There’s a particular musician e-newsletter that I’m glad to get and read. It’s one that’s aimed at concert presenters — to keep in touch with them, to keep the ensemble on the presenters’ radar screens. Below is what to learn from the Rodney Marsalis Philadelphia Big Band about how to connect with concert presenters:

So why am I on their list? I think it’s because I’ve regularly attended The Association of Performing Arts Professionals conference and the Chamber Music America conference, so I do get a number of emails related to booking artists even though I’m not a Presenter and don’t have performance opportunities to offer. Most of these kinds of newsletters I unsubscribe from. (So yes, always have an easy unsubscribe button on your e-newsletters and don’t spam people — always ask for permission to add someone to your list.)

But this is one I want to be subscribed to. Why? Because I find it’s a consistently great example of how to do this right. How to send updates and stay in touch with presenters: the ones you know and those you’re looking to work with.

Take a look at the band’s latest e-newsletter I received. It’s the ensemble’s announcement of their 2019-20 season. They’re sending it out now to presenters who are thinking about booking next year’s season.

Of course, you might read this and immediately think, “well of course they’re doing great, they have the name Marsalis and that amazing quote from Wynton.”

(“No one plays beautifully all the time…unless you’re my cousin Rodney” – Wynton Marsalis)

So you might tune out to the rest of the e-blast and miss what they’re doing so well.

Don’t. Instead, take a closer look.

This is such an energizing and personal way to address your prospective audiences and the presenters you’d like to work with.

Here’s the message from Rodney

“We feel so lucky to have met so many amazing people through the years as we have traveled all around the world. From Europe to China, to South America to the United States, we find that there are a lot of kind people with beautiful souls who recognize that the power of love and our common humanity binds us all together.

We are thrilled to offer the following concerts for the upcoming touring seasons and we can’t wait to meet you!

Warm regards,
Rodney Marsalis”

The overall message and tone here is one of gratitude, warmth, and generosity. It’s personal, “We can’t wait to meet you!” Yes, he acknowledges that they tour all over the world—but that’s how he gets to connect with “people who recognize that the power of love and our common humanity binds us all together.”

The emphasis is not on the fact that they’ve toured all over or that Wynton endorses them. Of course that’s a huge boost! But the essential message isn’t about ego, status, or positioning. It’s NOT “Hey, we’re the greatest thing you’ve ever heard and you need to book us now.”

I’m sure you’re just as sick of being marketed at as I am. And believe me, concert presenters are, too.

So it’s a relief—a pattern interrupt—that the message here is NOT about “buy me” but instead about the love of connecting people through music.

This is where knowing your real mission as an artist comes in—your WHY. Think about the messaging you’re using. Is your core purpose woven into your communications with presenters and with fans?

Describe your offer with the presenter in mind

What else do you notice? Look below and read about the 5 programs the band is offering. Each one has a short engaging title followed by a concise and compelling description that’s clearly aimed at presenters.

The descriptions are designed to help presenters visualize how these concerts would work in their specific performance spaces. And how they’d go over with their particular audiences. All to help presenters discern which program might be the best fit.

The descriptions include details of what will work for smaller venues and what’s a good fit for college presenters with multi-media production capabilities. There’s also seasonal concerts to help fit programming needs throughout the year.

Here are the band’s program offerings for 2019-20:

“Big Brass! Our most popular concert with the ten piece brass group plus one drummer. This multi – genre concert features well known works from Bach, Broadway, Pop, Earth Wind and Fire, and Sousa Marches. The concert ends with the group marching through the crowd and the audience on their feet dancing and clapping.

Six Plus One The same music as the eleven piece show with a smaller group. Perfect for smaller venues!

Brothers On The Battlefield: The Power Of Love The healing power of this concert cannot be overstated. Six virtuoso brass players, drums, piano, a narrator and a stunning multi – media production. Colleges and universities around the country are requesting this concert that explores music in the United States between the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement. 

An American Salute Well known patriotic marches and New Orleans traditional music. We often feature one of our colleagues from the service bands for this exciting concert. 

Holiday Brass Ring in the Holiday season with a concert featuring joyous brass music!”

Now, you might say to yourself, that’s great for Rodney’s band, but at this point in my career I don’t have a fabulous endorsement, a beautiful website, an artist management firm, and 5 compelling programs to offer.

Or you might think, that’s well and good for Rodney’s band, but I offer strictly classical programs or I only perform contemporary new music.

So how does this example apply to you?

Think about how you’re describing what you offer. Are you doing this with the intended reader in mind? Because the presenter wants a sense of how your program will fit in her venue and engage her audience. Are you describing what audiences gain from your programs and how they respond to your performances?

Here’s the deal: no matter who your intended reader is, you need to communicate in a genuine way and make a human connection.

DON’T make these common mistakes . . .

1. Just listing your upcoming performances or the news of your latest awards or tours. (It’s comes across as ME, ME, ME!)
2. Don’t just say (or use quotes that say) you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread. (More of the ME.)
3. Don’t beg people to ‘please to come to my concerts.’ That’s still focusing on YOU and your wants, instead of creating WE.
4. Don’t just focus on how amazing the repertoire is that you’ll be performing. Many readers don’t care about repertoire—what they really want is an experience.

So instead, make a real connection

Focus on your readers (presenters and/or fans) and their needs. Be generous, vulnerable, tell us why you make music. And above all, be HUMAN!

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