who doesn’t rag on people behind their backs, and doesn’t complain (much) about what they think is unfair. So being friendly will help you out while you’re still in school!
It sets up habits for the long term. If you’re already in the habit of being friendly with those around you, and not going with the back-stabbing flow, then you’re not going to have to retrain yourself for the professional world. Meanwhile, if you think “whatever, I can talk about how awful Megan’s high note was, this isn’t the real world,” well, don’t. There’s nothing that will kill a career faster than shit-talking behind someone’s back in the professional sphere. The musical world is tiiiiiiny. It will eventually get back to the person you were talking about, and they will have some connection with the next group of people you try to audition for, or the ones after that. It’s gonna happen. And then you will be SOL, just because you couldn’t follow advice from Bambi. If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.
Friendly people are more likely to help you out. When was the last time a sworn enemy of yours sent you a job listing? Unless it was for something along the lines of “sewer maintenance worker,” I’m gonna bet never. People you’re friends with will be way more likely to tell you about cool stuff you can apply for, or give you advice if you need it. People you feuded with? Less likely.
Friendly people are more likely to hire you. This is honestly the most important point on the list. If you’ve pissed off that one classmate of yours who goes on to make it big? You’re not getting to use that connection. That is, in fact, an anti-connection. That’s a connection that will actively make it harder for you to get yourself hired anywhere. As a musician, the last thing you need is anything to make it harder for you to find work. Don’t burn bridges. Don’t treat people poorly in your undergrad, or ever. Make friends now, and they’ll help you out in the long term – trust me.
Long story short: make friends. Keep them. Don’t be a meanie-butt. Take those lessons you learned in kindergarten, and put them to good use. I swear it will be worth it in the long run. Plus, you know, you get friends out of the deal, which I think is worth it on its own.