Jump to content
DanJTitchener

How To Achieve A New Focus On Real Performances For Yc

Recommended Posts

Yeah everybody likes the idea of being performed, but it doesn't matter how many composers stand up in support of it, you just need to find the performers. Ask people if they play an instrument; ask them to record the music you've written for that instrument. That's the only way this happens, a website isn't going to do it for you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow I wish the whole world was just an extension of my personal experience where everything is so simple and anybody with this sort of problem is just too stupid or scared to see and enact the solution like it is for this guy

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A case study of new music I've been involved in premiering in the last two years, and how those composers got it done:

1.  Just helped a composer record the premiere of his new oratorio.  He paid for about 50 orchestra members, at union rates.  VERY EXPENSIVE.  He paid for singers to do the solos.  He paid a conductor to conduct them all.  A sound engineer to do the recording.  A rehearsal pianist to work with the choir for two rehearsals.  A production guy to get all these various people organized.  He paid to rent the recording space.  He will pay to have the recordings digitally edited and copies made.  He is a singer himself, so he was able to get enough singing friends to volunteer to be the chorus, but that means it was a small chorus, there were only a few rehearsals, and we weren't a well-balanced group.  Since we were all volunteering, he couldn't push us too hard to practice, or turn away any extra singers who weren't well-prepared.  That may hurt the quality of the final recording.  All of this will have cost him, maybe $100,000 to get a demo CD that he can take out into the world and say, "See, this piece has been performed once, and here's how it sounded."  Chances of selling some of those CDs to help cover some of the cost?  Very small, since no one has heard of the piece before.  He's going to have to give them away and hope they make their way into the hands of important people.  

 

2.  One of the big choirs I sing with commissioned a piece from a composer last year, in honor of our choir's 75th anniversary.  Large music organizations do that fairly frequently.  So, how did this particular composer get the job?  Picture yourself being on the 75th anniversary committee, sitting under flickering fluorescent-lights in your group's practice space.  You decide to have a big party, someone is put in charge of bringing paper plates and napkins, you discuss whether this anniversary is big enough that you should rent out some nice space for the party and hire a professional caterer and invite donors and notify the local arts reporter for the paper.  Someone suggests commissioning a piece as a lasting memorial to the anniversary.  Who you gonna call?  John Williams?  Nope.  He's not going to want to deal with you, unless you are a major symphony or a movie soundtrack.  But everyone in the room probably has a composer friend or two from music school.  You bring samples of their work to the next committee meeting, and you pick the one who seems to do work that would be a good fit for your group.  So, stay in touch with old friends on Facebook so they know you are still composing.  And put links to your new music on the web where it is google-able.  Don't be pushy, just make sure your random acquaintances are aware of what you do for a living, and have a way to check you out if they are curious.  Smaller music organizations, where no one has a composer friend, will often have contests to compose them a piece for an anniversary or other event.  It's totally possible that Merna will be put in charge of advertising the contest, and Merna will have no idea where to advertise it, so google regularly and check weird back-alley music websites for composition contests.  (The church I sing with had a contest to compose a hymn for our anniversary a few years back.  I never heard about the contest until the winner was selected and I work for the music department.  The winning selection was fairly un-sing-able because there were so few pieces submitted for consideration.)

 

3.  The church choir I sing with is always over-budget, because we need an organ prelude and postlude, a choral prayer response, a choral benediction, and two choral anthems, in addition to hymns from the hymnal, for every Sunday and holiday service.  We have a bell choir, three children's choir, a "once in a while" choir for people who sing well but can't make rehearsal every week and a regular adult choir with paid section leaders/soloists.  That's a lot of music.  Even with a good music library, you end up doing the same pieces over.  But buying new music is expensive.  So when our director finds something free from an unknown composer, or in the public domain, he's willing to give it a listen.  We do lots of new music.  Compose sacred music for choir, organ, and piano.  There is such a need for volume of pieces that your chances of getting performed go up.  We do some new work every year.  Usually the composer is some friend of someone's daughter who has just graduated and put their music out there for free.  Again, word of mouth is important.  Stay in touch with people on Facebook.  

 

4.  I'm a soloist and sometimes I get called upon to sing something in particular, but sometimes people just need some music and they leave it up to me and the pianist to choose.  So get your music out to soloists and small chamber groups you know who gig around, or at least make it very google-able in places they are likely to find you.  These are not people with money to burn, so be sure you have good quality samples.  I don't want to shell out for your piece on your website only to find out that there was a key change after the sampled section that takes it out of my range, or that there is a piano bridge in the middle that's just way to difficult to ask the accompanist to learn by Tuesday, given what they are paying her for this assignment.  

 

5.  One of my pieces got performed last year by a middle school choir.  Finding quality music for younger musicians can be a real challenge.  Directors frequently have very lopsided groups.  20 flutes, 20 trumpets, and one french horn.  40 sopranos, 40 altos and one shy bass.  They need music for very specific configurations of instruments or voices that includes everyone, keeps everyone engaged and learning, but isn't too difficult.  Rounds are good for kids just learning to read music.  Since you can teach everyone their parts at the same time, you don't have kids running around the room while you teach just one group.  Partner songs are good for the same reason. The teaching goes faster, so you can keep your class engaged and sight reading doesn't get in the way of music making.  Pieces with a small solo in the middle are good, to challenge that one kid in the class who is already a decent musician from piano lessons, or whatever.  Pieces where the soprano part is a little more challenging, and the bass part is very easy (because you've only got one bass, poor guy.)  Schools generally have some sort of budget for buying new music every year, and the most important factor is that it work for the group of kids they have.  It needs to be sound good enough to keep a middle or high school aged kid interested, (not babyish) but be workable in rehearsal for someone who has never touched a musical instrument before.  Again, make sure your music is googleable.  List specifics about the orchestration so that someone googling "easy flute trumpet tuba" will find your piece in their search results.  Be sure they can preview the sheet music before they buy, so they can be sure it will work before they buy 50 copies.  I only found out the middle school choir did my piece when I stumbled onto a video of them on youtube.  I just put my sheet music out there for free and hope people will be able to find it.  

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah everybody likes the idea of being performed, but it doesn't matter how many composers stand up in support of it, you just need to find the performers. Ask people if they play an instrument; ask them to record the music you've written for that instrument. That's the only way this happens, a website isn't going to do it for you.

 

 

Wow I wish the whole world was just an extension of my personal experience where everything is so simple and anybody with this sort of problem is just too stupid or scared to see and enact the solution like it is for this guy

 

 

You two seem to be totally unaware of the painful experience of being rejected or, even worse, being ignored when you approach performers with your work. The worst thing is when they deny you even their feedback so that it appears that they think your piece is worthless and not even worth their time or their rejection. But of course, they don't want to tell it to you directly.

 

I think many of us composers turn to composition because we are not very good at expressing ourselves in speech, or directly to our fellow men. So it is natural that composers might not be the most social of people (I am talking in general). Moreover, it would not come naturally to many of us to look at our performer friends as mere means for our pieces to get performed. Personally, I wouldn't think of doing that except rarely. It would jeopardize the friendship when the performer friend doesn't want to perform my pieces but doesn't want to hurt my feelings either. 

 

Most performers are, just like you as a composer, trying to prove themselves as performers. So they will most probably seek to perform pieces that are established in the repertoire, or modern masterpieces, rather than even take a look at the pieces of up-and-coming composers. They are out to serve themselves more than the composer. And they can do that best by performing famous dead, and proven composers, i.e. the classics. Or they will selectively perform living composers whose pieces are very modern-sounding,  which they will probably not understand and will be performing for an audience who will also not understand it, thus everyone thinking it's a masterpiece just because it is beyond their grasp, or maybe beyond anyone's grasp.

 

From what I can gather about your approach from your above posts, either you are composers whose pieces are established in the repertoire, or you are extremely sociable people for composers, and have had no untoward experiences trying to directly contact performers (whether through online or offline means) with the aim of getting your pieces performed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You two seem to be totally unaware of the painful experience of being rejected or, even worse, being ignored when you approach performers with your work. Moreover, it would not come naturally to many of us to look at our performer friends as mere means for our pieces to get performed. Personally, I wouldn't think of doing that except rarely. It would jeopardize the friendship when the performer friend doesn't want to perform my pieces but doesn't want to hurt my feelings either. 

 

Most performers are, just like you as a composer, trying to prove themselves as performers. So they will most probably seek to perform pieces that are established in the repertoire, or modern masterpieces, rather than even take a look at the pieces of up-and-coming composers. 

 Very well-said and very true.  It's hard to balance keeping your friends aware of your music without being pushy.  Having a website or posting places like this, so your music shows up on google is very helpful.  It means your friends can consider your music from time to time, but without worrying about raising expectations by contacting you directly, and then hurting your feelings if you don't have something that will currently work for their concert.  Programming a concert is an art in itself, you can't just put any old group of pieces together.  At least not when you reach the professional level and need people other than your mom to pay for tickets.  Professional musicians have a very hard time making a living.  They can't afford to program your piece just because.  It has to make sense with the rest of the program.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You two seem to be totally unaware of the painful experience of being rejected or, even worse, being ignored when you approach performers with your work. The worst thing is when they deny you even their feedback so that it appears that they think your piece is worthless and not even worth their time or their rejection. But of course, they don't want to tell it to you directly.

 

I think many of us composers turn to composition because we are not very good at expressing ourselves in speech, or directly to our fellow men. So it is natural that composers might not be the most social of people (I am talking in general). Moreover, it would not come naturally to many of us to look at our performer friends as mere means for our pieces to get performed. Personally, I wouldn't think of doing that except rarely. It would jeopardize the friendship when the performer friend doesn't want to perform my pieces but doesn't want to hurt my feelings either. 

 

Most performers are, just like you as a composer, trying to prove themselves as performers. So they will most probably seek to perform pieces that are established in the repertoire, or modern masterpieces, rather than even take a look at the pieces of up-and-coming composers. They are out to serve themselves more than the composer. And they can do that best by performing famous dead, and proven composers, i.e. the classics. Or they will selectively perform living composers whose pieces are very modern-sounding,  which they will probably not understand and will be performing for an audience who will also not understand it, thus everyone thinking it's a masterpiece just because it is beyond their grasp, or maybe beyond anyone's grasp.

 

From what I can gather about your approach from your above posts, either you are composers whose pieces are established in the repertoire, or you are extremely sociable people for composers, and have had no untoward experiences trying to directly contact performers (whether through online or offline means) with the aim of getting your pieces performed.

 

If you are unable to handle being turned down by performers and audiences then music will be a difficult journey for you. Meet musicians, be their friend. Write music specifically for them.  Pateceramics post is fair.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And it could be just that your music isn't very good and the performers aren't interested. That's generally the main obstable to getting a recording for free.

 

Or pay for it. Couple hundred bucks should net you a fairly good recording for a small ensemble.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...