Among the litany of routine industry rituals is the business card exchange. In fact, I feel safe proclaiming that most administrators in this business take having business cards for granted and one of the most prolific environments for exchanging business cards is at a convention. Nevertheless, my time at last week’s International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM) conference made me realize that orchestra musicians were not provided with business cards issued by their respective ensembles…
This isn’t the first time I’ve noticed this but it never fails to strike me as odd every time it happens. Additionally, I find it even more unusual that musicians from the larger budget ensembles (which comprise the ranks of ICSOM) have no business cards issued by their organization.
There were no shortage of business cards from the contingent of union representatives, attorneys, and even the small number of orchestra managers in attendance but I didn’t encounter a single orchestra musician brandishing a business card issued by their ensemble. Unsurprisingly, many musicians had their own business cards but they were printed at their own expense and only one of those referenced their ensemble. Most simply had the musician’s name, instrument, telephone, and email info.
None of musician business cards had any official looking logos or type font associated with their ensemble whereas all of the union representative business cards had their respective Local’s logo and/or the AFM seal.
Given all the talk about increased connections with the community these days, it seems that orchestras would want to generate one of the most fundamental pieces of business identification used in social introductions for its most valuable artistic employees (not to mention the most numerous). After all, napkins aren’t always handy.
Unfortunately, there are some inherent snags when designing a useful musician business card as orchestra musicians do not have individual office extensions or email addresses (although there’s no good reason for the latter). Nevertheless, this doesn’t make the task of issuing business cards impossible; in fact, you can even create a cost effective way to generate cards for the entire ensemble.
For example, an orchestra musician business card could simply feature the organization’s name, logo, business address, musician’s name, and instrument on the front of the card and leave entries on the back for the musician to personalize telephone, cellular, fax, and email contact information. The picture to your left (click to enlarge) illustrates how this would look (feel free to use this as a template to develop your own orchestra musician business card).
If your organization has the resources, a better solution is to have each individual musician complete a form indicating which contact information they prefer to use and print out cards based on that. If any musicians don’t want cards, then so be it.
Orchestra Managers: Does your organization print business cards for all of the musicians (not just the music director or concertmaster)? If so, how often and what sort of information does it contain? If you have samples to provide, send them along in an email – I’m sure readers would be interested in learning more (if you don’t have a digital copy, feel free to send a hard copy along to the mailing address found at the top of my business website and I’ll scan a copy to use for publication).
Musicians: Have you ever asked your orchestra managers for business cards? If so, what was the response? Do you find them useful? How did you incorporate telephone, cell, email, and fax contact information? Does your organization allow you to use the ensemble’s name and logo if you have to design and print your own business cards?