Disclaimer: with this blog I don’t want to hurt any feelings….
This blog is especially for Dutch musicians and music students living in The Netherlands. I will give you four reasons why it’s important to make time to attend concerts.
There are two ways to enjoy a live music concert these days. One is through personal experience and the second one is through social media. If it comes to social media, we are mostly part of someone else’s experience, you can easily say it’s a second-hand experience not leaving a long lasting imprint on your soul.
#1 Get inspired
During concerts I open up to the experience and for learning something new. Let me share a nostalgic moment with you. I’m fascinated by fine-arts; plays, musicals, concerts or dance performances, I love them all. I familiarized myself from a very young age with The Grimm’s folk and fairy tale stories by attending children’s plays in theaters. It was on one such occasion that my mum gifted me a beautiful hand-made shimmery red dress. I believe that this was the moment that I started loving dressing up for special occasions and that I felt so incredibly special and over the top happy. Just walking in that cute dress on a red carpet was a magical moment. It left a life-long impression on me and since then I always associate live performances with ‘making everything around me beautiful’. Years later I incorporated that feeling in our DesiYUP-concert-philosophy.
I get inspired by attending other organizers concerts. In fact I learn how to organize by attending events. The way I look at concert is from the perspective of an organizer. I look at the entire setting. How is the event organized, is the organizer in control, is the concert starting on time, are the artists well-prepared etc. Is the organizer taking care of the artists and audience? Each and every time I come home with a handful of inspiration and this helps me to take my own concerts to a higher level. As artists you can get inspired in the same way by watching other musicians perform.
#2 Support co-artists
Support co-artists not by only liking their FaceBook or Instagram posts, but by booking concert tickets. The Indian music scene is pretty small in Holland. Only a handful of Dutch people have actually learned about Indian music but a majority is still oblivious to Indian classical music. To them Indian music = Bollywood. If the Indian music scene became more visible, that eventually would help to establish a healthy and sustainable environment for artists. A theatre hall will be packed when a big star like Zakir Hussain performs, but how about giving new-comers more appreciation by visiting their concert debut? This year I was happily surprised by a bright sitar student of Pandit Chaurasia. Rohini Sahajpal performed in an idyllic church in the North of Holland and to my disappointment she performed for only a small audience. While her performance was worth a travel and booking a concert ticket for. She gave a very nice performance and I know for sure that musicians who also have a keen interest in an Indian string instrument would appreciate this performance in particular.
#3 Join a music community
Musicians are always so focused on their own gigs and social media appearance that they forget how beneficial it is to reach out and connect with other artists on a personal level. The people that you meet in real life will remember you much better than people who you only connect with through social media. As an organizer I get messages on a daily basis from musicians all across the globe. It’s hard to keep up with all the work that all these musicians do, but musicians that tend to build a personal relationship with me or attend my concerts I keep them in mind. On the long run it’s even beneficial for you as a professional musician, because during community events and concerts you meet curators, promoters and other well-connected people from the music industry. You can give them your business card, or promo-CD.
If you want to be part of a community then you can start by joining music platforms, sharing work of other musicians or events with your own circle of friends. You can attend masterclasses or workshops, but the best way to join a music community is by attending performances. What I do is introduce people to concerts that they normally would not attend. Most of them will become returning ‘customers’, and this is how we all can contribute to a vibrant music scene.
#4 Get noticed at a concert (network)
Now you must be thinking this costs a lot of money….
Yes, nothing great in life comes without investment. I often hear from artists in Holland why they don’t attend concerts. Top two arguments are ‘I don’t have money’ or ‘I’m too busy with my own career’. This means you are missing out on potential business opportunities as a professional artist. To give you an example. There was one tabla artist from Australia who attended one of my classical concerts a few years ago. After the concert he emailed me saying that he liked the concert and that he wants to be part of our DesiYUP network. I said fine, lets try it out. He participated in a community-project and slowly he built a good relation with our organization. Since then he performed a few times for DesiYUP and those experiences were equally great.
I suggest professional local artists with a Chamber of Commerce (KvK) registration to discuss with your bookkeeper the possibilities to deduct a certain amount that you spend on attending concerts from your taxes. Because attending concerts is also a part of your professional life as a performing artist. In case you are a music student with not much money to spend: it may be an idea to offer your help as a volunteer to organizations. Many organizations need good volunteers.
Good luck connecting!