Going to your first ukulele jam session may be a daunting experience if you go alone and don’t expect to know anybody there. Like crashing a stranger’s wedding party, you simply don’t know what to expect. If it’s a small jam session, you will feel like an intruder for it would seem that everyone else knows everybody there, except you. If it’s a large session, you might feel totally invisible and unwelcome.
What can you do to make your first ukulele jam an enjoyable experience?
Recently I received an e-mail of a beautiful invitation to a house concert, which I forwarded to a friend who lives in the same state in the USA as the venue. All important information for the recipient to make a decision are given: the day of the week, date, time, entrance fee, musicians, website, e-mail address, and phone number.
One of my most popular blog posts is “Concert announcement or invitation” in which I talk about the importance of writing an invitation that truly lures the reader to abandon all reservations and come to the concert.
Recently I received an e-mail of a beautiful invitation which I forwarded to a friend who lives in the same state in the USA as the venue. When I tried to download the invitation to share it with my blog readers, I discovered that it was made up of 20 different small images. Luckily there was a link to the website, and the sender was kind enough to send me a one page PDF at my request. I reduced the file and created a link to the website for use in this blog post.
An e-mail like this is hard to ignore. There is obviously a lot of thought that went into it.
At first I read “As summer slips into autumn” but then noticed that it’s the beginning of an Emily Dickinson poem, which I copy and paste below.
As Summer into Autumn slips
And yet we sooner say
“The Summer” than “the Autumn,” lest
We turn the sun away,
And almost count it an Affront
The presence to concede
Of one however lovely, not
The one that we have loved —
So we evade the charge of Years
On one attempting shy
The Circumvention of the Shaft
Of Life’s Declivity.
The concert is part of a concert series in Tulsa, Oklahoma run by Margaret Sewell, whom I’ve yet to meet but has already helped me greatly in my ongoing research into “house concerts for art music” (15-page PDF). All important information for the recipient to make a decision are given: the day of the week, date, time, entrance fee, musicians, website, e-mail address, and phone number.
If I wanted more information, I could easily visit the website, e-mail, or pick up the phone and call.
Although there is no information about the programme, I gather from the concert series that it would be classical — i.e. art songs or opera arias, or both. I can click on the names of the performers from the webpage and find out more.
This invitation has inspired me to put a little more effort and time into creating invitations for our upcoming concerts in Amsterdam, Newton, Hampton, and San Francisco. So far, I have dropped a few sentences here and there to friends in the vicinity, created a Facebook events page, and considered creating a webpage. I will also try a new way of sending out invitations.
You may ask, “But why are you doing this if you’re just the performer? Surely that’s the responsibility of the concert producer!”
As the performer, I am not obliged to send out invitations. But I would like to see familiar faces in the audience and help the hosts get a full house.
Creating an invitation involves much more than sending e-mails. It helps to create a theme and a tagline, like this example shows. Give it atmosphere, like the image of autumn leaves. Give enough information to whet the appetite.