I have been so inspired by the letters that have been coming in from those of you who have gone out there and not only tried to make things happen as a singer, but have succeeded! Here’s one:
With the spark of your e-mail*, I organized a concert of Louisville area professional and semi-professional singers on Feb. 27. I have involved several large ecumenical organizations and the response has been quite positive.
All the best, Douglas Biggs
Bravo to Douglas, and brava to Deborah (see page 53), and to all of you who have gone out and made it happen! I wish you could read all the letters we’ve received. They are so inspiring! When you come to the 2005 Convention you’ll remember again what you may have forgotten: Your singing means more to people than raising money—it changes lives [see JoAnn Ottley’s article on page 36].
Many of you are attending Mark Stoddard’s marketing classes and are going out and making it happen on behalf of your careers, showing the world that your singing is so much more than mere fluff! You are a business!
Some of you, for example, are putting up your websites, even though you were scared of technology! You told us, “I don’t know how.” But like most things, when you took it on and made it happen, you found the task wasn’t as big as your fear made it seem. Congratulations! And soon, we get letters about students finding you, about wedding jobs, symphony jobs, and opera jobs coming your way via the site, all because you tried! Your website went up, you got the word out and voilà, things happened.
In February, Classical Singer was at the ACDA convention, and our booth was across the aisle from Manhattan Productions. When I spoke with the owner, he told me that he hires a lot of soloists, but added that he is amazed there are so many singers who think they should get an audition from nothing but a résumé! Manhattan Productions just won’t do that, he said. The owner told me that most of these ill-prepared singers don’t have a website, so he can’t view photos or hear clips. He said most don’t even have a CD ready for him. (Like most companies, he won’t hear cassettes—it takes too long to get to the right spot.)
Sometimes I hear singers complain that they don’t have the money to make a CD, or do their website, or get good headshots, or … or … or. They go around with poor materials and expect to be hired! You are a business—and you need venture capital! One of the first jobs of any business is to learn how to raise money! Starting a career is expensive and you have to learn how to raise money, by teaching or other methods.
In this issue, you’ll find an article on how to start a teaching studio in any location. If you need money and you know how to teach, it’s a natural.
Last month CS featured a different type of article on raising money. If you need money, you can make it happen! You really can. Lots of singers are raising thousands to go to summer programs, for lessons, for conventions (hint, hint! I want to see you in New York!) for travel, for stunning concert gowns (see page 26), etc. If you ordered Mark Stoddard’s booklet on how to raise money for tsunami relief, you can apply the same principles to your own relief fund! (E-mail Aubrey@classicalsinger.com if you would like a booklet.)
If you aren’t out there making it happen, I guess my question would be: Why are you reading this magazine, month after month?
I’m not writing this article for my own entertainment. My job today is to motivate you to get off the couch and spring into action! This magazine doesn’t do you any good sitting on your coffee table. Even if you use CS primarily as a resource for your students, they need to see you as an example!
Remember, “If we don’t try, then we don’t do; and if we don’t do, then why are we here?”
The CS Convention will help you. I’ve invited my personal professional contacts to come to the convention just for you, and I’m so happy to introduce you to them. It’s what networking is all about.
So get up and make it happen—and we’ll see you in May!
* In April we sent out an e-mail asking singers to do a benefit concert for the tsunami victims and offering a free booklet explaining how to go about this project. If you are not on the free e-mail list, you are missing out. Go to our homepage and sign up. www.classicalsinger.com. Note: we protect your privacy. We will never give out your contact info—electronic or otherwise.
CJ Williamson, Editor