House Concerts: A New Twist on a Centuries-Old Tradition

House concerts are once again gaining in popularity. Performing artists are looking to find creative approaches to reaching new and appreciative audiences, and ways to make a living doing what they love.

Throughout history, from the early consorts of the European Renaissance (fourteenth through seventeenth centuries) to the rent parties of the Harlem Renaissance (1920s and 1930s), having “house concerts” has been a way to introduce an audience to new chamber music compositions and play for an appreciative audience in an intimate space. The rent parties that flourished in New York, Chicago, and Detroit (among other places) in the early to mid-twentieth century were just that: a way to help pay the rent! And let’s not forget the tradition of folk music house performances and sing-alongs that are also part of the house concert’s long and varied history.

Today house concerts—albeit in a more refined form than the rent parties—are once again gaining in popularity. Performing artists in the current generation are looking to find not only creative approaches to reaching new and appreciative audiences but also ways to make a living doing what they love.

The Oakland Public Library is delighted to present a program—“Making Money as a Musician: Engaging Your Community to Grow Your Creative Career”—on how you can organize your own house concert tour. American dream pop singer, songwriter, pianist, and author Shannon Curtis performs throughout the United States and brings her music into intimate spaces, and she has been making a living doing it! She will be sharing her experiences and selling copies of her award-winning book “No Booker, No Bouncer, No Bartender: How I Made $25K on a 2-Month House Concert Tour (And How You Can Too).” She will also give a mini-version of her house concert performance.

Join us at the Main Library for this FREE event, and learn how you can benefit from this growing trend.

Main Library

Sunday, November 2nd, 2:00 – 3:30 pm      

Bradley C. Walters Community Room

125 14th Street, Oakland                           

Don't forget to explore additional free resources available from the Oakland Public Library. Here is just a small sampling of resources available. Check the online catalog often to find newly purchased books, or for additional titles not listed here.

Web marketing for the music business / Tom Hutchison : Includes chapters on Finding your market -- Successful promotion on the web -- Social networking sites -- Mobile media -- Mobile music marketing, and other topics.                                   

Making music your business : a practical guide to making $ doing what you love / by Traci Truly : Includes chapters on Doing business with booking agents -- - The business of performing -- -Selling your CDs and merchandise -- Doing business on the Internet, and other topics. Also available as an e-book.

Social media for musicians [e-book] : YouTube / Gary Hiebner

Making and marketing music : the musician's guide to financing, distributing, and promoting albums / Jodi Summers : Includes a chapter on marketing and promotion.

Start you up : rock star secrets to unleash your personal brand & set your career on fire / Steve Jones : a narrative telling the stories through rock history to reveal often-overlooked lessons on personal branding. 

Starting your career as a musician / Neil Tortorella :  includes chapters on brand and marketing, the importance of social media for musicians, and opportunities for collaboration, promotion, distribution, and more.

Booking house concerts: maximize your gigs by going off the grid / Kaitlin McGaw : Electronic Musician, Mar 1, 2012; Vol. 28, No. 3 : article from OPL's subscription to Gale OneFile database.

Music business handbook and career guide / David Baskerville, Tim Baskerville

All you need to know about the music business/ Donald S. Passman

Billboard international talent & touring directory : a great resource for music managers and musicians alike, this resource includes over 30,000 artists, managers and agents from 68 countries worldwide, including the U.S. and Canada. In addition, it contains listings of tour services and merchandise, sound & lighting vendors, equipment & instrument rentals, and much more. 

Looking for scores and songbooks?

About the Oakland Public Library Music Collection



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