“Elevate both your music making and your confidence to the highest possible levels.”
–The Musician’s Way, p. 201
Rising performers who put on their own public concerts reap numerous benefits.
They advance their careers, polish their artistic identities, refine their programming and presentation skills, earn income, build confidence, gain business savvy, attract followers and reviewers, and much more.
Problem is, emerging artists often lack awareness of how to produce public events, and few music schools address the topic in detail.
As a result, many young musicians who could be performing widely don’t appear much because they’re unsure of the steps involved in presenting concerts and aren’t established enough to be booked by presenters.
To help musicians further their performance careers, this post introduces an 8-part framework to guide young performers to mount self-produced concerts.
Bear in mind that producing successful events requires both knowledge and experience, so, to best use this framework, inexperienced performers do well to work with mentors at each stage.
1. Target. Identify who your target audiences are, and then think deeply about what would motivate them to attend your concert.
2. Curate. With your audience in mind, design a compelling concert program that fits your style, will appeal to your intended listeners, and you can readily perform.
3. Organize. Recruit collaborators, select a venue, plan rehearsals, deal with piano tuning, address sound reinforcement, manage any required performance rights and event insurance, choose a ticket service, etc. Make a precise list of steps far in advance of a concert date.
Tip: If you’ve never produced a concert, to simplify planning and reduce costs, choose a venue that provides insurance and has licenses to perform copyrighted music.
4. Fund. Create a budget showing all of your expenses and sources of income, including monies you expect to fundraise and earn from ticket sales. Plan any fundraising with care. If you can’t be certain that you’ll meet your financial obligations, trim expenses.
5. Market. Two months or more in advance of a concert date, send out press releases, begin promoting your event on social media, and otherwise spread the word.
6. Present. Manage the staging, lighting, box office, audience seating and so forth.
7. Perform. Take charge on stage and make every phrase ring out; speak engagingly but concisely to enhance your connection with listeners.
8. Evaluate. Seek feedback from collaborators, audience members and mentors – use what you learn to make your subsequent concerts even more successful.
Lastly, before you produce elaborate concerts, start small: put together one or more straightforward events, maybe free-admission public concerts in partnership with community venues such as churches. In that way, you can practice curating, organizing and promoting, learn from your experiences, and not shoulder burdensome financial risk.
In time, your insights into all aspects of concert production and presentation will help rocket you to become the artist and professional you aspire to be.