There have been points in my life when I’ve been the new kid in the musical town. “Hey, yeah, I play the bass. Yup. Call me.” It seems like it can take months or even years to find your niche in a music community, so one of the first things I’ve done in the past is network. (See our post, “How to Find Gigs: Musical Networking.”)
To start, it’s helpful look up all the local classical music organizations you can find online: symphonies, chamber orchestras, pit/opera orchestras, community music schools, violin shops, etc. Most have websites with contact emails and phone numbers and you can just go from there.
But in the process of looking for a musical group with which to play, I don’t know if I ever considered this [brilliant, perhaps?] idea entrepreneurial musicians use all the time, which is to START YOUR OWN GROUP.
What has me reflecting on this concept is recently watching some friends of mine come together to produce and perform their own musical (“The Taffetas”) to raise funds for a charity organization called Feed My Starving Children. Then I got an email from a violist wanting to organize a small chamber group to perform Christmas music.
I think most of my life I’ve been the passive musician waiting for someone to contact me about performing. I’m not sure if I’ve ever been the active musician creating the group with which to play. What a novel idea!
So if you’re sitting around with your instrument and all the talent you’ve developed thinking that opportunities to perform or gig for moolah are nowhere to be found, have you ever thought to create your own opportunity to perform? Have you ever thought to reach out to other musicians and create your own
- Private teaching studio
- Recording studio
- Musical theater production
- Bluegrass group
- Performing club
- Monthly house concert series
- Community music school
- Music playgroup for children
- Nursing home performing troupe
- Music store (Take the example of Kennedy Violins founder, Joel Kennedy. What was once a simple vision has become an inspiring and influential resource for classical musicians.)
Maybe we should all take a break from practicing and actually PERFORM, right? Who knows what could happen if you become the one contacting musicians instead of standing by waiting to be contacted. Great things, I imagine.