Helping you

I’m happy — thrilled — with how much people like my four keys to the future. Aka the four things we in classical music must do, if we want to build a new audience, and help classical music survive.

And of course (as commenters have eagerly noted) there’s lots more to say about how we do these four things. I’ll be saying much of it in weeks to come. The first two points, especially, can be expanded.

The first one — understand and respect the culture outside classical music. — is harder than it seems. One problem for the classical music world is that, with the best will in the world, we don’t always fully know what happens outside our bubble, or how we look to those outside. One quick remedy: spend a few weeks reading the cultural coverage in the New York Times and the Guardian. (Plus the Guardian‘s “Life and Style” writing.) Especially about pop music, visual art, and fashion. Many classical music people might  find themselves in another universe.

And the second point, work actively to find your audience — well, we could talk for weeks about how to do that. Another quick hint: start with the audience you have, people you can name, or know how to find. Contact them regularly, to keep them with you. Ask their help in finding more people like them.

But these things are just a start. For much more, hire me as a consultant! I can help you do everything on my list. My consulting practice is expanding, and I’m offering a special $300 starting rate — you get two hours of my time, via phone or Skype, or (if possible) in person.

Here’s what I wrote about my consulting in my last newsletter (to subscribe to my newsletter, go here):

Three recent clients:

    • The conductor of a wind ensemble wanted to increase his audience. Turned out that — at least as a first step — his musicians could help him. And so could his ensemble’s administration, if he can encourage them to be more energetic. We worked on ways of doing that.
    • A clarinetist is starting a record label. He thinks wind players will be his first customers. We worked on ways to reach further, to sell his records to anyone — wind player or not — who loves new kinds of music.
    • A film composer, Liza Figuroa Kravinsky, is writing a modular symphony, a piece full of Go-Go, the iconic Washington, DC dance music. (I can use her name because she wrote me a testimonial.) She has a premiere lined up. But we worked on a more sustained launch, starting with small performances in public places, then growing toward repeated shows in concert halls and clubs. And since I’m a musician, I could give extra value: I helped her with her orchestration.

I have an introductory rate: $300 for two hours of my time, in person or by phone or Skype. Though I’d also love to work in a sustained way with (just for instance):

    • a composer who wants to build an audience outside the classical music world
    • a soloist, ensemble, or institution interested in building the kind of fanbase that pop bands have
    • anyone who’d like to act on what I’ve called for in my blog posts

It’s a wild time for classical music. How can I help you?

Liza’s testimonial:

I highly recommend Greg Sandow as a consultant. He creatively tailored his expert knowledge to fit my unique needs. As a result, with his help, I have created a plan that may most efficiently help me meet my goals. He even helped me with some practical orchestration tips; which were quite helpful to me as a composer more familiar with recording studios, synthesizers and computers.

In addition to a wealth of information, I feel I have found a genuine new friend in Greg. He seems so sincerely interested in helping me, the consulting fees seem like an afterthought. I will definitely hire Greg again for more guidance as my journey continues. I feel I got more than my money’s worth.

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  1. Enid says

    Mr. Sandow,

    I find it somehow unbefitting that you use your blog, once which is syndicated in, as an advertising tool for your professional services.

    If you want to sell your services with monetary gain in mind, do like other people with the same motive and buy ad space in
    A blog is supposed to be generally informative with the writers take on various matter. Thus, if you want to write about the benefits specialized consultants can provide to musicians, by all means write about it. But writing that you’re happy to offer such services yourself for $300 for 2 hours is crass and a complete misunderstanding of what blogs are about. Of coure you can advertise all you want if you have your own, unafilliated webpage.

    Please show some decorum and respect towards the advertisers on, who do not have your free access to the reading audience and therefore must spend money to advertise their services.

    • says

      I was so taken by surprise by this comment that I didn’t answer it as I’d like to. So here’s an amended answer.

      Enid, I’d have thought the normal relationship of blogs and consultants is the opposite of what you see here. Normally consultants and anyone else offering personal services will be urged to start blogs, to promote what they do.

      That’s not my situation. I’ve been writing this blog for years, putting untold hours into it, without being paid a cent. Without false modesty, I can say that I’ve built a considerable following, and that many people aren’t just interested in what I write, but are thankful for it.

      I also — and of course as a result of any success I’ve had here — get three or four emails a week, asking for advice. Again unpaid, of course. I answer many of those emails, sometimes at some length. I’ve also — geography permitting — met with some of the younger people who email me, students or young musicians, to help or encourage them. Plus phone calls and Skype.

      After all of this, it can hardly be surprising that I’d offer myself as a paid consultant. I’m already doing consulting — or at least the initial stages of it — free. Why not, then, charge for it? Not simply as a way of making money, but because if I’m paid, I can free enough time to go into detail with people who want my help, and do far more for them that I can if I write an email or two.

      So from my point of view, the consulting I talk about here — and also the branding workshops I teach, which I’ll shortly be mentioning again — emerges seamlessly from what I write on the blog, from the conversations that develop about what I write, and from the relationships (some of them, by now, very lively and long-standing friendships) I’ve developed here. In the months that I’ve been actively consulting and doing my branding workshops, I don’t know that I’ve had any dissatisfied clients. If you asked them, in fact, I think they’d say exactly what I’m saying — that their interest in working with me came directly from what they’ve read on my blog. And also that they’re happy I made my services available.

      As for ArtsJournal, I’d think that the first complaint — if I really were hurting their commercial interests — would surely have come from them, months ago. Not a word so far.


      [Here’s what I wrote earlier.]

      if you think I’m somehow hurting their commercial interests, I think you should take that up with them, not me. Just as the first person to complain, if I really were damaging the company, would surely be its founder and CEO, who so many years ago asked me to blog here.

      Enid, obviously I disagree with you. A blog is whatever its writer wants it to be. Nobody at ArtsJournal has complained that I sometimes use it to promote my services. And I think that my work as workshop leader and consultant — also as lecturer — comes naturally out of the place in the world my blog and my other activities have given me. A common reaction I get, in fact, when I promote my services, is that people are glad I’m doing it. Certainly that’s true for those who become my clients. I wish you could talk to them! Though if you go to the page on my website about my branding workshops, you’ll find some very strong testimonials. I don’t think it’s any stretch to say that some reasonable number of people who read me, and like what I say, are happy to know that they can work with me directly. And I’m hardly the only consultant or teacher who uses a blog for promotion!