In the local paper this week, there was a letter to the editor lamenting the absence of venues in our community for young musicians to play their music. And I couldn’t help but agree – there is a terrible shortage of venues where young musicians can hone their performance skills. In fact there is a terrible shortage of venues for original music, period.
But this doesn’t mean that you have to hide out in your basement feeling sorry for yourself while you play your music. There is an alternative.
House concerts have become quite a phenomenon in folk music circles – for good reason. Simply put, a house concert is an invitation-only concert in someone’s home. It is a great way to share your music with the people who are most interested in hearing it. And you might even make a few bucks while you’re at it.
If you are a musician, or small band, looking to build an audience for your music, house concerts are an idea to which you should give serious consideration. You can host one yourself, or ask a supportive friend with a decent-sized living room or basement to host one for you. Then start inviting your friends. Make sure you set a cap on the number of invitees; and charging a nominal fee for tickets will ensure that people actually show up. Make sure that you charge enough so that you or the host won’t be out-of-pocket for the event, and if you want to get paid for your services, you need to write that into your ticket prices too. If you can sell 20 tickets for $5 each, you’ve generated $100 in revenue – if you can sell a few CDs and start building an e-mail list, so much the better.
(And make sure that all of the guests know before they leave that you would be delighted to perform at a house concert in their home too!)