A music mentor may not be something you’ve considered in the past, especially if you are an independent musician. If you’re like me, you like to do as much as you can by yourself.

Instead of a music mentor, you like to use your money to record new albums, press CDs and buy cool merch to sell to your fans.

You’ve probably never even thought about hiring a music mentor.

But what if that mentor could teach you all of the shortcuts to success?

Every industry has someone who is successful.

That person knows how to succeed and now that they’ve done it, they know exactly what it takes and they can pass that insider info on to you.

That’s what a great mentor is.

A great music mentor will not only teach you the shortcuts but will also stretch you, help you meet the right people, improve your playing skills and up your mental game. They’ll give you a safe place to grow and learn without feeling like you’re being judged.

One thing to note, music mentorship can be a humbling experience if you have a “I know it all” type of attitude.

If you’re serious about being successful and making it—you need a mentor.

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Mentors provide information and knowledge.

I think this is pretty obvious but often overlooked. It reminds me of when I first started playing guitar. I was obsessed (still am). I literally practiced 12 hours a day. The problem was that I was practicing all wrong.

It wasn’t until I got my first music mentor, my first guitar teacher, that I was able to really make some leaps and bounds.

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
-Benjamin Franklin

Mentors can see where we need to improve where we often cannot.

My first guitar teacher answered questions that I couldn’t find the answers to on my own. He was also able to fix my hand positioning and teach me new ways to play things I thought I had already mastered. His knowledge came from years of practicing, playing and experience.

The same holds true for a music mentor. There’s a good chance that your music mentor will have seen your current situation before and be able to give you some advice on how to get to the next level.

“Mentors have a way of seeing more of our faults that we would like. It’s the only way we grow.”
-George Lucas

A good music mentor will keep you motivated.

It may surprise some people that Jimi Hendrix had low points in his playing, but he did.

Even with his unique style that has yet to be replicated.

One of the things he said has kept me motivated over the years. It is this:

The same holds true for making a living in the music industry. You need to push through the low times and stick with it. A good music mentor will be right beside you cheering you on and pushing you when you would otherwise give up.

Use different mentors for different reasons.

There is no one-size fits all music mentor so having more than one mentor is huge.  Annabel Acton, in her Forbes article, Why You Need A Mentor And How To Get One, says, “Like most of us, mentors have differing areas of expertise and can be called upon when you need their skills the most.”

So, if you are trying to land a recording contract you need to find a music mentor that has helped artists and bands do that in the past. In addition, a music mentor in the same genre would probably know the shortest route to your destination.

Start locally first, then look elsewhere.

Quite often we overlook what is right in front of us. Before tapping into any global resources go local. Talk to artists and band that have a decent following. Get advice from them and ask if you can call on them from time to time for advice. Chances are, they’ll be more than happy to share what they’ve learned.

Another thing you can do is hire a music mentor who’s been there and done that.

One such service is Industri Connect.

I got with Trae Eley, the CEO of Industri Connect and music mentor expert, and asked some questions about choosing a music mentor.

Quick note: GigFaster has no affiliation with Industri Connect nor do we make any money if you use their services.

1. Why is getting outside/insider advice important?

Getting advice from an industry insider is important because it saves you time and money.  Industry pros know what’s going on in the industry – they know the trends, what works and what doesn’t and more importantly this is what they do all day everyday.

Part of their job is to communicate with other pros to keep their current clients on trend and relevant so they have the inside scoop and their finger on the industry “pulse”.  They know what tours, festivals and opportunities already exist and what is yet to come.

2. What is your advice for choosing a mentor?

Choosing a mentor can be tricky but not impossible.  This is the same for choosing a manager. Make sure you have your “ducks in a row” and have done some work on your own already. The mentor should be someone who has already achieved for artists what you this to achieve for yourself.

Start out by emailing your prospective mentor and ask a couple of questions.  From there see if you can schedule a call and ask more questions.  Again, make sure you have done your homework for both your career as well as know the history of the mentor.  Take your time and always ask great questions.

3. What famous mentors are available for your services?

We have several amazing mentors available currently.

For managers – We currently have artist managers who have worked with such artists as Linkin Park, Volbeat ,Saving Abel, Fear factory, Biohazard just to name a few.

We have producers who have worked with P!nk, The Rolling Stones, Weezer, Diana Ross, Killswitch Engage, Anthrax and Stone Sour and more.

4. Give examples of who and why a band would benefit from choosing them as a mentor.

There’s a saying that goes “you only get one bite of the apple”. In the music biz, you only have one shot to submit to any label.  Often times they will either pass or say “show me more of what you got” or you may blow their socks off and end up with a deal.

The truth is, usually after you receive a “No” from a label, you cannot resubmit.

Our pros work with these labels everyday and know what they are looking for, know what’s trending and what’s out.  Speaking with one of our pros gives you an advantage because you get somewhat of a “free pass” when speaking with them.

They will not give you a hard “no”, they will work with you and give you solid advice to get you ready to present your best products to labels, managers, talent agents and so on. You have an advantage, not a wasted opportunity.

Also, you may be able to work with a pro who will develop you and mentor you as apposed to just turning you down or worse not respond to you at all.

Our pros are experienced in the areas of “Artist Development” and they are excellent at giving you advice that is spot on and will instantly change how you are perceived as an artist in this industry.  You will receive the exact same advice and developing as artist do, without the long term commitment.

Closing Thoughts

A music mentor might just be the missing link or next step in your music career. Music mentors will help show you what you need to focus on. They’ll push you and help you grow as a musician and in the music business. Start locally in your search for a mentor. Consider services such as Industri Connect as the next step.

Not ready for a mentor? No problem! Trae and I put together a free guide that will teach you 5 tips to get massive exposure in the next 5 months. Click here to get instant access.

Craig Kelley

About Craig Kelley

Craig helps upcoming artists book more gigs @ GigFaster. He recently released my 7th album, Not So Blue. His band has supported Grammy artists including Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Rick Derringer, Gary Hoey, Joan Jett, Fuel and many more. http://craigkelley.com