The Summerglen Files

Music, Creativity, and Everyday Life at Summerglen Music in Raleigh, NC

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The Benefits of Getting Out There

May 31st, 2008 · No Comments

As I said in the last post, since I’ve lived here I’ve always wondered why there aren’t more musicians out playing in public. So this summer, instead of wondering, I’ve decided to become one of those musicians! For the past couple of days, Andrew and I have gone around town scouting for places to play, and talking to people about what we do. Although I was worried about getting a negative response (because don’t we all hate rejection?), it turns out that most people’s response was, “Cool!”

On Thursday, we met several very nice people in our travels around Raleigh, including the manager of the Borders Books and Music (which has a nice outdoor patio to play on) and the director of the Sertoma Arts Center (which has special events that need music AND an adjoining park where we can play informally). What we found was that, even though many of our new friends had never thought of having live music at their locations, they were very open to the possibility. So, we’re playing on the Borders patio on Monday mornings, and the park on Friday or Saturday mornings.

What I’ve learned about my town is that there are very few professional musicians here. Our state symphony attracts some excellent players, but you don’t really see them anywhere besides their symphony gig. There are a couple of freelance professional string players floating around, and some various types of full-time percussionists, but most people around here have some kind of day job, even if they consider themselves to be “pro-level” musicians.

This scenario makes it reeeeeeeeally hard to set up a salsa band, as even the musicians’ union can’t find us a decent or reliable bass player. But it is also a great situation, because we operate on a different schedule from most other musicians here. We can play a concert at a coffeeshop at 9:30 on a Monday morning! And when we do that, people are interested, and they want more music. And when the demand for music goes up, Raleigh becomes a more musical town, which is really a wonderful thing!

So, there are many rewards for getting out there and talking to people about what we do. The trick is to keep doing it, because it would be much easier for me to chill out here than pound pavement and talk to strangers. But as we’ve found over the past couple of days, when strangers enjoy good music, they quickly turn into friends!

Tags: music business · musical collaboration

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