Building a Residency (Part 1)

Over this first year of PCB’s current history, there have been many obstacles to overcome.

Two that seemed to crop up constantly were the problem of time and space. I’m not referring to some sci-fi version of time and space. We needed time to rehearse, and we needed to find space to rehearse in.

This problem was compounded by the fact that we all live in separate parts of Phoenix, with someone usually travelling forty-five minutes or more just to make a rehearsal. We were also looking for a great space to begin working on our recording project. We needed to find a place—a place we could call home that could be a hub for all of our performances and rehearsals.

One day, Greg and I went scouting for spaces to do our recording. We looked mainly at churches, and we saw many beautiful churches with great spaces. And then we walked into Trinity Cathedral in downtown Phoenix. We had to persuade the lady at the front desk to let us in to see the hall, and we’re grateful she did.

As soon as we stepped into the cathedral I just felt this was the place we should be. A beautiful space, great acoustics, a magnificent organ. And it didn’t stop there. Trinity Cathedral is already the home of the Grammy-winning ensemble the Phoenix Chorale, along with other notable musicians such as organist Dr. Kimberly Marshall. This was definitely the place I wanted to be—the kind of place I wanted to be associated with!

The next day I contacted the Music Director at Trinity and left him a message about the possibility of putting together a proposal for ensemble residency. I really wasn’t sure what I was pitching, but I knew PCB needed to get a foot in the door.

I think many young musicians (or ensembles) see the words ensemble-in-residence and assume there is some governing body that only lets certain people or groups have such a title. The truth is much brighter, actually. Much like a corporate sponsorship or endowment, a residency is meant to be a mutually beneficial joining of two organizations, and there are plenty of partnerships to go around.

There are several aspects to creating a proposal. You will need to take into account lots of different variables, each differing based upon the type of residency you are looking for. All of these can mainly be broken down into two main categories:

1. What you (the musicians) are hoping to get.

2. What you are willing to give in return.

Through several posts, we will break down the proposal that PCB created, looking at the what, why, and how of the various parts of the proposal.

Don’t be afraid to think big for your group or your personal career. Instead, think like a business. People love to create relationships. And people are more willing to buy from someone they know. If you don’t ever get out there and make friends and create relationships, you will continue to be another irrelevant musician making irrelevant music for a small group of people.

Churches aren’t the only places that could use an ensemble-in-residence. What are your great ideas to build relationships with those around you?

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One comment

  1. […] couple weeks ago we talked about thinking big when it comes to residency programs. Next let’s talk about next […]

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