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Topic: Getting music published, distributors, and performance opportunities...help me!

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  1. #1

    Getting music published, distributors, and performance opportunities...help me!

    You know what? I'm a young composer who really wants to get something performed. I also want to be able to allow people all over the country to perform my music, however, I don't know how to go about doing this.

    First of all, is writing the piece which I can do fine. Then it's a matter of getting a copy of the score and all the parts printed. Even that, is not too much of a problem. I could then go to many conductors and show them my work, and have them look at it. A problem starts to come into play here because most of the time conductors don't have the time to look at your score right on the spot, so they may require a couple of weeks, even a month or two to fully review the score and make a decision about performance. In the meantime, I would like to have other conductors look at my score as well, so I would have to print up more copies to give to other conductors. That's a lot of money because when I got my piano concerto printed out, it was 94 pages long, printed on US Tabloid paper, and costed me $20. Now I know that doesn't sound terribly expensive, but imagine printing up four or five copies of the score, and then you're not even guaranteed a performance at that.

    I was thinking of a way to solve my problem...maybe I could send my music to a publisher. Would this solve my music distribution problems? I want my music out there, but I don't want to have to worry about going through all of the headache in doing so...it can't be this hard for everone

  2. #2
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    Re: Getting music published, distributors, and performance opportunities...help me!


  3. #3
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    Re: Getting music published, distributors, and performance opportunities...help me!

    I’ve thought of this and here is my solution – I’ve started taking lessons from an established composer. He said he will introduce me to some musicians to play some of my music so I can get pointers on what real musicians like and don’t like. These won’t be performances, just part of my lesson. However, knowing the performers will help get an “in” to the different groups around here. Not large orchestras, but chamber groups. If I start getting my music played by local chamber groups it is just a step away to groups all over the country and then the world. If people like these works that might open the door to having full orchestras play my work.

    A lot of time and effort will be involved in this plan, but anything worth while takes a lot of time and effort.
    Trent P. McDonald

  4. #4
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    Re: Getting music published, distributors, and performance opportunities...help me!

    Quote Originally Posted by dermod
    Looks interesting. Thanks for posting this.
    Trent P. McDonald

  5. #5

    Re: Getting music published, distributors, and performance opportunities...help me!

    Slightly to the left of topic; but possibly of general interest: http://www.musicbizacademy.com/knab/...ellonline1.htm

    etLux
    www.DavidSosnowski.com
    .

  6. #6
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    Re: Getting music published, distributors, and performance opportunities...help me!

    Craig,

    Where are you getting your paper? That's really steep. A 94 page score would be less than 50 physical pages (unless you already meant 94 physical pages). I get my 11x17 paper in bone or ivory card stock in half reams for about $20 each, which comes out to only $4.00 per 50 sheets. Even the 12x18 stuff is only about 50% more than the tabloid sheets. You should be able to print a 100 page score easily for $5.00 at the very most (and that's if you're including the cost of toner).

    Try to find a better paper supplier. I think mine will probably take a phone order if you can't find one locally. Of course, you'd have to pay shipping, but it's still going to be a lot better than what you're paying now.

    Let me know.

    Scott

  7. #7

    Re: Getting music published, distributors, and performance opportunities...help me!

    Depending on several factors (paper quality, cover stock, print quality, score density, etc.), my printing cost for 8.5x11" score runs somewhere between about $2.40 and $4.80 or so per hundred pages, double-sided, including ink, cover stock, and a GBC/proClick binding.

    That's doing it myself, on an HP d145 inkjet, of course -- which I must say does a great job, even on high-density, high-resolution orchestral scoring.

    For high-end jobs, I do thermal binding, and use www.CoverBind.com covers. That gets pretty pricey, though.

    etLux
    www.DavidSosnowski.com
    .

  8. #8
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    Re: Getting music published, distributors, and performance opportunities...help me!

    Hey et Lux, for binding you might look at the Akiles CoilMac-41. I paid $350.00 for mine and it's paid for itself many times over. It uses soft flexible spring spiral binding and makes for a very easy page turn, but it's resistant to becoming bent or damaged. You can get the coils in standard-sized lengths, or in lengths of 3 feet. I have 6 different radius sizes for different score thickness in the 3 foot length, so I'm able to bind all the way up to a 12 x 18 score and just snip the coil to length. It's also great for binding non-standard sizes as well. Conductors love this binding too, which certainly can't hurt.
    Last edited by scottnorma; 04-17-2005 at 07:29 PM.

  9. #9

    Re: Getting music published, distributors, and performance opportunities...help me!

    Quote Originally Posted by scottnorma
    Hey et Lux, for binding you might look at the Akiles CoilMac-41. I paid $350.00 for mine and it's paid for itself many times over. It uses soft flexible spring spiral binding and makes for a very easy page turn, but it's resistant to becoming bent or damaged. You can get the coils in standard-sized lengths, or in lengths of 3 feet. I have 6 different radius sizes for different score thickness in the 3 foot length, so I'm able to bind all the way up to a 12 x 18 score and just snip the coil to length. It's also great for binding non-standard sizes as well.
    I looked at a number of them, including, I think, the CoilMac line. Many of them were just "out there" on price, considering I don't do a lot of scores, and also have thermal binding capability.

    Cost was thus a consideration, and so was an easy page turn, good appearance, durability, ease of assembly, etc. The proClick perforator dingus was fairly cheap ($80), comparitively... and their detente circular plastic parallel-strap binding doo-dahs work extremely well -- though they have a disappointingly small range of sizes, which can be a problem.

    The CoilMac would probably be the far better choice for many, if they can afford the ticket, especially if it's going to be their primary binding method... but on the lower-cost end, the GBC/proClick does a nice job, too.

    etLux
    www.DavidSosnowski.com
    .

  10. #10

    Re: Getting music published, distributors, and performance opportunities...help me!

    The absolute best way to get your works performed is to be a University student. Then you have a vast resource as a student composer of instrumentalists. It is important to write mostly chamber music, because it is 1,000,000 times easier to pull together 2-4 performers than it is 30-100.

    The even bigger plus side is the training you would get from the brilliant composers that reside at the universities. A composer's bread and butter usually comes from taking a professor position in a University anyway. Mostly because that is the only way to make a stable living unless you happen to be Gyorgy Ligeti, Karel Husa, or a few other guys.

    It is also the best place to meet guys like that, because composers like the university society. They like to be around professors and orchestras more willing to play modern works. A lot of the University orchestras are fabulous. But, if you are a student composer you would rarely get the full orchestra performance unless you are at a large University or a Conservatory. Even then it will be rare. Trentpmcd's plan has merit, but it may be harder than just going to school. Only because it takes far less time in school to meet several great musicians who would love to play your music at recitals for free. And when they graduate (performance majors) guess who they will call for commisions.

    The higher you go with you education the better, because music cannot be perfected and is always a learning process. I have already decided to stop trying to 'make it' and get my stuff published now and get my Masters and Doctorate in Composition/Theory and take some conducting. That way I can get a good paying University job, be around people in my field, and eventually get published.

    These publishers are a pain to deal with. If you want to go that route, I wouldn't even consider sending in orchestra music. ..Even though your Concerto is fabulous, they won't touch it because no one will buy it because there aren't many customers for orchestral works. What you need to send is chamber music that can be played by good high school level performers.

    Oh, and most important of all: Don't send them a score first. It will end up in the trash. Send a letter asking if they would be interested in seeing some of your scores and describe them. They will write you back if they want to see your stuff. They don't touch MIDI recordings, they want the real thing. And most publishers in the US use Finale and in Europe Sibelius. If you ever get signed on it would be wise to have one of these programs because they like to get the Finale file instead of a paper manuscript they have to edit.

    All of the above information comes from a published composer that taught me everything I know up to this point, Dr. Charles W. Smith. I asked him almost the exact same question about getting published. He gets his music performed all over the world and is a member of the Bowling Green Chamber Orchestra, which recently released a CD with two pieces he composed for Bluegrass band and chamber orchestra.

    Hope all of this helps. I know from experience how hard it is to get your stuff performed outside of school. I am working at the hotel for only one more year until I walk halls everyday full of performers who will at least consider playing something of mine.

    ...and I will keep every program!
    Jess Hendricks
    DMA Student and Teaching Asst in Music Theory/ Composition at the University of Miami
    Personal Website

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