Getting to play more organ recitals: how to ask so that your proposal won't go straight to the trash folder
Imagine you opened your email inbox this morning and a new response from concert organizers was there waiting for you:
"We are pleased to announce that your recital proposal has been accepted".
How would that feel?
It would feel amazing, wouldn't it? You would run around shouting from joy: "Some luck at last!"
Well, what if it wasn't luck?
Is there anything you can do to help facilitate the selection process from concert organizers so that your proposal won't go straight to the trash folder (because that's what happens in most cases)?
Well, there is. But you have to do some preliminary work first. Are you up for it?
You see, people will only invite you to play a recital abroad or in your own country if they trust you. Because nobody likes to take a risk with unknown performers, you have to first proof to them you can play decently in public.
What does a concert organizer normally do when they first open your email? If they are even looking for an organist, then they will google your name. And things they find about you online will determine if they will be more inclined to trust you or not.
If they find your picture drinking out of the fountain, or a photo of you enjoying your latte, do you think the trust level in you as a professional goes up or down?
What if they found your YouTube channel with multiple videos to choose from with thousands of views, do you think they would be more inclined to trust you professionally?
If they googled your name and found your blog where you regularly share your organ playing experiences and moments from your past recitals, how would this affect your chances being selected to perform in the future?
You probably can see where I'm going with this...
First you need a professional online presence. A platform and a megaphone to spread your message to the world.
Do you even have a message? Most organists don't. What it is you do that others can't?
Then you need NOT to be a stranger to them. So here you need to actively go out of your way and be helpful to these organists who organize recitals, share their videos, blog posts, maybe write a blog post or two featuring their work, maybe invite them for a podcast interview.
Everything you do up until this point is being generous and helping people without asking anything in return, without asking to be invited for recitals.
But only when you have this initial level of trust (or if you are already a star whom they know and respect), you have earned the privilege to write to them and actually ask to be considered as a performer in the future.
But you only have one chance at making the right impression. Don't blow it. Most people blow it, unfortunately.
Fortunately, you are not most people. You are an organist with a mission in the world. Otherwise you wouldn't be reading my blog.
So most organists send a generic proposal with generic message and music to generic people.
It seems and feels like it's an average work for average audience.
The thing is that our world of today can no longer support the average. You have to become unique, the best in their world and send such a powerful proposal that they would be foolish to reject.
How do you do this?
It starts with thinking about the WHY of your proposal. Answer these 6 questions:
1. Why do you want to play there?
2. Why do you want to play this program?
3. Why do you want to play it at that time?
4. Why do YOU want to play it?
5. What would happen to them if you didn't play this program there? Would you be missed?
6. How would they know if their listeners would enjoy your performance. Do you have proof?
If you can answer these questions and position yourself as the only real choice for them, then it's going to be a really easy negotiation, isn't it?
Let me know if you need help with anything or feel stuck.