Tips for Performers Young and Old         


Over many years of inviting guest artists to perform at our venues, we’ve accumulated some tips to improve the concert experience for both artist and venue.  It is to everyone’s advantage to provide an optimal environment and rapport in order to produce the best possible music making.  Each year, we’re incredulous at the mishaps and overlooked courtesies and lack of information that frustrate all who are involved and result in unneeded stress at the last minute.  We hope this list reminds everyone of little things that can go a long way for a great concert.

  • Request specifics and clarifications if the instrument specs or concert logistics are unclear. Request piston memory level assignments, and int he case of a historical instrument, ask about any registration sheet forms or aids.
  • Make doubly sure the fees and logistics are IN WRITING (email or formal contract). Think ahead for all the possible situations that could arise – you want to pre-agree on how any mishaps (weather, illness,  etc.) are handled, and don’t forget due dates for program information and any recording restrictions.
  • Adhere to printed program schedule deadlines.
  • Make sure you respond quickly and thoroughly to all the venue’s questions and concerns.
  • Make sure the performer and venue has each other’s contact information especially cell phone numbers.
  • Communicate travel, lodging, and plans and expectations.  Do your homework to understand the venue environs – where it is in relation to your hotel, restaurants, etc., and that you have reasonable and logical local transportation.
  • Confirm rehearsal scheduling. Due to logistical and policy constraints, some venues require careful scheduling to reserve practice time.  We have had situations where the artist showed up at a church to rehearse without any notice and there were events in progress. Plan your rehearsal strategy to allocate sufficient time for all aspects of your performance (acclimating to the acoustics & instrument, registrations, page turner logistics, etc.)
  • Be sure you have your own needs in order: re-check your wardrobe and personal effects.  It’s embarrassing and detracts from concert focus to have to borrow a tie or shop for toothpaste.
  • If you’re not staying at a hotel, be aware that although your hosts are giving and welcoming people, it’s probably an imposition and disruption for their daily (work) life to provide a place for you to stay.  It’s common courtesy to offer a house gift (flowers, a memento, a bottle of wine) on arrival, and a heartfelt thank-you note afterward.  It’s really unconscionable and an insult not to send a note of appreciation.
  • If you’re “in the business” of performing, it would serve you well to send a note of thanks to the venue (and staff) as well as the sponsoring organization – this goes a long way for favorable memories.  One never knows the paths that might cross in the future for networking recommendations or subsequent invitations forthcoming.
  • Words of encouragement:  In addition to making great music, you are responsible for marketing yourself with high-quality strategies, text, and images.  The local publicist doesn’t have time to research your background and make up your “story” – it is your responsibility to offer GREAT information, images, articles, reviews.
    • Do everything possible to provide interesting and compelling information to make it easy for the publicist to create a powerful press release to attract a fantastic audience.
    • Provide a compelling set of programs and repertoire examples that appeal to a variety of audiences and could match for a wide range of concert themes
    • Have a professional and convenient web site where it’s self-service downloading for the venue’s publicist to get your information.
    • Have a distinctive/unique/interesting spin on your music/background/repertoire/approach/”brand”
    • Provide an interesting and creative biography that’s not just a run of the mill ho-hum chronological resume. Include snippets and interesting information that the publicist can use to get press attention and provide unusual “angles” to help vie for audience attention.
    • The same goes for pictures.   Obituary-style headshots are show-stoppers: they will STOP people from coming to your SHOW.  Yawn.  Why not some creative angles/poses/contexts/expressions.  Search google images for some ideas.  Photoshop is your friend.   See some of our favorites below…

Interesting and Unusual Organist Performer Publicity Image “Headshots”