In last week’s article, The Three Keys To Social Media Marketing For Orchestras, I asked readers what else of value, besides the actual music, do orchestras have that is interesting enough to potential ticket buyers and donors that it can be given away as a free gift. The responses were thought provoking and I want to use those suggestions as a starting point for continuing the discussion…
The always watching and ever thoughtful Lisa Hirsch observed that some interesting variations on traditional resources might be a good place to begin looking.
Each SF Symphony program has a couple of pages of little interviews with an orchestral musician. There are typical questions: how’d you start playing your instrument? what music do you love? what are you reading? what are your hobbies?
These could go on the web site, too. I would additionally like to see behind-the-scenes articles about subjects like how the conductor prepares, how a season is put together, rehearsal photos, etc. No rights issues with any of this.
Lisa’s comment made me think of Elizabeth Lunday’s book, Secret Lives of Great Composers: What Your Teachers Never Told You About the World’s Musical Masters and how wonderful it would be if we had something as riveting as her material as a resource (lean more about Lunday’s book here).
What sets a live orchestral performance apart from a recorded one is, among other things, the social aspect of the outing. A concert could offer an informal reception before or during intermission that includes a free beverage with the price of the ticket (alcoholic or not, although I certainly prefer my listeners to be soused). Even better, what if the management had a few “docents” that milled about and casually chatted, cocktail-party style– not “pre-concert lecture” style– with small groups of attendees? Concert-goers would feel welcomed, and informed about the evening’s offerings.
Those of us on the inside of music-making (which is almost everyone reading this blog), usually forget how lucky we are to feel so comfortable at performances. After all, these halls are like home to many of us, and it’s likely that we’ll run into friends and colleagues and maybe even grab a spontaneous bite with them after the show. Fun! But a great many people in the audience do not know another soul there, and can feel a bit out of place or even lonely, just like going to a party where they don’t know anyone. If a docent noticed someone standing by themselves, or a couple standing together, drinks in hand, not saying too much but just looking around, that’s a golden opportunity for a friendly face to approach them, welcome them, and ask them if they’d like to know a little bit about what they’ll be hearing, or about the musicians. As Molly has been writing recently in her blog , the sense of feeling that there’s a community around you and that your presence is really appreciated, goes a long way to making people want to return for more. Let’s be bold and make that appreciation known!
But without moving too far toward face to face encounters (although there’s no denying that value), what sorts of ideas are sparked by these observations and suggestions?