Wrap Up Your Holiday Performances With a Contract

“A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.” Tony Robbins

December can be an opportune time to expand your performance/business experience. This requires not only ferreting out your own performance venues but also experimenting with building 2-3 different programs to suit differing venues, to creating a contract once the details have been settled on like price, time and place of the performance. It’s a wonderful opportunity to hone your business confidence as you continue to gain performance experience.
Creating a contract is not complex or difficult. What I would suggest is to either list or mind map all the items that need to be covered in this contract. Ask friends and those in your family, especially if they are involved in the business world to help you with this.
If you are using an accompanist or other singers/instrumentalists for your gigs, you will want to put a simple contract together for them as well that includes places, times, and how much they are getting and when they will be paid. It will also have their and your signatures and dates on it. This way, there can be no second guessing, or misunderstandings.
When making and then signing a contract with each party, the client, accompanist, etc., make a copy for your records as well.
Here are some of the items you might want to consider:

  1. Price – When figuring this out you first need to know what your expenses are in preparing for this event plus the extra you will make for performing. You need to think about the cost of coachings, time spent putting your program together, physical programs if required, the cost of a new outfit, if applicable, your accompanist fees, if you are using instrumentalists or other singers, what there fee will be, etc. Also include any travel fee like taxi or car expenses.

  3. Once you have this figure, you need to divide it into the number of performances you have lined up for the season. Remember, you have to make money yourself after expenses. This is a business, not personal or emotional. It’s a job, your job right now. So get busy and find how much you have spent on preparation, and how much you need to walk away with after those expenses are paid. Are you going to do it for nothing because you are excited about getting to perform or are you going to do business and make some money this season? It’s up to you. Most people appreciate the fact that you are acting in a businesslike manner and are happy to know you have a plan and know how to carry out that plan. They don’t then have to worry if you will be on time, come prepared, if you will be worth the money, etc.

If you are interested in seeing a mock contract, please go to www.ariaready.net and go to the end of the current newsletter on the home page. Remember, it’s always about business, which is not personal or emotional. It’s just your job. The more you can start thinking about how your do what you do and see it as a business, the better you will become at your craft.
Happy Holidays and let me know how your performances work out when using a contract to keep all parties aware of their expectations and responsibilities. Ciao, Carol

Carol Kirkpatrick

For as long as she can remember, singing and performing have always been in Carol Kirkpatrick’s blood. From her beginnings in a small farming town in southeastern Arizona, through her early first-place triumph at the prestigious San Francisco Opera Auditions, and subsequent career on international stages, Ms. Kirkpatrick has thrilled audiences and critics alike. “A major voice, one worth the whole evening.” (The New York Times) Since retiring from the stage, she continues to be in demand as a voice teacher, clinician, and adjudicator of competitions including the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.  Combining her knowledge of performance, business, and interpersonal skills, she has written the second edition of her highly regarded book, Aria Ready: The Business of Singing, a step-by-step career guide for singers and teachers of singing.  Aria Ready has been used by universities, music conservatories and summer and apprentice programs throughout the world as a curriculum for teaching Ms. Kirkpatrick’s process of career development, making her “the” expert in this area.  She lives in Denver, Colorado.   YouTube.com/kirkpatrickariaready