More trouble with outreach

Why can't we get a young audience?

On Twitter I got a passionate objection to my previous post, in which I said that outreach and education -- as a focus for all of us in classical music -- should be replaced by a direct and passionate search for a larger, younger audience. The objection, from a terrific musician in the alt-classical world, was that by going into schools, and otherwise reaching younger people, we can show that being passionate about something, anything really - can change your life. It's about setting an example of passion-driven learning and hard work - and … [Read more...]

The problem with outreach

All the people we could reach!

I hope this post gets some reaction. It's an important challenge -- or at least I think so -- to something many people in classical music deeply believe. We take for granted, in the classical music world, that we need to do outreach. That we need to go into schools and communities, and bring classical music to those who don't normally hear it. We also take for granted that we need to do education, that we need to educate the rest of the world about our beloved art. I won't say these things are bad. And they're certainly fundable. You may … [Read more...]

As I come back to earth…

Me at Juilliard

…my music criticism course at Juilliard continues. I had to miss a week, for reasons my last post explains. And I'll be gone from the NY area a second week, so I'm continuing the class by email. Something, by the way, that interests me a lot, because I've been talking about teaching a course partly online at a university. Aand because I'm planning to do a lot of distance teaching in the business I plan to start, in which I help people write and speak about music. There are three things we do in each class meeting, in my Juilliard course. We … [Read more...]

Our new baby

Newborn Rafa

I'm happy -- thrilled -- to say that Anne and I are adopting a little baby boy, born Saturday in San Antonio. Rafael Aron Sandow, six pounds at birth, 20 inches long. He's utterly adorable. And loved. You'll understand that I haven't posted to the blog since this happened. But I'll wean myself back to work, bit by bit, after we take Rafa home. There's so much more to say, but I'll leave it at this: We couldn't be happier. … [Read more...]

More testimony

From a reader

More testimony to the power of what we've been talking about here: Lara Downes, a pianist, posted a comment, sharing her experience raising money on Kickstarter to fund what seems like a terrific CD. Again, it's a story of communication and community, with warm benefits for everyone involved. Thanks, Lara! Here's what she wrote: The experience of running a Kickstarter campaign last winter to raise funds for my new recording “13 WAYS of Looking at the Goldberg” taught me so much about channeling the creativity that goes into developing a new … [Read more...]

Institutions can do it, too

Reaching out to your network

In the past week, people from two orchestras -- one in person, one by email -- have told me about a problem they've had. Both orchestras had some good news, something they felt (and rightly) was truly notable. But they couldn't get press coverage. One orchestra is one of the largest in the US, the other is smaller. I'm not mentioning their names, or what the good news was, because what these orchestras think internally is their own, private business. Their dilemma, though, is something everyone can think about. My answer, to both, was … [Read more...]

Another look at how to do it

From a reader

My last few posts -- about musicians marketing themselves by using their core values, and about musicians finding their own audience -- have developed into lively conversations, as people comment. If these subjects interest you, and you haven't looked at the comments, you might want to do it. You'll find ideas, experiences, suggestions, and -- because there's more than one way to do all this -- disagreement. I've learned from all of it. And maybe what I like most is that people are sharing their experience. Which gives us case studies, about … [Read more...]

Walking the walk

From a reader

Here's a comment from pianist Jeffrey Biegel, a long-time reader, on my "Who's Your Audience?" post. I'm putting it out front on the blog, for all to see. And there's not a word i'd want to add. Thanks, Jeffrey! I am so happy to see this topic–I have waited more than 20 years for someone to address this. Since the late 1980s, I have been actively doing what you share. While maintaining an active list of standard repertoire, always exploring neglected works and finally, commissioning new works for piano and orchestra since 1998. With the … [Read more...]

Who’s your audience?

Your happy audience

How it usually works in classical music: You (a soloist or member of an ensemble) don't have direct contact with the people who come to hear you. The groups that present you find your audience. How it should be: You find -- and build -- your audience yourself. Or play a big part in doing that. Then you'll have an audience that's really your audience -- fans who'll reliably come to your concerts, donate money, and buy your recordings. Msybe they'll even finance your recordings before you go into the studio. And once you have fans like … [Read more...]

Sell what you are

Greg Sandow by a cairn in England

Here's a project I'd like to do, with classical soloists or ensembles. I'd like to help you brand yourselves, and then figure out a marketing strategy based on your branding. But here's the key to this -- your branding and marketing have to be based on who you are, in your deepest core. Let's bury forever the idea that marketing is about bullshit, about finding some lowest-common-denominator version of yourself that you can get people to buy. That'll just destroy you. This is the start of something I want to stress on my blog this month: … [Read more...]