More planning, better planning, equals less stress. Anyone who has been to Disney World with children can tell you that’s true. Still, you don’t know what you don’t know. The first time you go to Disney World you may really regret using that five year-old guide-book. None of the tram times are the same. That Disney Princess breakfast you promised your daughter is only held on Tuesdays while Mercury is in retrograde? Yeah, I bet you wish you had planned that better… Some musicians may feel like they’re working with an out-dated guidebook when it comes to the inner-workings of grant writing, crowdfunding, as well as corporate and individual giving. Some throw up their hands in despair, “how can I possible think about all that when I’m just paying the bills as it is?” As we have been absorbing throughout all of our fresh inc festival workshops thus far: serious strategic planning equals less stress and better outcomes.
Some say, ‘Love is worth more than money’… which is to say love is worth more money than money. – Kevin Clark
It was delightful to see a friend of the Sybaritic Singer on the Skype screen this morning. Kevin Clark is both a talented composer and Communications Manager at New Music USA. Whenever I hear the phrase “a high tide raises all ships”, I think of Kevin’s work in the arts. He is extremely committed to helping those making art, connecting those who are interested, and passing on knowledge to his community. I have previously shared Kevin’s three-part series on running successful Kickstarter campaign on the blog so I was extra excited to hear him discuss his philosophies this morning in workshop. One of the most refreshing points to hear from him is his thoughts on cultivating your community.
It’s irresponsible to not build an independent fan base. – Kevin Clark
He stressed on multiple occasions that Kickstarter is not the place to build a community from scratch. “If five percent of your backers are strangers [in your first Kickstarter] that’s huge. Kickstarter is not a place to build a community. It is the place to crystallize your community,” he insisted. When it comes to money, or asking for money, there are many emotional pitfalls. Kevin advocates putting a projected monetary value next to each person’s name in your address book. He admits that this activity is often difficult but necessary to know how to write your plan. Other common mistakes include: forgetting to ask for the money, because humans are afraid of rejection.
Your brain puts a guard dog in front of your most unfounded assumptions and that dog makes it impossible to think objectively. – Kevin Clark
Melissa Snoza also presented on foundation giving, corporate giving, grants, and included individual giving. Both Melissa and Kevin advocated for cultivating a strong group of people who believe in your projects/mission. Having the right people around you that are committed to the work you do will help you meet the right people and pursue the opportunities that most align with your goals. Stacy Garrop and Dan Visconti also joined the conversation to discuss applying for specific grants for commissions with guidelines that composers and performers should understand. I must also include that one of my ensembles here realized that we had a perfect musical addition to this morning workshop. So, we flash-mobbed the fresh inc crew with a rousing performance of David Lang’s “Pay Me Now.”
[In regards to good grant writing advice] Pretend like you’re asking someone on a date. – Tom, Kenosha Community Foundation
In addition to this morning’s flash mob performance, today was a big sing of a day. Eric Snoza (bass) and I teamed up for our first rehearsal on Shawn Jaeger’s “In Old Virginny.” Plus, I joined my ensemble after lunch for another first rehearsal on participant composer Jabez Co’s “The Jabberwock.” In preparation for tomorrow’s performance at the Racine Art Museum, Marta Honer (viola) and I put the finishing touches on Christian Carey’s “He Wishes for Cloths of Heaven.”All of these rehearsals put me in a wonderful frame of mind to join the composer’s afternoon session to talk about writing for the voice. It is a particular joy to work with composers as they find their compositional voice through vocal writing.
Finally, a closing bookend to my David Lang Thursday, Danielle Simandl (violin) and I performed “I had no reason” from the difficulty of crossing a field for the salon recital. If you are in the area, please join us at the Racine Art Museum from 5:30-7:00pm (441 Main St. – Admission $10.) The music being performed at this festival is simply not to be missed!
This post could not have come at a better time for me. I’m actually in the process of forming a new choir this summer, and this information will be invaluable.
That sounds so exciting! I also found this info to be motivating and extremely helpful. Can’t wait to hear more about your choir!