In July, I conducted a crowdfunding campaign to cover travel expenses in order to attend and perform at the National Flute Association convention in New Orleans. I crowd funded for a variety of reasons:

  • a very short time frame of only 3 weeks
  • the importance of performing new music at such a large gathering
  • not knowing when this type of opportunity would come around again
  • and more which you can read about here

As a freelance musician, earning a living in this business is very challenging. Sometimes, no matter how much you learn about the business side of things and implement it into your day to day routine, the new students, the paid gigs, or the cushy traditional jobs just never materialize. This is why crowdfunding can be so attractive.

Crowdfunding is a way for creatives to invite their audience to participate in the creation process, and cultivate a patron-artist relationship that was mostly out of reach of all but those with enough disposable income to commission a piece or painting. Crowdfunding now enables us all to become patrons and shareholders in art that we believe in.

Personal reasons aside, let me walk you through the steps I considered to set up my crowdfunding campaign.

Platform

There are a lot of platforms available for your campaign – Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Rockethub are just a few. Research each site’s fees and decide where your project would best fit. For my recent campaign, I decided to go with GoFundMe, a donation website that can be utilized for a wide variety of causes and projects. Since my campaign wasn’t funding a specific creative project but funding travel costs for myself and my pianist, I felt that GoFundMe was the most appropriate option with affordable fees.

Budget

If you’re setting up a campaign that enables you to keep all the funds you raise, don’t be afraid to set a realistic budget and add 10% to cover the website fees. Although I came very close to raising the entire amount I needed to cover travel expenses, I set a lower budget because I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. Be bold and ask for you what you need. If what you’re asking has any value, your supporters are going to help you out.

If they see the value in your project, you should too!

Promotion

Another thing I factored into my overall projections was the amount of time I would need to spend to raise a daily minimum amount. Anyone who has crowd funded will tell you that running a crowdfunding project can become a full time job. I was fortunate in this instance that my budget and daily minimum were low enough that I didn’t have to stay up all hours of the night to raise funds.

With that said, if you’re thinking about crowd funding a project now or in the future, think about your social media presence and your online brand. Do you have a core audience beyond your family and friends? Cultivating a strong network – local and online – will come in handy when you need to raise money. If you have these building blocks in place, promotion will be a lot easier. Don’t try to build a brand and promote all at the same time!

Conclusion

I don’t think crowdfunding is going away anytime soon, but I do think that it isn’t appropriate for every project. If I’d had more time to find travel grants or ways to generate additional income on my own, I would have not undertaken this campaign.

Fiscal sponsorship is another viable option for musicians and Fractured Atlas is one resource for artists. Research all viable options and decide what fits your goal. When you have the details of your project and a projected budget figured out, you’ll be able to decide which option works best for you. You’ll have more success when you use the right platform, whether it be crowdfunding, grants or fiscal sponsorship.

from think positive 30

Tips from Jen Cluff for playing it perfectly in the practice room, and at your lesson here

Check out the five facets of performance preparation from the Musician’s Way here

And the three ways to unlock quality time here

Protect your hearing here

Read acclaimed cellist Joshua Roman‘s thoughts about a career in music

And how music education helps students learn, achieve and succeed, free pdf download here

See what Nashville is doing with its ambitious music-ed program

And read how music training enhances children’s verbal intelligence

Ask yourself, are standardized tests in the internet age the right answer?

And see how teaching artists are the future of arts education

Join the discussion on Greg Sandow’s “Who’s Your Audience?” and on Paul Judy’s reflective post on rethinking orchestras

Learn how to sell new music from the Savvy Musician

Check out the music museums of the 21st century

Then be inspired by TAKE A STAND, based on the El Sistema model, it seeks to unite music programs throughout the U.S., providing leaders with tools for growth through a series of conferences and workshops, and creating a pipeline of music teachers to be trained via the launch of a new Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in Music degree program.  For more info click here

Arts teachers apply for the Surdna Foundation Arts Teachers Fellowship Program (SATF)Deadline: November 14, 2011.  Inviting arts teachers from public arts high schools to apply for funding for artistic development through its Arts Teachers Fellowship Program (SATF). Eligible schools include specialized public arts high schools, as well as arts-focused, magnet and charter high schools. The program offers teachers the opportunity to immerse themselves in their own creative work, interact with other professional artists, and stay current with new practices. For more info click here

Check out the new Fellowship for Leaders in Arts and Culture program. Deadline is October 26, 2011

Sing “A Song United for a Global Spring

And follow your heart….thank you Steve Jobs

Flutronix: Review

May 31, 2011

Through a chance meeting on myspace, a unique duo was born. Brooklyn based Flutronix is a classically trained pair of outstanding flutists that have made the crossover into a widely appealing electroacoustic fusion. Allison Loggins-Hull and Nathalie Joachim are combining their passion for the flute and composition and forging a new way, creating more accessible pathways for people that may not otherwise know about classical music and engaging new audiences as a result.

I was pleased to receive a copy of their Kickstarter funded debut album. Mesmerized from the onset by the layers of sound in Joachim’s piece “Crazy,” the album delivers a diversity of styles in each track from electronica to hip-hop to reggae. As a fan of Steve Reich, I particularly enjoyed the loops in “Stacked” which is reminiscent of Reich’s “Vermont Counterpoint.”

This album was arranged to showcase the duo’s multiple influences without tiring the listener. The vocals in “Aware” and “Wander” further showcase the duo’s compositional and multimedia abilities to produce two intriguing duets between flute and voice. I also enjoyed the more virtuosic flute pieces, “Bit of Everything” and “Pray.” For flutists, the licks sound so familiar (like Taffanel and Gaubert familiar) but made cool by pairing with electronica.

As a classical flutist with a non-musician spouse, I am constantly searching for music that will appeal to my husband while also being able to appreciate it for its artistic value. He enjoyed Flutronix’s offerings as did my brother-in-law. I was excited to share this with them if for no other reason than to give them an example of great flute playing within a context they could appreciate.

I hope that Flutronix will continue this project, and that their creativity will inspire others to pursue their unique projects. You can purchase Flutronix’s album from their website in addition to iTunes and Amazon.

Check out these other links:

Flutronix on Facebook , myspace , and youtube

Brooklyn’s Darmstadt: Flutronix, a great article about the duo

*Originally posted on The Sensible Flutist, January 2011

© Alexis Del Palazzo, 2011

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