Reflections on Professional Development Workshop
Date: February 24, 2012
Yesterday I attended a professional development workshop with about 25 other composers presented by Earshot, the national orchestral composition discovery network. While most of the sessions dealt mainly with orchestras and contemporary orchestral music, the one session that really piqued my interest, and was truly germaine to our discussions in this forum, was presented by a man who has worked for and with such big names as C.F Peters, G. Schirmer and Schott Music Publishing. He was truly an encyclopedia of knowledge about the publishing world. What really caught my attention was the idea that self-publishing is now becoming the norm more than the exception. He told us that, recently, both G. Schirmer and another big publisher (the name of which I can't remember) have recently gone though major staff and resource cuts. Traditional publishing, at least for music, is seeming to become a bit of a dinosaur. I presented to him the way some of us have decided to sell our music, by way of PDFs (selling per copy and in some cases per page) and he seemed to think that was a good way to go about it. The only drawback he could see was the possibility of the purchaser making more copies than they agreed on (infringing on copyright.) BUT, from my experience with a variety of choral groups, that kind of activity happens a lot and will continue to happen. Another major point of his presentation: the more stumbling blocks you put between your music and its performance, the more disservice you do to yourself and to the possibility of its performance. Suffice to say, this was all very encouraging and energizing discourse!
A few other "pearls of wisdom" that I came away with:
-Understanding the importance of and fostering relationships between composers, performers AND AUDIENCE!
-Understanding the composers role in society as a "cultural citizens" and how we can be a part of it through outreach and community education.
-You, as a composer, need to support "the competition" (other composers!)
Just wanted to share the experience - it was certainly well worth the time!