…it behooves all composers and musicians to participate in a little supply-side bonhomie, if you know what I mean.  I’m talking self-promotion, growing your personal brand, reaching out and touching people who can do you some good.

You’re in luck.  The next Chamber Music America First Tuesdays  workshop (which is next Tuesday) features music journalists Nate Chinen and Steve Smith who will give you the real skinny on  how artists and presenters can attract print-media attention for concerts and CD releases.

The particulars:

Workshop Title: Meet the Music Press
Speakers: Music journalists Nate Chinen and Steve Smith
When: Tuesday, March 1; 3:00–5:00 P.M.
Where:  Saint Peter’s Church, 619 Lexington Avenue at 54th St., New York City
Cost:  The workshop is free to registrants
RSVP: Seating is limited, and reservations are required. To reserve, contact Caitlin Murphy, program assistant, CMA, cmurphy@chamber-music.org, (212) 242-2022, x16.

Says in the press release that Chinen and Smith will cover such questions as:

  • How do you approach editors at newspapers and magazines?
  • How do you maximize the chances that your event will appear in a “Listings” section?
  • What persuades an editor to assign a feature story on a particular artist, ensemble, or event?
  • How do I take advantage of the blogosphere and social media to attract press attention?

Nate Chinen writes about jazz and pop for the New York Times and is a columnist for JazzTimes.   Steve Smith is the music editor of Time Out New York and writes regularly on classical/contemporary music for The New York Times and is one of the nicest people alive.

And since I’m up from my nap, if you’re not a regular reader of  our other online publication Chamber Musician Today, you should be.  You learn a lot of interesting stuff like Ten Signs That You Have Just Written a Mahler Symphony.

4 Responses to “In the Year of the Chewable Ambien Tab…”
  1. Chris Becker says:

    “There is no classical music critic here in Houston as far as I know.”

    I discovered that Charles Ward just wrote a review of the Da Camera Houston Chamber Choir performance at Rothko Chapel, so obviously I need to retract the statement above. I’m not clear if Ward is a regular contributor or on staff classical writer or no, but I’ll find out soon. Sorry for my confusion!

    But for PR and marketing, blogs in combination with a lot of weekly and monthly free print publications are what’s working.

  2. Chris Becker says:

    But even Steve can’t cover the breadth of music that is taking place in New York City. I don’t personally know of a single person who can – no matter what city they’re in.

    I took part in a piece called Music for 100 Carpenters in NYC shortly before relocating to Houston. And basically, the piece was just what it said, 100 “carpenters” (many of them musicians) participating in a theater work that was scored for hammering, nails, and lunch pails. The composer is a friend now based in Berlin. He’d initially planned to utilize a PR person to promote the event, and he had the budget for it. But for many reasons, both creative and personal, decided instead to promote it completely by word of mouth. A few friends and I chose to use Facebook and blogs to get the word out and recruit participants. To our surprise, the two performances of “100 Carpenters” had capacity audiences. We actually turned away people the 2nd night. And there was absolutely NO coverage in Time Out NY, the Times, or any of the print media in advance or afterwards. But it didn’t matter. And some integrity to the piece was preserved that might have been compromised otherwise.

    This isn’t a complaint, this is just an observation from the frontline of music making.

    Further back, I mailed a CD to John Schaeffer’s show New Sounds with a short letter describing the music. I forgot about this, until I received an email telling me the music on the CD would be featured on an hour of New Sounds. Mr. Schaeffer went on the feature the CD again on a totally different program, and later play some more of my music that I’d simply posted online for people to check out.

    That experience was really a wonderful affirmation that radio personalities and writers do try to keep their ear to the ground. I wish more music writers and critics did this. Advice about press packets and how to be polite in your emails is all fine, but it’s not the whole story. Never was.

  3. Chris raises an interesting question. How does one’s local market change the way in which a composer approaches this issue?

    I think, even in New York, having a robust online and social media presence is very important. While Chris is right that we do have dedicated classical critics in several New York periodicals, even here the space apportioned to music coverage, particularly of the classical variety, dwindles with each passing year. As Jerry mentioned, Steve Smith is truly a wonderful advocate for new music in both the NYT and TONY. But his blog (www.nightafternight.com) is another platform he uses to get out the word.

    This kind of versatility is important for both artists and commentators on the arts. And it requires being able to market and write differently to best suite these various types of media. An ongoing and evolving process.

  4. Chris Becker says:

    How do you approach editors at newspapers and magazines?
    How do you maximize the chances that your event will appear in a “Listings” section?
    What persuades an editor to assign a feature story on a particular artist, ensemble, or event?
    How do I take advantage of the blogosphere and social media to attract press attention?

    That last question is very intriguing. There is no classical music critic here in Houston as far as I know. Most of the stories I’m reading regarding classical music – and any other form of music you can imagine – are on various local blogs. A “listing” in a calendar is par for the course for anyone doing decent PR for themselves. But the real PR seems to be happening online and via social media.

    At least, that’s what I’m observing here in Houston. New York being a publishing capital seems to still be clinging to the old school notion of a “good review” in the Times or wherever has having some kind of impact on audience turn out. I don’t think that’s really the case any more. Although I’m sure there’s an argument (or two, or three) that would say otherwise.

  5.