Do you ‘house concert’: do you offer audiences ‘up close and personal’ musical experiences? Maybe you’ve performed in intimate home settings within arm’s reach of new friends and fellow travelers. If so, let’s examine how house concerts might work even better for you.
Here’s an example of one musician’s entrepreneurial approach: meet pianist John Kamfonas and his Paris-based House Keys project. John has a promo video on his site that does a great job of communicating his “WHY”—his purpose as an artist and what the project is all about.
John tells a great story about an exchange he had with an audience member after his first house concert. The video also introduces the House Keys concept and of course, we get to hear and see some of John’s performances—and his audience’s reactions. It’s concise and human—and done in less than 4 minutes.
Find it on the website here:
Write with your intended reader in mind
The rest of the House Keys site is also compelling: it’s written clearly with the potential house concert host in mind.
Most musician’s websites and promo materials miss the mark because they aren’t written to invite the reader in and address that person’s interests and needs. Most musicians’ promo materials don’t describe what the experience of their music is actually like for their audiences.
News flash: whether or not you have a review quote that conveys what’s special about your performances, you need to give readers a sense of what your performances are actually like—and why we should care.
Instead of trying to impress us with your credentials and prove your worth, the idea here is to . . .
Focus on the needs and interests of your readers—what you’re actually offering and what’s in it for them.
Here’s how John describes the overall House Keys experience—clearly written for his intended readers and designed to engage their interests:
“House Keys provides a live music experience that pulls back the curtains and puts you inside a world of professional concert musicians. Rather than watching music unfold from afar, you become part of the journey in the intimate setting of a home. As the music envelops the space, you see the musician’s every movement, hear every sound, and feel every silence. Like never before, you are swept up by an art form that transforms a space from a blank canvas into an engaging arena of artistic creation.
Intimate salon concerts were once the most popular form of concertizing in Europe, giving musicians the chance to connect personally with their audiences. Today, much of that intimacy has been lost as modern enthusiasts are relegated to the cramped rows of large concert halls where musicians emerge and disappear from behind the stage.
Eliminate these barriers between musician and audience. Bring friends and communities together over incredible live music in living rooms across the world. We invite you to be a part of this community and schedule your own event!”
The call to action here is the invitation to the reader, and there’s of course, a ‘Reserve Now’ button at the bottom of the page to help.
Explain the logistics: make it easy
On the FAQ page John details how the House Keys program works. The language is inviting and practical—and again, it’s clearly aimed at making it easy for potential hosts to say “yes” and take the next step towards booking a concert in their home.
Using this as inspiration, take a look at the language on your own site. What could you do—on either your performance or teaching pages—to make it easier and more likely for readers to connect with and hire you?
Want more performances?
All too often, I hear musicians say they don’t know people who could host house concerts. It’s easy to think that way when we focus on our immediate circle of friends and colleagues.
But the truth is we all know far more people than those in our immediate circles. I guarantee you that you know people who could either host a house concert for you—or who know others who could host a concert.
Why not reach out to your friends, family, and colleagues and ask who who has a space suitable and might be interested in hosting a concert?
You don’t have to have a special website to start doing this. You just need to get into forward motion and start connecting with people.
Why networking really IS the answer
I met John Kamfonas years ago when I was directing the entrepreneurship program at Manhattan School of Music. I helped John with some grant proposal drafts and fundraising planning, and he’s been great about staying in touch. It’s been wonderful to hear how well he’s done for himself in Paris.
John wrote to me last year with an update and as I was responding to him I realized that my good friend Kathryn, who lives part-time in Paris, was there at that time. I had never thought of connecting the two of them because I know them from two completely different contexts. I just hadn’t thought, who else do I know in Paris to connect John with?
So I wrote an email to introduce them to each other and suggested they might like to meet over coffee. I hadn’t thought this would lead to a performance, I just thought it would be great to connect them.
Make the Connection
My friend Kathryn has a tiny place in Paris with no piano, but she has friends. And voilà—Kathryn and her friends were interested in having John present a salon concert which they did a month or so later. Everybody loved it and wants to do more.
I hadn’t been following John’s House Keys project, so finding out that they were doing this was terrific—and it got me thinking about how else John might build a bigger network among various circles in the ‘city of light’ and beyond.
I’m relating this story because all too often we have friends or connections from different networking circles and we don’t think about connecting these people to each other and how we can help catalyze more good will, more good music, and a bigger sense of community.
My challenge to you: Make a list of 5 people you could ask who they know—who are music lovers with suitable spaces for hosting house concerts. And, you want to be a giver, too. Think of two people you know who don’t know each other—and should. Make introductions. What goes around, comes around.
Want more help? Here’s another short video: this is singer-songwriter Shannon Curtis explaining how she made $25K doing house concerts (7:38). It’s a different scene and approach from John’s. But you’ll find good ideas to help you think further how you might make house concerts work for you.
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