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How do you create a music group?

 

How many times have you heard of a music group splitting up?  It seems to happen all of the time and to groups at any level.  Whether it is a garage band, a freelance string quartet, or the Beatles, no group is immune to the challenges of running a professional ensemble.

 

Why?  Most musicians in a music group do not understand their role in relation to the group.

 

Creating a professional ensemble sounds so glamorous!  People imagine playing concerts for thousands of raving fans and signing autographs.  However, starting a group is work.  In fact, creating a proper functioning professional ensemble is exactly like creating a business.

 

The most important thing that needs to be established in a business or music group is the system for how things are done.  To create effective systems everyone needs to be on the same page.  Do you want a group that plays concerts, gets gigs, focuses on education, or any combination of those?  A mission statement is a great idea for any organization.

The next most important thing to do is to assign roles to people in the group.  There are basic “departments” to any music group:  a library, marketing, contracting, and accounting.  Eventually, you want to be able to hire people to handle all of these areas, but when you first start out, it has to be YOU.  A great book to read to help with how to create a business is the E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber.

My recommendation is that everyone in the group works in the contracting and marketing areas.  No business can survive without marketing to the public, and a professional ensemble is no different.  Marketing ideas can include creating a website, networking with musicians, passing out business cards, and contacting a church or a wedding planner or anyone else that hires for events.

Contracting in the music field is kind of like sales.  It is common practice for the contractor in a gig to earn and extra 20 to 30% off of the top of a gig.  Why is this important?  Every person in the group now has an incentive to go find work for the ensemble.

 

Don’t be afraid to start small and build your business in increments as more work comes in.  It’s easy to become a visionary and see your group as a huge success, but realize that every great professional ensemble starts at zero.

 

Question:  What is keeping you from creating your own music group?

 

 

Photo by Stéfan. Used under Creative Commons License.

 

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