My earlier blog “why musicians attend concerts” caused such an outcry on facebook that I am expanding it in part two.
The same question can be rephrased, as my economics professor friend in the UK so aptly put it, as “why would professors read papers/books by other professors when they are so busy writing their own papers/books?”
Indeed, why would artists attend art exhibitions if their own works are not included? Why would authors attend book-signing events of other authors? Clearly, that is not the point, as summarised in the last facebook comment:
“birds of a feather flock together, and you can always learn from others in your profession.”
One answer is to get a different perspective on the way you do things. A high school classmate, who became a professional sports trainer, wrote “This is a common issue for yoga instructors as well. While it may be challenging to find the time to attend other teachers’ classes it can be so refreshing to not hear your own voice! It also gives you a chance to experience someone else’s movement sequences and phraseology.”
A fellow composer mentioned that a concert could be a valuable networking occasion. Networking for musicians is critical for information gathering, deal making, idea generation, and relationship building. There is opportunity to do so before and after a concert, and sometimes during the intermission if there is one.
It is also a way to benchmark yourself against others in your own profession. This is the reason why industry conferences are so popular. A decision scientist I met at an operations research conference in California said, “The biggest reason is checking out the competition and maybe seeing how others perform. …how they come across to their audience. Second minor reasons might be because they’re friends or you just like to hear music! Why do us decision scientists always need a reason for doing something you enjoy! …or am I missing something here?!”
As a performer, I would attend a concert to check out the venue. Does it have nice acoustics? How is the space? Is it easy to get to? Do the concert organisers do publicity? Does it have its own audience?
Perhaps I should retitle this blog: “why do, would, and should musicians attend concerts of other musicians?”