Freelance experience provides students with valuable opportunities to develop professional and career-related skills. In addition to strengthening your artistic or musical abilities, you will also demonstrate and refine communication skills, time management, and contract/fee negotiation - skills which greatly supplement your education. To be successful, it doesn't mean that you need to be actively freelancing 24/7, but you do need to be open to all kinds of opportunities. Consider opportunities which don't pay well, or at all; offer to lend your talents to your friends and family; and don't automatically decline experiences that might require you to commit time, energy and your own funding. These gigs can most often be the most rewarding and can often be included in your portfolio or resume.
Ultimately, the key to freelancing is creating opportunities for yourself. Don't miss a chance to promote your talents, demonstrate your creativity and flexibility, and strengthen your skills for a successful career. There are additional tools that will help you find success in freelancing: resume, biography, portfolio, headshots, website, and business cards. If you are interested in learning more, check the syllabus for Professional Development for the Freelance Artist offered every semester.
For Conservatory students who would like to gain freelance experience (and make a little bit of money) in the Oberlin community, please register with the Conservatory Gig Referral Service, which helps match community members with current Oberlin musicians.