Just Say No – to Playing for Free

Musicians! Something must be in the air.  We said it last week twice: I love to eat  & I love to eat but do I deserve my food and just saw that pianist & entrepreneur Jade Simmons said the same thing. Soooo glad to not be alone in this matter!

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On March 15, Jade listed on her Emerge Already Blog some of the not-so-great reasons (but reasons musicians are often presented with) to play for free including

  • The Free Meal
  • Awesome Connections
  • Exposure

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She elaborates on each matter!  As professionals, these reasons really need to be reassessed.

Jade then lists what to think about, should you consider playing for free.

  • Designate (time or # of free work you’ll do per year)
  • Ask Yourself Questions: Could this event really afford you? You know what she’s saying: it’s held at the Waldorf Astoria, catered by the top caterer and planned by the best planner in town, etc.
  • Require a “Special and confidential” clause in your contract.

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That third point there? That’s important.  Your contract needs to state everything a paying gig would, including the price it would cost.  When a client sees what the artist is worth, it helps them to further value the product (you).

“The point is don’t be mindless about your charitable performances. Make smart decisions that continue to establish your worth as an artist.” – Jade Simmons

If you don’t know about Jade, check her out! Follow her on twitter @jadesimmons and musicians? Spend $8 on her Emerge Already ebook! 

 

Thank us later.

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guerrilla, growing, gardening!

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Learning from Will Allen, about the fish systems at Growing Power

It’s no secret that my cousin is the amazing Will Allen of Growing Power.  If you don’t know who he is…visit Growingpower.org  and buy the book The Good Food Revolution. Life changing…world changing are all understatements.   Recently,  I’ve been checking out designer Ron Finley’s approach.  Now if we could only multiply these men by thousands.

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There’s a whole bunch of tilapia in there, and I’m holding the net like I know what I’m doing! I did nothing BUT hold the net.

This fall I had the opportunity to visit Growing Power in Milwaukee, WI.  The greenhouses, the fish systems, the bees, the goats, the chickens — it was all unreal (being that in the tri state area…I don’t see this often).  Having attended my cousins lectures in the past, it’s still like it’s brand new each time.  Learning about composting for soil, for heat, for power…and about the importance of worms, eeeew!

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picking peppers, in one of Growing Power’s hoop houses in an abandoned schoolyard!

GP builds these hoop houses which enables them to grow farms just about ANYWHERE! I’m talking abandoned schoolyards, abandoned fire houses, you name it!

Another one of the many great things Growing Power does, is hire ex-offenders.  They train (paid) for 12 months and after completing training, are guaranteed a job with the organization.  What an incredible way to start anew!   Building gardens on street corners where drugs & violence are prevalent has discouraged violence! Oh what a difference some flowers can make 🙂

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picking veggies in another abandoned schoolyard parking lot

As a musician, I run into people of all walks of life and the one constant among them all is sustainability.  Self sustainability.   How can we be in control of what we are putting into our bodies?  What we are disposing and putting into our environment?  Living in NY where space is a challenge, there are community gardens, rooftop gardens and plenty of efforts to help each and every one of us take control of our future.

harp on hay

Ever seen a harp on Hay? After playing at the 2013 Urban & Small Farm Conference.

Learn how you can help Growing Power, and also learn how you can contribute to the building of the world’s first 5 story vertical farm!

Visit their Facebook page.

Purchase an eco friendly journal!

i love to eat, but do i deserve my food?

To look at “I love to eat” from the other side, are artists presenting themselves as a business, so that they are treated as such?

Are we branded well? Have a professional presentation both online & in person? Is the product we’re offering clear?  In other words, are we valuing ourselves enough to invest in ourselves on the presentation side of things? Yes, we paid for the lessons, paid for the schooling, the summer programs, the groups/ensembles…but now that that’s over, are we WORKING for our work?  Or, are we just expecting work to be given to us because of all the hours of work & sweat that were put in?  What’s that word again? Entitlement? lol

What does your presentation say about you when people google you? What does your presentation say about you when people see you, meet you & have a conversation with you?  How is your delivery?

Just some questions worth answering before WE – the artists – continue to rant about how we feel undervalued.