For most self-managed musicians, booking concerts is an uphill battle. You send emails out and often get no response. So you wonder, what does it take to get it right? While there’s no such thing as the musician’s perfect pitch email, there IS the next best thing: stories that demystify the process.
To that end, I wanted to share this inspiring story from an artist who’s worked with me over the past several months:
Meet one of my terrific clients: Tereasa Payne.
A NYC-based flutist and multi-instrumentalist, Tereasa has been a featured soloist with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, appeared as panflutist with Kygo on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, rocked out on saxophone with The Temptations, and shared the stage on clarinet with Bernadette Peters. She has also played in the Broadway orchestras of Phantom of the Opera, Allegiance, Something Rotten and Amazing Grace.
It was her work in Disney’s The Lion King—in which she plays 14 different flutes from around the world—that led to creating her “Flutes of the World” program. In the program, Tereasa uses 22 flutes from 17 countries to explore how music is used around the globe to communicate, connect and create a shared sense of belonging.
Tereasa came to see me for help with pitching her program to symphony orchestras for their family concerts. She already had made this excellent 4 minute promo . . .
videography by Matt Morrison (NYC)
And beyond the video, Tereasa also had going for her an excellent program, along with testimonials and photos from the performance she did with the Rochester Philharmonic.
The challenge was how to present her pitch in a concise email (one that linked to the right material online). She needed to create an email that would pique the interest of her intended readers and get them excited to watch the video and consider booking her.
Tereasa was uncertain how to write an effective email pitch, which orchestras to target, and which administrators to write to. She wanted help with her booking ‘campaign’ as a self-managed independent artist. Because booking yourself as a DIY orchestral soloist is not easy.
To start, I had Tereasa do some research. She had contacts working in orchestras and in their education offices so she was able to reach out and get preliminary advice and encouragement for connecting to specific orchestras.
Next we went back and forth with draft descriptions of her program, fine-tuning it to convey the essential benefits and the message her Flutes of the World program delivers. A pitch like this needs to work as a call to action to get busy, distracted Artistic Administrators to watch the video and get excited about the fit for their audiences. With pitch emails every word counts—so we hashed through many versions.
We honed Tereasa’s program description into a concise, dynamic 3 sentences that focused on audience experience and benefits. We also reworked her bio to tell a more candid story of who she is and why she loves her work. And we culled through her photos to find the most engaging shots of her connecting with audiences. Finally, we edited her program testimonials—down to the best soundbites—and Tereasa put all this together, to create a landing page and EPK for the program.
We also worked through a set of companion Teacher Guides for pre-concert engagement programs (for 3 different age groups) and special lobby activities the orchestras could offer families prior to the performance. Then Tereasa researched and put together a spread sheet of orchestras and their contacts, so she could systematically send out her pitches and follow these up in a timely manner (she did this while on tour with The Lion King!). Tereasa is a creative powerhouse: she accomplished an amazing amount in a few short months.
A couple of weeks ago she sent out her first set of pitches. This week Tereasa sent me this:
“A little update…To date I have received 11…ELEVEN!!! replies from orchestras who are interested in my ‘Flutes of the World’ Concert for their 2019-20 seasons! And these are tier 1 and 2 orchestras!
Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for all your help in getting my marketing materials ready, sending out the pitch emails, reassuring me on the pricing, the dates, and my ideas for the educational materials. Thank you for everything!!”
So what’s the moral of the story here?
It takes more than talent, more than luck, more than “connections” to bring your best work to the world. BRAVA to Tereasa for her creativity, her determination, and her strong work ethic. And for investing in herself and in her project to bring her program to more audiences.
And Tereasa was kind enough to write this testimonial about our work together:
“Angela Beeching is a true treasure to musicians who find themselves needing to promote and market themselves…and, isn’t that all of us?? Angela is incredibly knowledgeable and talented in what she does… but more than that, it is her kind, generous, and animated spirit that truly inspires and motivates you to produce results. I am very grateful to Angela for her assistance and expertise in helping me promote my concert to orchestras. I highly recommend her to all musicians striving to achieve their dreams!”
Thank YOU, Tereasa!
It’s a real pleasure for me to work with my clients—their creative spirit, hard work, and commitment inspires me week after week.
Plus, there’s more . . .
Bonus tip: for help with your own pitches see chapter 6 of my book Beyond Talent: Creating a Successful Career in Music.
And please note: I’m away this week and so won’t be doing a Facebook Live (I won’t have great WiFi in the national park we’re visiting) but I look forward to catching up in our Musicians Making It Facebook group. If you haven’t joined the group, please do, and bring a colleague with you—happy to have you both!
To gain more career insights and inspiration: join us on FB Live Tuesdays at 7 pm ET / 4 pm PT over on our exclusive Musicians Making It Facebook group—we’d love to have you join the conversation!
Dream Big, Plan Smart, Live Well