I don't always play organ recitals for money. In fact, when I play at my church, I usually play for free.
People underestimate the power of free. You will build credibility and exposure by providing free content. The same is true for organ recitals.
When you first start your recital career, it's highly unlikely you will get paid. Most likely you will play for the privilege of getting experience on numerous organs, especially famous ones.
But then as your expertise grows, you'll get more and more chances to get paid (provided you position yourself as a professional who's not doing this for fun only, although fun is certainly a big part of it).
So when you want to play for money, then of course it has to cover your travel and other expenses.
How do you negotiate the deal between you and the organ recital organizers so that you'll get paid to make the travel worthwhile?
A lot of times the organizers have only limited budget and can only offer say, to cover several hundreds dollars worth of expenses.
But here's the thing:
If you are on their list, even on the top of their list of choices to perform an organ recital in their venue, chances are they will find others who can play cheaper than you, even without money at all.
But if you are the only choice for them, then it's a pretty straightforward negotiation, isn't it?
So when they invited me to play several years back at Liepaja International Organ Music Festival in Latvia, I was their only choice for this event.
That's why they could pay me the amount needed not only to cover my travel expenses but also honorarium.
So how do you become the only choice for your future organ recital organizers?
The answer is simple yet not easy to grasp:
Become the dominant player in your sub-niche of the organ world. Become your own category, the one who has NO competitors. The one who's name is SYNONYMOUS with this category.
Then they will invite you and will cover all your expenses and more. They will also beg you to come back in the future.
Because you will become indispensable for them, THE BEST IN THEIR WORLD - the Linchpin, an organist whom we would miss if you were gone.
The first step is to show up. Every day. Rain or snow. With your message to the world. With your mission.
The second step is even harder - to take responsibility for your mistakes and give credit for your successes.