overhead shot of chairs and music stands arranged on a stage“Music has to be recognized as an agent of social development, in the highest sense because it transmits the highest values – solidarity, harmony, mutual compassion.”*
-Jose Antonio Abreu, founder of El Sistema

American orchestras are contracting as budget deficits compel ensembles such as the Atlanta Symphony to shorten their seasons and cancel concerts.

One impact of this crisis is that people who enjoy hearing classical music in Atlanta and other cities now have fewer concerts to attend.

An Opportune Time for Entrepreneurial Musicians

That reduction in concerts, as unfortunate as it is, creates opportunities for entrepreneurial musicians to reach out to classical music lovers and fill the concert gap.

Here are 6 ways that soloists and chamber groups might do so.

1. Start Summer Concert Series

Orchestras are reducing costs by eliminating summer concerts, which increases the viability of summertime performance series at venues such as churches and recital halls.

2. Target Vacated Dates

Along with giving up on summer seasons, some orchestras are cutting performances during other time periods and on certain days of the week.

Those vacated dates allow independent musicians to more readily fill halls.

3. Partner with Arts Organizations

In pursuing performance innovations, classical musicians can partner with local agencies charged with adding vibrancy to their communities.

For instance, musicians might perform at community festivals that haven’t previously featured classical music and thereby help ignite enthusiasm for classical music among new and estranged audiences.

4. Perform in Community Settings

Throughout the year, musicians can present educational concerts at the likes of schools, retirement communities, and libraries.

Performers might write grants to fund free-admission performances and then offer listeners discounted tickets to attend their other shows.

5. Collaborate with Resource-Rich Organizations

Private organizations such as country clubs enroll members who appreciate live music and are able to pay for it.

Musicians can develop programs for those populations and then involve newly engaged audiences in supporting their other community initiatives.The Musician's Way book cover

6. Present Relevant Programs

People are drawn to arts experiences that feel relevant to them.

Musicians who offer compelling concert programs are best positioned to attract diverse audiences and contribute to “solidarity, harmony, and mutual compassion” in their local communities and beyond.

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*Tricia Tunstall, Changing Lives: El Sistema, Gustavo Dudamel, and the Transformative Power of Music (2012), p. 273

See The Musician’s Way for guidelines to grow your programming and presentation skills. 

© 2013 Gerald Klickstein
Photo © Claudio Zaccherini, licensed from Shutterstock.com