For those of you who have a handle on what Tin Pan South is, we can now discuss how to make the most of your time. Here are a few helpful ideas, reminders, and highlights to consider when mapping out your music listening schedule for next week.
4. Have a plan. By this point you have visited the official website, bought the pass or decided to take the pay as you go route, and you know who you want to see – but what now?? Since venues fill up and the nights are unpredictable because you don’t have a traditional ticket to enter a show, you should put into place the Plan A, B & C strategy. Don’t forget that there are other music venues not related to Tin Pan South that will have boisterous lineups full of local singer/songwriters ready for Tin Pan patrons that couldn’t make it into their planned events. You may not have to resort to secondary plans, but to have them just in case will ensure an enjoyable listening experience. When you know you which songwriters you want to see, you can locate their shows on the master list and go from there.
The venues are spread all over Nashville so you may want to carpool if you can since parking is limited in general – not to mention when additional fans enter the town just for this event. To make lines go faster, you could also have cash on hand. Also, as you plan your time, know that NSAI will be open Saturday, April 3, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for anyone to stop by the Music Mill for a quick tour, put a face with a name, get directions, see a few Pro-writer performances, learn about The Bluebird Café or just check your email.
5. Be ready to network. Crowds are filled with peers, fans, publishers, artists, and up-and-coming songwriters. This is an ideal time to make connections with the people who are making musical decisions in Nashville. Without crossing the line into traveling salesman territory, be prepared to say what you do, where you are from, what your goals are, etc… Of course, always carry business cards to hand out when meeting people. But this is truly a time to appreciate the music of this town and make friends. Try not to miss the humanity behind the titles, hits, and accomplishments. Connect with people on an honest level and the rest will come in time.
6. Prepare for inspiration. As you witness a Tin Pan South round, remember the struggle behind the song. Behind the microphones, guitars, and keyboards sit survivors. They didn’t quit when their family told them to come home. They ignored the personal demons that told them their songs will never get cut. They have overcome rejection of their talent and songs and even wrestled with addictions. Some of them probably still sit in awe of the fact that they get the opportunity to sing their songs and that people care about them. Before their success they sat in an audience just like you and wondered if they would ever get to perform at an event like this.
Don’t leave these events thinking, “I will never make it in this town.” Rest assured that attributes like humility, patience and perseverance will build stronger writers than praise and over night success could ever develop. Listen to the clever lyrics and moving melodies and push harder. Never measure yourself to where someone else is or where you want to be. Measure your progress and level of success on where you came from.