Quite often, in the music industry (and even in school bands), you will find that there will be times where you will be excluded – not even considered, passed up on for a job opportunity, or not included for any variety of reasons.

How you handle these situations, will help you maintain a healthy career and positive outlook, or the exact opposite if handled poorly.

Each person develops their own way of dealing with rejection and being left out. Some better handle it better than others.

Some of the obvious reactions are acting indifferent, becoming frustrated or angry, or interpreting it as an opportunity to improve and grow. Depending on how YOU choose to react, you can continue to enjoy doing music your own way, work unhappily the way others decide for you, or become frustrated and quit music all together. It is up to you to decide which way is the path that you’ll take.

For young musicians, you may be excluded from a number of opportunities due to your age. Even if you play well enough to take part, your age can be a restriction (it can also be huge door opener). At this stage, it’s a part of who you are and you need to learn to accept it and use it to your advantage. If people discredit you for your age rather than accepting the merit of your musicianship, it’s their loss. There are plenty of opportunities for young talented musicians. It’s a matter of connecting with the right people. If you are left out, shrug your shoulders, try to figure out why and if it has nothing to do with the way you play, say “oh well” and move on. Don’t dwell on rejection.

Like young musicians, female musicians can also face situations where they may be left out (or included) for matters outside of their abilities as a musician. For females, many biases come along with the gender. It is often automatically assumed (although this is becoming less and less common) that a female will not or cannot be as good as a guy because of reasons including not being aggressive enough. These opinions can make it difficult to be accepted as a musician (it was not until the 1970s that women were really able to work in orchestras – you can read our interview with bassist Carol Kaye to learn about some of the hardships that female musicians have faced because of their gender).

Male or female, young or old, it is important to approach things with a mature business sense and not take anything that happens personally (even if you feel that it might have been). Music is a business and even when others are not “playing fair,” you should make every effort to run your business professionally. This ensures that your decisions are logical and mature rather than rash and not well thought out.

Have you ever been left out? What did you learn from it? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!

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Published by Shannon Kennedy

Shannon Kennedy is a vocalist and saxophonist living in Southern California. She is author of "The Album Checklist" and the founder of Teen Jazz. She has been contributing articles to music magaizines and websites since 2004.