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Sean Jones’ Advice to Educators: Encourage Professionalism with Students

Teach your students that once they start performing, professionalism is as important as musical skills. 

In How Trumpeter Sean Jones Gets Respect, Jones recounts how he started performing as a child through church.

Today, he teaches his students more than just the fundamentals of performance; he also stresses that professionalism will help students secure gigs and succeed in their musical careers. Here are some ways that educators can encourage professionalism with their students.

Help Find Gigs: Jones learned about many of his gigs from his teachers. With the advent of the internet, Jones says that no one should be left uninformed about potential gigs. Educators can inform their students of new gigs they find online. “Google ‘local jam sessions,'” he says.

Teach Practical Skills: While it may seem self-evident, Jones finds it important to impart a few life lessons on how to exude a professional image. Teachers should tell their students: “Show up on time.Make sure you’re a good person on the bandstand and that you’re dressing for the gig,” Jones says.

Reminder to Follow Up: Educators should let students know the importance of following up after a performance. Staying in touch with other performers can help students keep a gig long-term.

Seize Opportunities: Educators should frame gig acquisition as an active process. They should tell students about searching for gigs, networking with other musicians and seeking out work wherever they can find it. “You can’t sit at home and wait for the phone to ring,” Jones says. “You have to introduce yourself, be in people’s faces, go out there and get it. Every day go after it!”

Photo by Rob Shanahan for Yamaha Corporation of America

This article originally appeared in the 2018 V4 issue of Yamaha SupportED. To see more back issues, find out about Yamaha resources for music educators, or sign up to be notified when the next issue is available, click here.

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