Networking is an important tool for getting your work out into the greater world. And, CMN is one of the best tools available. When seeking my first job, my dad and mom kept saying, “It’s who you know.” At first I scoffed at that seemingly snooty comment, but have to admit, it’s held up time after time to be true.
Take Carrie Fleming, a nationally board certified teacher who I met 10 years ago on a 90-minute plane trip. She co-authored my first self-published book, “Hunk-Ta-Bunk-Ta Boo ARTS—connecting music to national standards curriculum. That plane ride turned into an autumn kick-off performance at her school then expanded to 5 years and 50 shows in that one community.
Grand Junction, CO
While working in Nashville for NSAI Nashville Songwriter’s Association International, a man named Tom Sykes walked in and we started talking. He had two children so I gave him a CD. The next month, he offered me a record/TV deal with the Turner Network (Tom left and the company re-shuffled), then after he moved over to Warner Brothers, (again, a re-shuffle there so no contract). But the two of us did end up co-writing a song for the re-release of the King Kong Movie.
When I was presenting the keynote at the New Mexico Early Childhood Education conference, a publisher who worked at Silver Burdett-Ginn Publishing invited me to dinner and we had a great one-on-one conversation about children, our lives and music. She hired me to write two new songs for their early childhood music program.
A gentleman approached me after I performed at the YMCA Camp of the Rockies, and asked if I would be interested in touring with the US Department of Defense. That initial personal connection resulted in 4 tours performing for military family audiences around the globe. Northern Europe (twice), the Mediterranean (6 weeks) and the Pacific Rim (with my band).
And finally, there is always CMN. The listserv, song library, international conference, regional groups, Facebook Live and this new blog—are all places where you can network and get just about any information you need insofar as material, ideas, writing songs or performing for children and family audiences.
It’s where I met:
James Coffey, who designs many websites and produces many CD’s– including mine
Bonnie Lockhart, a singer and CA educator shared “Pajarito” a sweet Mexican folk song, when I was searching for material for my album Hunk-Ta-Bunk-Ta Chants. I recorded it right away.
Patricia Shih, performer, author, documentarian, videographer, and activist created my second video, “Read a Book”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxqiFYs13Sg (video link)
Alice and Dave Burba of Songsforteaching.com; Lisa Heintz, little songbird.com, and so MANY others from CMN are now counted among my circle of friends and peers. They have all enriched my life and life’s work. And thanks to that network, there are always new connections to discover.
10 years ago, advertising experts and publicists said a product could be branded (known) by presenting visual/verbal “reminders” 6-7 times during a campaign. Today, it supposedly takes 11-13. Plus, all those successful brands achieved mass exposure because their million-plus dollar budgets allowed them to purchase top placement in major magazines, television, MacDonald’s Happy Meals, billboards, theaters, etc.
With so much social trafficking these days through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, YouTube, their subsets and countless other media channels, plenty of digital networking tools are available. You can join any or all of those tribes immediately with a simple: follow, like, click, tag, swipe, IM, #, text or comment. Although these digital communities seem active and strong, I wonder if anyone knows, asks or cares if you exit the tribe? More than ever in these fractured times, people need to find one-on-ones within tribal networks—actual people they know and trust where they can communicate face-to-face and heart-to-heart, learn and grow…so ultimately it really does seem to come down to “who you know.”
Aside from CMN, there are many organizations that offer good opportunities for networking and building personal relationships. Here are just a few:
Songs for Teaching, Little Songbird, Music Together, Kindermusik, Pickleberry Pie, TAFFY, NSAI (National Songwriter’s Association International), Gymboree, Musikgarten, Little Kids Rock, American Orff-Schulwerk Association, Suzuki Association of the Americas, Recording Association of America, NARAS (National Associaiton of Recording Arts and Sciences), National Association for Music Education, Kindiecomm, etc.
EDUCATION: Early Childhood Education local, state, regional affiliates and the national umbrella NAEYC. Parent-Teacher Organizations, Homeschoolers, National Kindergarten Alliance, and other age-targeted organizations, National PTA (Parent Teachers Association), PTOtoday, etc.
LIBRARIES and BOOKS: American Library Association, American Association of School Libraries, Association of Library Service to Children. (Local, state and regional systems), National Storytelling Network, American Booksellers Association, National Writer’s Association
ARTS ORGANIZATIONS: National Endowment for the Arts (has good list of state and regional art agencies), Art Associations/organizations, (Local, state regional). Almost every city has a number of them.
PARKS AND RECREATION: National Recreation and Park Association (City, state and regional).
MUSEUMS: Association of Children’s Museums
So get out your device, start googling, and check out one, two, a few or all of these networks. Better yet, find organizations that “fit” and create your own list. Then develop personal relationships within those networks and remember… “it’s who you know.” Happy Networking!