Tag Archives: audience engagement

‘SEE’ the power of music for arts audience development!

We are leading up to the Classical Music Webinar on Friday! Today we have a guest post by Catherine Starek.  Catherine is a graduate student with the desire to promote the arts to younger audiences.  She came across a particular type of program, symphonic photochoreography, that is being used by some orchestras with great results.  The following is her personal experience and opinions about this presentation and how it might be one answer for reaching out to new and younger audiences.  Enjoy!

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Do you ever wish you could ‘SEE’ the power of music?
bv Catherine Starek

If you answered yes, you aren’t alone. Some symphony orchestras are exploring innovative audio-visual performance options, such as James Westwater‘s symphonic photochoreography.

What is symphonic photochoreography? James Westwater explains: “Symphonic photochoreography is an innovative art form that engages audiences worldwide with evocative, multi-image photographic essays choreographed and performed live to selected works of classical music.” Learn more>>

bso_WestwaterKCC_grid

Baltimore Symphony performs a Westwater KCC piece.

I have attended two such performances, combining video and live orchestra.  The first was a performance of the Wizard of Oz by the North Carolina Symphony.

Every summer, the NC Symphony performs in Cary’s beautiful Koka Booth Amphitheatre. It is a lovely space with an expansive lawn, acres of surrounding forest, and a uniquely designed wooden stage situated next to Symphony Lake.  Members of the NCS staff roamed throughout the crowd, dressed as various Oz characters for the concert and screening of the Wizard of Oz.  The children’s  faces lit up with glee at the opportunity to meet Glinda the good witch, participate in the pre-concert “instrument zoo,” and stretch out on the lawn with their family for a picnic.  It was absolutely delightful.

North Carolina Symphony at Koka Booth (or Emerald City), July 10, 2010

Once the concert began, familiar sights and sounds flooded my senses. Hearing the music live was so exciting and the North Carolina Symphony performed with excellent precision and dynamic passion. The music coordinated perfectly with the moving images on the screen (sound track removed, of course). This was not only one of the most memorable concert experiences I have ever had, it made me appreciate the great talent, musical expression, and dynamism of the North Carolina Symphony musicians even more.

Video Games Live was another spectacular audio-visual performance experience. The Music Center at Strathmore located in North Bethesda, MD presented Video Games Live during their 2010-2011 concert season.  The multi-media extravaganza featured renowned video game composer, Tommy Tallarico, and incorporated members of the National Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorale.  This too was an interactive audience experience.  Some of the highlights included Guitar Hero play-offs, an audience costume contest — although this time, instead of mini Dorothy’s and flying monkeys, Nintendo characters such as the Mario Bros and even Tingle from the Legend of Zelda co-mingled in the hall — and a Video Games Live soundtrack and poster raffle.

Tingle, missing his balloon – Strathmore presents Video Games Live on April 7, 2012

The concert itself incorporated dynamic, rock concert lighting, video game screen shots projected on three enormous screens on stage, and the National Philharmonic performing video game music live.  Members of the audience ranged across all generations and people young and old found common ground with video games they had grown up with and loved.  I felt like I was in a sports stadium.  As the concert progressed, the audience would interact with the performance onstage (without the fear that normally accompanies the interruption of an orchestra).  People would laugh, cheer, clap and outright holler with approval. You could tell everyone was having a great time.  It was another exciting concert that I will never forget. (Read about the entire experience here>>)

What does this mean in terms of audience development,especially among younger audiences?

The themes running throughout the majority of comments about this type of format run from interactive and intergenerational, to dynamic, exciting, and more.  Concerts that stimulate both the visual and audio senses, at least in my opinion, seem stickier.  Highly memorable and interactive.  Finding common ground with so many members of your community is exciting in itself and I think these concerts provide a forum that makes this possible.  It’s not just music, it’s a concert experience...a shared concert experience that becomes a story that audiences want to share with their family and friends.

With innovative partnerships, dynamic multimedia, and exciting, multi-sensory audience experiences such as these, I encourage symphony orchestras to continue thinking outside of tradition, push their creative boundaries, and connect with their audiences in a variety of ways that are relevant and interesting to them.  This means you have to know your audience, which takes time and stems from strong relationships.  With audio-visual performances to facilitate social interaction and common ground, and enthusiastic, dedicated arts organizations, I think symphony orchestras in the U.S. and abroad have a lot to look forward to on the audience development horizon.

As Ms. Fanizza of Audience Development Specialists would say:“Cheers to happy and loyal audiences!”

What do you think of these “unconventional” performances? Do you think multi-sensory performances are distracting or enhancing to the symphony orchestra experience?

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Recommended Reading

More than Meets the Ear: Orchestras dive into the wide, wide world of multimedia performance.This issue of SYMPHONY Magazine “highlights how orchestras utilize and benefit from multimedia, such as Westwater’s photochoreography (article cover photo).”

The League of American Orchestra’s SYMPHONY magazine.

To read the article, click here>>

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Catherine Starek holds a bachelor’s of music education degree from UNC-Wilmington and is pursuing a master’s of arts management at American University in Washington, DC. She is completing her graduate research on the Millennial generation, and effective strategies for engaging younger audiences and donors in the U.S. symphony orchestra experience. [:O)]
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Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

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“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

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The balancing act of artist vs audience development

Prayforthedonkey

Pray for the Donkey by Gerda Rovetch

Today I recognize how balance is an important undertaking.  If you feel off balance, it doesn’t feel very good.  Balancing budgets are necessary for grants.  Balance is crucial for dance.  I could go on and on.  What I am thinking about right now is the balance between artist and audience development (arts marketing in general).

I have read a few blog posts recently (and have written a few in the past) about the necessity of keeping your audience in mind in all aspects of creating art and promoting art.  What do your audiences want?  How are you reaching your audiences in ways they want to be reached?  Are you speaking your audiences’ language?  Etc.

There is a point, however, that we might be taking this level of engagement with our audiences a bit too far.  When our art simply becomes a template of what the audience says it wants (mainly based on historical perspectives – do you really know your current audiences?), we can lose our artistic edge, and the audience will lose out on being challenged.

Please do not misunderstand.  I am still a big advocate for working with your audiences and getting to know their wants and needs to help you to create art that will be relevant to them. Having your audiences as partners and getting them fully entrusted in you and your art work is extremely important.

What I am thinking out loud in this moment is the fact that you can take audience information and then stretch past their boundaries too.  It is part of our duty as artists, right?

In many of the survey reports I have been scanning through again, one of the biggest reasons people go to arts events is to be challenged, to experience something new.  If all we provide is a template of what we think they want and present in ways they say they want, we might be doing them a disservice.   Yes, audiences say they want A, but in fact they may want AB or AC, something that gives them A, but pushes them slowly toward Z.  I hope this is starting to make a little sense.

As mentioned in a past post, the arts are a living, breathing, organism.  For us to continue to work by a template is choking the living daylights out of art.  For us not to program new and exciting developments to challenge our audiences is showing severe consequences.  New audiences rather not be boxed into old templates and older audiences, even though they say they are comfortable with templates are also showing up less due to boredom of the same old programs.

It has been discussed as a delicate balancing act.  The integrity of the artist vs. what the audiences want.  Yet I don’t think we have to continue to view it this way.  We can allow ourselves to be creative again in consultation with our audiences.  We can reach them in ways they desire to be reached and then stretch both ourselves and our audiences to a new reaching point.  This will allow both us and our audiences to grow, end the cycle of templates and of stifling ourselves as artists.

So consider your audiences in all that you do, and also consider how you can take them to newer artistic heights.  I am sure your audiences will be very thankful to you.

Thoughts?

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

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“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Please consider supporting ADS so we can continue our work.  Donate here! 

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

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Night pondering of the many personalities of Twitter for audience development

I was looking at the profiles of some new followers, and I realize there are some concrete personalities I am seeing.  Here are a few to get you thinking:

  • The Chatty Cathy or the Rampant Reply Robert: This Twitter personality is all about the conversation only.  You look at their stream and you see a sea of tweets starting with the @symbol.  There is no posting single thoughts or information.  Their profiles are more like chat rooms than anything else.
  • The Schizophrenic Sampler or the Nowhere Man: If you see an account that has tweets posted by many different people, meaning they hit the retweet button more than they post their own thought, you have come across the schizophrenic sampler.  I understand that these people are enthusiastic about sharing what they see, however, I often wonder if they have their own personality and opinions to share.
  • The Marketing Fool on the Hill: If all you see are post about them and what they are doing and selling, then you have come across this type of personality on Twitter.  Like the Fool on the Hill, they don’t realize that people don’t like them since they don’t like to be sold to 100% of the time.  This profile usually includes all the “I posted a photo on Facebook” or “I liked a YouTube” in which the YouTube is their latest and greatest.  They always are posting about their upcoming show, the music they are selling, etc, etc.  There’s a place for marketing on Twitter, but it should be a rare part of your tweeting experience.
  • The Quite the Quoter: These accounts are still hanging in there, but not as popular as they used to be.  This profile has tweets of inspirational quotes from famous people aimed to lift your day and thoughts.  The occasional lift is helpful, however the constant quotes gets a little boring.
  • The Social Media “Master”: These are the people that are pretending to be the masters of social media and are “proving” it by the number of people that they are following and who are following them.  When you take a closer look, they are more the Marketing Fool on the Hill personality and their following doesn’t represent meaningful relationships.  I follow a few real Social Media Masters and many of them converse with their followers instead of simply spouting their “wisdom” and puffing up their numbers with empty accounts.
  • The Negative Nellies: A very easy personality to spot and easy to stay away from, unless they are sarcastically funny and make you laugh, then by all means, follow them!
  • The Informative Informer: This is all that you see on these accounts.  Tweet after tweet of an article with a link.  There is no personality behind the tweets, no interaction.  Maybe they are bots in disguise?  What is funny is the fact people will follow these accounts for the information, and that generally gives them high numbers. The people behind these profiels are losing out on the full experience of Twitter which is the opportunity to build relationships with others.And my favorite personality, the one I always recommend:
  • The All Around Star: This profile will show a good mix of conversation, information, retweets, quotes, with a little bit of marketing.  In other words, they are showing their full personalities, helping others, and sharing good information for their followers.

There may be more personalities to define.  What personalities do you see on Twitter?  Which ones give you the pet peeve heebie-jeebies and which ones do you like to tweet with?  Let us know!

-Shoshana
Buildmyaudience.com

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Audience Development for the Arts Songs!

It’s Friday!  Yesterday as you know, we had an #auddev chat.  During the chat, one of our chatters, Becky Peters a.k.a. @bpeters99 tweeted a song title that stuck in my head: Love the One You’re With by Crosby, Stills and Nash.  Of course this was in reference to loving your current audience.

It had me thinking what other songs could be good for arts audience development.  Here’s a few I came up with:

Thank You – Natalie Merchant – Thank your supporters often!

Being for the Benefit of Mr.Kite – The Beatles  – Tell your story effectively so your audience can picture the show and get interested.

True Colors – Cyndi Lauper – Be yourself and show your true colors to attract the right audience.

Give Me One Reason – Tracy Chapman – Give your audience reasons to stay!

I Gotta Feeling – The Black Eyed Peas – Make your event special in every way so your audience will have a feeling that tonight’s gonna be a good night!

Do you have a song for arts audience development?  Feel free to reply. Happy weekend to you!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

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#Auddev chat, Thursday, October 11 at Noon ET on Twitter for arts audience development

I wanted to make sure you were all invited to the #auddev chat we will be having this Thursday:

Audiences’ Preferred Connections
Co-host Cindy Marie Jenkins, L.A.’s own Storyteller/Outreach Nerd, and I will be conducting a chat about audiences and how they prefer to connect with us. So dig up your latest surveys and let’s chat about our findings!

We mainly will be discussing the various questions we tend to ask on surveys, and what information are we finding out about our audiences.  Are these the right questions to ask?  What do we need to know?

I feel many of our surveys do not find the answers we are most in need of, which is knowing how our audiences want to connect with us.  How are they finding their information now?  What drives them to buy a ticket?  How do they want to participate?  What makes them feel engaged?  What makes them want to come back?  What are the main reasons they may not come back?

It’s time to go beyond the general demographics and get to know our audiences’ preferences.  So, join us as we discuss these questions!  You’re invited!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

 

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My apologies to my email subscribers – #Auddev chat 9/27, Noon ET – Arts, Change & Audiences

I was using the Storify export function, and it wigged out. I apologize for the repeated bogus posts. Here is the actual chat transcript I was attempting to post:

[View the story “#Auddev chat, 9/27, Noon ET – Arts, Change & Audiences” on Storify]

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

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Outreach, rinse, repeat for arts audience development

Do you want to get a good lather going for audience development?  I know you have heard me mention outreach before, but I’m not sure everyone has taken action.  There are two ways to develop an audience.  You can throw tons of money into marketing efforts, and if you have the tons of money to advertise everywhere, you might get a big enough percentage to see your audience grow (albeit mostly temporarily if no follow up occurs).  The second way to develop an audience is through sweat equity using audience development programs and outreach efforts.  With outreach efforts, you can put in the time and show up, share, become a part of your community and become recognized to build your audiences.

Many of you do not have the tons of money to throw at a huge enough marketing effort, but you can put in the sweat equity.  It takes time, but you will only need little amounts of money to do outreach properly.  Here is a list of tasks you can take on to help develop your audiences through outreach efforts:

  • Find your local community events – evaluate which ones fit with you and your missionset up a table
    It usually costs $25-150 to table at one of these events.  If you have a program that can provide entertainment, you can get a table for free, and you might get paid as well.  This is the place where you can meet the people that are interested, but are not attending.  I get this question, a lot.  How do we speak with the people that are not attending.  This is one way to do it!
  • Retweet valuable information on Twitter – Find out what your followers are interested in, and retweet content that they would enjoy. This will help you go beyond the marketing tweets (which can turn off followers if that’s all you tweet about).  This means that when you see an article your followers would be interested in, retweet!
  • Become a creative for your community and help to solve problems – I recently saw a presentation where a light artist created an installation to help make the city safer.  Artists can solve problems in creative ways to help their community.
  • Give to others to bring awareness for yourself – People these days admire businesses that also help other people.  Artists and arts organizations can make a huge difference with their art and create positive energy toward awareness and dollars for social causes.  In the process, you will be helping yourself too by bringing in new audiences and energy toward your art.
  • Create events that tie into a bigger picture – If there is a national event that is hosted by a bigger entity, find a way to create a local event to invite fans to connect with you.  You will find a regional audience that would be a good fit for you too.
  • Develop programs to have your audiences do the outreaching for you – People are sharing! Compelling stories, programs, videos, pictures are share worthy. Develop strong content and incentives to get people wanting to share and outreach for you.

I hope you see that all 4 C’s will be represented when you do outreach properly for audience development (Connect, Collaborate, Community, Care).  It does take some time and hard work, but if you really want an audience – outreach, rinse (evaluate), repeat!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

New eBook! The How of Audience Development for the Arts: Learn the Basics, Create Your Plan

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