I’ve seen frowns, squirms and uncomfortable shifting when I approach this topic with musicians.
“It’s all about the music, nothing else.” takes an ingrained stance.
Yet today’s topic is a crucial part of any performance.
You…the music and…
That’s right, an AUDIENCE!
No one tells you of the amazing benefits having your own audience gives you. They don’t just come to watch you perform. They do so much more for you. I am amazed by the disdain some musicians have for audiences. Feeling like they are a hassle. An annoyance.
There is some recognition that audiences are crucial to our profession.
So stop resisting them and start loving them.
It’s ok to want an audience. You no longer need to apologise or feel guilty for your desire. You are allowed. You have permission!
So how can an audience help you? Can they do more than listen to your performance? Let’s find out:
1. Confidence: Having your own audience allows you to organise your own recitals. Whether that’s digital, in person, or a mixture of both. You know that there is a group of people ready to receive your creative work. You also become more desirable for promoters and venues if you can say that you can sell X number of tickets.
2. Energy: Your audience can create energy around your content and performances. Anticipation, excitement and joy are very intoxicating and creates a buzz. Think of the excitement around Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Nicola Bernedetti or Andras Schiff. It is their audience who creates this.
3. Advocation: Your audience can share what you do with other people. They become advocates of your work. The power of word of mouth beats all other types of marketing. This is because people are more likely to trust someone they know. They could tell a friend about your new album, blog or performance. This natural amplification will then attract more people to your work.
4. Engagement: You’ll have a group of people that will engage with your work. This could be as simple as commenting on your content. The next step would be subscribing to your podcast, email or youtube channel. When one person starts to engage, it gives the social green light for others to join in.
5. Inspiration: Take the time to get to know your audience. You can create the opportunity for them to inspire you. Take today’s email, the inspiration came from a message on Linked In asking about this topic. For you, it could be a new work to perform. Or collaborations with other artists, different performing formats or more engaging experiences.
6. Clarity: When you start sharing your ideas with your audiences, you gain clarity. The process of sharing takes energy. Refining jumbled thoughts into a coherent message and position. Writing to you each week has definitely helped me find clarity with the ideas. With that comes more confidence as well.
7. Focus: Lockdowns have highlighted how easy it is to lose focus. Especially if your diary is completely empty. This changes when you have your own audience. You know that people are waiting to hear from you. They are looking forward to hearing from you. This gives you the focus and motivation to produce something for them.
8. Purpose: Your purpose is to perform. To be a musician. You want to help people feel something special from these great works. By having your own audience who want to engage with your creativity, you can now fulfil your purpose. Your deepest desire.
9. Finances: Your audience will buy your tickets, recordings, sheet music and more. They can provide you with that financial support. Which means you know you earn from what you love to do. What an amazing way to be creative.
10. Support: When you have fantastic relationships with your audience, you can ask them for help. This could be to help fundraise for a project, a charity or a particular cause that means a lot to you and to them. Amelia Conway-Jones who set up the Musicians For Musicians campaign is a fantastic example of this. She has helped raise thousands of pounds or Help Musicians.
It’s time to shift the view that audiences magically appear to listen to your performance. Take the time and energy to connect with people via your content. You can start to build relationships. Generate that energy and buzz around your work. Now you can begin to open up these 10 wonderful benefits of having your own audience:
Confidence, Energy, Advocation, Engagement, Inspiration, Clarity, Focus, Purpose, Finances and Support.
These nourishing words are essential for any creative to thrive. The beauty is that it is connecting with other people. That is the ultimate energiser!
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