You have spent years developing your craft.
Time for payback, right?
But time is probably the one thing you’d love more of and simply can’t get.
So here are three workable strategies to help you make the most of the time you do have, and increase your income whilst you’re at it:
1. Capitalize the day
It’s surprising how much time there is in a day, especially when you don’t have to worry about protocol, dressing up “to the nines” or warming up on a piece you only started learning a day or two ago (or haven’t seen for donkey’s years).
Chamber music in libraries. Courtesy of Sandy Springs Library
When you are out in town, ready to perform an evening gig, make the most of the whole day. Setup a lunchtime concert somewhere, maybe in a library, nursing or retirement home, a church or even a university. Just a small venue that seats 50 to 120 people. And lunchtime can be many things: some venues host midweek concerts at 11am, others at 12:05pm or even 12:30pm. I wouldn’t do anything later than that, because…
While you’re at it, why not schedule another performance for the afternoon?!
You can actually cover a lot of territory even in a thirty minute drive, so there is very little chance you will have the same audience (especially if you perform in two hospitals or nursing homes!). Setup your second concert for about 3pm or maybe even 4pm, and you can share your music with double the crowd in just one afternoon.
But why stop there?
Right – these two extra performances are only because you already have a concert scheduled that evening, at 7 or 8pm. Think about it – for very little extra effort in one day you have tripled your audience, tripled your income, and made extremely little additional effort to do so. What would you have done otherwise? Grocery shopping? More practice? Internet surfing?
The idea of three concerts in one day will likely scare many traditional performers and those who subscribe to the current expectations of the Established classical music world, but for those whose primary passion is to share live music with others will relish the chance to do so, and increase their income three-fold. Which are you?
How long does it take you to prepare a concert program? Whether as a soloist or as a member of an ensemble, you practice and practice, usually for one performance. If only you could repeat that program several times! Not only will your playing get so much better, but you will continue to learn more and more about that specific repertoire. What’s the best way to play the same program over and over to different audiences and not get tired of it?
Well, in tandem with strategy number one, three different audiences in one day will help. As none of your listeners will likely attend all three of your concerts, you can indulge in the music you have prepared and repeat the same program. If you arrange multiple concerts in multiple venues over a period of several days, you could end up playing the same program 12 and 24 times in a month! Talk to a Broadway or West End actor, and you’ll soon appreciate that’s perfectly doable.
But you might be asking how you avoid getting tired of playing the same program many times.
There are several techniques:
- Make it a game. See what you can do differently every performance.
- Live practice. Focus on just one section that you think could be better, and make it better every concert.
- Act. Give a piece or section some character and become that character!
- Pick a muse. Find someone in the audience and play just for them.
- Listen to your environment. Every venue has its own ambiance – listen carefully and notice the differences.
Repeating a program in multiple venues over a short period of time is an excellent way to quickly earn more.
3. Stay fresh
Easier said than done, perhaps?
Two (of a few) reasons we get tired and overwhelmed are
- the same old routine day in and day out
- an over-filled schedule
Are you already thinking I am about to contradict strategy two?
Quite the opposite, in fact.
After working your mind around implementing strategy two, you might be seeing dollar signs in your eyes. Five days a week, three concerts a day? That’s a lot of dough.
But it won’t last long. You can’t keep up that kind of pace. Believe me – I’ve tried, as have a handful of my friends and even some of my coaching students before they sought my help, and it simply is not sustainable for any worthwhile period of time.
Instead, a regular but concentrated effort is much more productive. Take your three concerts in one day and do it just twice a week. That’s all. They can be consecutive days (especially if you have a day job and only have the weekends available), but preferably one mid-week and one end-of-week. If you are worried about competition, try Mondays!
In any event, maybe once-in-a-while add a third day each week, but no more. You probably already know that your music suffers when you are tired. We actually become somewhat disorganized when we are worn out and overwhelmed. Give yourself a break, and come back to each day of the same program having had a couple of days off doing other things and playing different repertoire. Perhaps one of the most important things you can do on off-concert days is catch up on your sleep. It is vital. Check out this great infographic Michael Hyatt shares which shows how you can be more productive when you get more sleep.
How can limiting yourself to just two concert days a week help you make more money? When I coach individuals we look at the specific math, but I can tell you now that even on this “3x2x” schedule, without any merchandise income, you are quite capable of earning a healthy $72,000 a year in the USA.
It’s about longevity. When you keep your performances fresh, your audiences love them more and tell more people about them. You’ll be invited back to those venues again, and again. You can also build a following of Super Fans who will buy your tickets, recordings, t-shirts, sheet music, and travel far and wide to see you perform.
People are astute, and can tell when you are hassled. Stay fresh, and both your music and your career/ life will blossom.
Now it’s your turn:
Tell me, which of these strategies appeal to you, and why? Be as specific as you possibly can so we can turn your performing dreams into reality.
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