How to Identify Potential Mentors, for Music Professionals

There are few resources in your career more valuable than a trusted mentor. In this post I will share with you: 

  • What is a mentor, who needs one, and why?
  • Two short quizzes (one question each) that will give you my personalized recommendations for where to look for your next potential mentor, based on your career stage and situation.

What is a mentor, who needs one, and why?

  • A mentor is someone who is at least five years ahead of you careerwise, and who has had success walking the road you're on.
  • A mentor is different from a colleague because the mentor gains value from sharing her wisdom and seeing mentees succeed. Colleagues are in a more reciprocal relationship (give and take). The mentor wants to share her knowledge and experience to make an impact in lives of others.
  • A mentor is different from a teacher, too. You may have had a music teacher who has mentored you at some point. But you also need to be seeking mentors in your chosen profession, whether that be performing, starting a music teaching studio, marketing other musicians as a music professional, or starting an online business in music.
  • If you think mentors are just for the beginning of your career, think again. Mentors are not just for young professionals--you should seek mentors throughout your career. But the kind of mentors you seek out will change depending on the stage of journey you're in: 
  • Shane Snow calls finding a mentor one of the most important "smartcuts" you can take, because a mentor. significantly reduce the number of hours (or more likely years) it takes to you to get to mastery.

Get your personalized recommendations: Where to look for your next life-changing mentors.

Take some time now to generate a list of potential mentors who can help you get to the next level in your career. I want to give you four factors to consider when generating your list.

First, download the worksheet linked at the bottom of this article so you can fill in your own information. Or alternately, create your own blank document from scratch to capture information.

First, reflect on two questions: What stage of the journey am I in? and What is my situation? This sounds obvious, but until you get clarity about our situation, it can feel impossible to see your own next step, let alone know where to go looking for a mentor. Select the options that best describe you below, and then click submit to reveal what kind of mentor you should be seeking out next.

1. Which best describes where you're at as a music professional?

Search for mentors in related fields.

Another secret to developing great mentors is to look beyond your particular field or domain. Often times, a breakthrough idea comes from applying insights learned through a mentor in another field. So in addition to mentors in your field, you should seek out top performers in related fields to consistently be exposed to fresh approaches and strategies. 

To get you started, I've brainstormed a couple of potential fields you should be considering, based on your particular situation. Select the situation that best describes you to see my suggestions, then continue brainstorming additional fields on your own, based on your needs and experience.

2. Which best describes your situation? *

Download the Complete Recommendations as a PDF. 

Enter your email below to get a PDF version of my recommendations for your career stage and situation, so that you can keep it and refer back to it when you reach the next level of your career.


Were my recommendations right on? Way off? Share your reactions with me in the comments. What would it mean to you and your career if you could find a great mentor?