V.com weekend vote: Do you invite people to your concerts?

March 25, 2018, 10:47 AM · Do you personally invite people to go to concerts that you perform in? And if you don't perform, do you invite people to go to the classical concerts that you attend?

When it comes to filling the halls, the personal invite can go a long way.


But sometimes we perfectionist violinists (and our viola, cello, bass, etc. colleagues) are a little afraid to actually invite people to our concerts. This is not helped by the following general fact: If you want to have a big audience for your concert or recital, the ideal time to start inviting tons of people is.....before you are actually ready to perform! For an orchestra concert, this can mean inviting people before any actual rehearsals have begun. For a recitalist, that can mean putting up posters all over town (or campus) before those technical details feel even remotely solid.

Sometimes it's not fear that keeps us from inviting people, it's just apathy. It's quite possible, as an orchestra musician, to go through an entire season and never personally invite a soul to a concert. But is that the right thing to do?

When it comes right down to it if we are going to the trouble of giving a concert or recital, we will get our act together in time, and we will play our best. And after all that work, we want a good audience! There's nothing like going to someone's doctoral recital and finding only 10 people in the audience. Or the premiere of a concerto, with a half-empty hall.

So make up your posters, paper the town. Use every comp you get for orchestra concerts and then invite more people on top of that. Invite students. Invite that person who always takes a special interest in the fact that you are a musician, and then invite their friends.

Answer truthfully below, then let's talk about how we get big audiences for our performances.

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March 25, 2018 at 05:48 PM · Sometimes I invite family and/or friends to concerts I perform in. Haven't really invited anyone to concerts I listen to.

March 25, 2018 at 09:50 PM · When I play a concert, I at least send a Facebook event invite to everyone I know who lives within an hour's drive, and I also call/text/email my closer friends and any individuals I think might be especially interested in the program. I usually get two or three people at a concert.

That said, at one point I went five years without seeing a single familiar face in the audience, and it was discouraging because I was going to great lengths to invite people every time.

When planning to attend concerts, I always invite people, but I haven't had anyone accept an invitation since 2015.

March 25, 2018 at 09:54 PM · Depends on the concert.

March 26, 2018 at 12:52 AM · I belong to a classical music Meetup group and it's great. https://www.meetup.com/classical-88/ The organizers invite members to concerts and often help us get discounted tickets. When I attend one of these concerts, I also have the fun of discussing the music with friends. Kudos to the organizers!

March 26, 2018 at 01:09 AM · I voted occasionally. I'm going to do more. I do most of my inviting via Facebook and I've gotten some feedback recently that that is not the best way.

March 26, 2018 at 03:57 AM · I invite people to concerts, but there is often a bit of reluctance in doing so. I play in a number of community orchestras which charge $20-25 for a single ticket, and frankly that always seems a bit steep for the overall level of the performance, especially when you can buy some cheap seats tickets from the San Francisco Symphony for about the same price (not for every program, admittedly). I understand why the ticket prices are what they are, but I always feel like we are overcharging given the level, and I am often unwilling to pay the price asked by other such orchestras in which I do not play. I am happy when people come up to me and tell me how much they enjoyed the performance, and no one ever complains that we should have practiced more for what they paid. But inviting someone (and their family) who isn't a musician or known classical music fan and doesn't have a close connection to the program to drop a Franklin and an evening is a sales pitch I don't feel comfortable giving. I would rather post publicity materials where I think prospective audience members will encounter them and make their own decision unencumbered by any personal relationship.

I also play in an orchestra which doesn't charge anything - but we have a donation basket there where the ticket-taker would be. Obviously, this makes it a much more inviting prospect to listen to some music you've never heard of (this orchestra plays mostly off-the-beaten-path repertoire, with the only likely warhorses being concertos, and even then mostly lesser-known works). The interesting thing is that we get a decent audience, and as a whole, they donate about what we would collect if we sold tickets! I rarely have any reservations about inviting people to those concerts, except if I think there is reason to think they may not enjoy the music.

March 26, 2018 at 05:39 AM · Maybe I misunderstood the answers--only 2% chose "I don't play but I invite people to concerts I attend." I don't play _in concerts_. A friend invited me to my first San Francisco Chamber Orchestra concert and now I'm sometimes able to drag my husband along. When I'm planning to attend Berkeley Baroque Strings concerts, I try to drag along whoever I can interest (but not my husband--he hates 415).

March 27, 2018 at 12:23 AM · I'm doing my first violin recital on May 20. I will have been playing for about a year at that point. My pitch is improving, but still something of an enigma, my string crossing is usually not an issue, my pinky is bent most of the time, as is my thumb, and I'm moving forward. At this point I predict the 20 minute concert will be something a curious event. Thus, I'm encouraging everyone who attends (your'e invited) to drink copious amounts of beer, wine, or spirits prior to the show. I'm playing in a pub that also has some pretty good pizza. https://www.facebook.com/events/1195536460549933/ Look, how can I lose? It's a first year recital. Expectations will be a bit low. (Aren't you wondering about the whole thing right now? Seriously?) So how can I lose? It's one shot through and take no prisoners. I'm inviting anybody I know to show up and have fun.

March 27, 2018 at 02:54 PM · In all my years of playing ~ including when performing as the winner of concerto competitions ~ I have neither invited nor wanted to invite anyone I know to any performances. My parents knew not to attend, or at least not to let me know that they're out there. To my knowledge, my family has never seen me perform live. Recordings and YouTube can't be avoided. There is greater ease when playing to an anonymous mass of faces, rather than to choking in front of people that I know.

March 27, 2018 at 03:33 PM · It depends on the concert's program. But I always invite people to our orchestra's performances. And I also buy tickets for them (at our -orchestra members - discounte prices) trying to make it easier for them. At the ESO (Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra) we usually get a complementary (free) ticket for each concert, but I try to encourage people to come in spite of the increased prices, promoting our concerts in my best way. And not only because I would like our organization to benefit, but I made my little goal to offer something nice to my friends, relatives or co-workers. Thank you.

March 27, 2018 at 06:53 PM · I had a friend who was an actor, back in the day. At one point I had to tell her to stop sending me promotional material for her career because I was her friend, not marketing fodder. I think that's why most pro musicians only invite people every now and then to their concerts. It gets annoying after a while to constantly be hit up to attend show after show, and the recipient feels like they're just being used for someone else's career, and they're not really friends. I myself when I was a performer limited invites to truly special performances that I was proud to be in. Then, that way, everybody involved feels a part of something great, and has a great time!

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