The award-winning recordist offers up some advice for emerging artists.
“Exposure” and “Experience” will be two of the main driving forces while trying to establish your music career, but it is equally important (if not essential) to learn to pace yourself. While in university we have the luxury of a teacher’s guidance and hours locked in practice rooms to polish and perfect our recital repertoire, but once you are out in the real world with work commitments to juggle and neighbours that don’t appreciate your need to practice at 10pm, recital preparation can feel overwhelming. If organising your own events, allow yourself plenty of time to prepare each recital programme, which can be months depending on the repertoire you choose, and don’t feel like you need to cram each programme with the most technically demanding repertoire for your instrument, you will only exhaust yourself and your audience.
Invest in your career
This sounds like an obvious point to make but all too often artistic projects are abandoned once the realities of costs set in. There is no doubt that concerts, exhibitions and recordings can be expensive endeavours to undertake, but these projects are essential to developing your career, building your audience base, and will get you noticed by concert/festival promoters and record labels.
There are many options to help finance projects which are well worth trying including crowd funding, private philanthropy, and grants (local, state, and national levels). However, never fall into the trap of relying on funding to accomplish your project, especially as an emerging artist. This last year has shown just how unpredictable government funding can be and in my opinion, you should be prepared to finance your projects and any additional funding is the cherry on top. After all, if you are not willing to put your own money into your career building projects, then why should anyone else give you money to do so?
Include your audience
Classical music concerts have a bit of a reputation for having sterile or pompous environments; audiences sitting for hours in complete silence, fighting off and errant cough or sneeze and terrified to clap in the wrong spot. This can easily be changed however if you are more inclusive of your audience in your events. A lot of the music I perform is contemporary/experimental which can be confronting to the most seasoned of concertgoers, so I always make a point of describing a bit about the pieces I perform to make the works more relatable to the audience (I have even taken questions from audience members in more intimate concert settings). Even if the audience have programmes (which they often can’t read during a concert) or I am performing well known repertoire, I make an effort to talk to my audience. Your audience have taken time out of their day and paid money to support your musical career, so make them feel welcome and you may just see them again at your next event.