Are you a musician looking for a friendly-faced group of fellow tune lovers? Are you a future artist manager looking to network and get ahead early? What about a writer searching for places to publish your masterpieces? No matter who you are or what you do, there is community in Madison to satisfy your music desires.
In a culturally rich area like Madison, the opportunities to explore music are endless. These are 10 tips to finding success as a student musician in Madison.
1) Join WUD Music
This university organization hosts events designed to teach artists skills that are essential in the entertainment industry. In WUD Music, you’ll work with music-lovers and musicians to book shows, scout talent and promote and run concerts around campus.
Bonus — WUD Music puts on free concerts around campus and you don’t need to be a member in order to attend!
2) Experience Music Matters
This organization combines social activism and music to create a community of future music industry leaders. Here, you can attend guest speaker events, concerts and networking events with other like-minded folks on campus.
Bonus — Music Matters partners with other groups on campus to put on concerts, like WUD Music & Music Matters WUDstock event in the spring!)
3) Take part in the WSUM Radio crew
Want your voice heard by 40,000+ people? Well you can do just that on the 91.7 FM airwaves by hosting a talk show or radio broadcasting. Not so comfortable in the spotlight? Write for the WSUM student radio blog, assist with social media and promotions or create your own podcast series!
Bonus — stop by their convenient location in the East Campus Mall to meet the station’s mascot, Syd the Snake!
4) PYOP (Pull your own permits)
Whether you a member of an up-and-coming band or a solo artist with a big stage presence, the city of Madison makes it easy for you to show off what you’ve got! In order to perform in a public space in Madison, you will need to pull a permit and reserve a spot downtown within a specified time slot. Some popular locations include Library Mall, Rotary Plaza and Concrete Park (Frances Plaza). Check out their website for a list of prices, locations and times.
Bonus — the locations have electrical outlets for amps, speakers and lights during your show!
5) Attend a variety of concerts
Mad-town is known for its lively social scene, and music is the underlying melody that ties it all together. There are concerts happening all the time on the Isthmus — you just have to know where to look. For big, ticketed concerts, check out the Sylvee, the Majestic, Orpheum, the Overture, High Noon Saloon and the Kohl Center. For more intimate shows, take a listen at Mickey’s Tavern, Up North Bar and the Wisconsin Brewing Company.
6) Join the LÜM platform
This Madison-based online streaming and social platform allows you to follow local musicians or post your own material. LÜM, which stands for Live Undiscovered Music, focuses on building an online community of emerging artists. According to the platform’s website, users interact with the content by sending virtual “gifts” to their favorite artists and joining Creator Clubs to interact with local venues and similar artists.
Bonus — to access exclusive, behind the scene content from other users, join their Creator Club!
7) Get publishing, design and marketing experience
Interested in promotions, design, marketing or journalistic writing in the entertainment industry? Join one of the University of Wisconsin’s many student publications! Some of these include the EMMIE Magazine, MODA Magazine, the ArtsEtc column in The Badger Herald, the Performing Arts section of the Daily Cardinal or one of the music clubs’ blogs on campus.
Bonus — you don’t need previous experience to join these organizations!
8) Join an a capella group on campus
UW has a lot of aca-mmodating vocal groups on campus. Bad puns aside, there is a large variety of groups that each spotlight something different from the rest. Whether you’re looking for a competitive group, singing for fun or learning to perform a variety of music genres, UW A Capella has a place for you.
Bonus — you can join a variety of gender-inclusive groups!
9) Join the Music Therapy Association
It seems unlikely at first glance that music, psychology or biology have anything common, but the Music Therapy Association opens the door to plenty of opportunities merging multiple disciplines with music. Learn about how music applies to other fields of study and help organize and participate in music performances.
Bonus — MTA has performed in hospitals, nursing homes and health clinics!
10) Hit the books!
Taking a music-focused class at UW is a great way to meet fellow musicians and gain practical experience. There are a plethora of different class options tailored to suit different interests and performance styles. Want to learn music theory? Music 151 might come in handy. Interested in the 1920-50s Big Bands? Music 205 is calling your name. Browse a full list of music courses here and music performance classes here.
Bonus — lots of music classes include a performance section if you are looking to continue your musical training into college!