Getting our compositions "out there"?
Over many years of playing, writing music and teaching, I have arranged and composed many (hundreds) of pieces for school concert bands, and ensembles of all kinds.
Most recently I have written twenty or so compositions for string ensembles (Middle School string orchestra, Middle School string quartet, and Senior School string orchestra and quartet).
A few days ago I was lucky enough to have six of these pieces played by an ensemble of string teachers, gathered to "test and preview" new compositions.
I have emailed ten schools with an offer to write music for their enesembles, but have not received any replies.
Of course, I know to put on a clean shirt, make an appointment with the Principals, visit and leave a sample package of arrangments and parts, and ask for a subsequent meeting with the Directors of their music ensembles, if they are interested.
But my work would be fun to play in ensembles, school and community, anywhere in the world.
Here is a link to one Senior School String Orchestra composition:
How can I reach school ensemble leaders in Europe, in Asia, in the USA, etc?
I am not trying to make a lot of money, in this endeavour, just to be useful and enjoy myself using my experience and skills.
Graeme, I think a huge step would be to take even one piece from a MIDI recording to an actual one. This may require some money. Having a real orchestra play a piece will also add tremendous legitimacy to the piece (no one has to know you paid them to play it :))
Another way of publicising your own compositions is if you're a member of a good community orchestra, or have connections with one (they like to find modern works to perform with no copyright or hiring problems).
You can publish your music through SheetMusicPlus. I know a guitarist who publishes arrangements that way. They take care of all the copyright licensing stuff and you get a cut of the sale price. Then advertise it in appropriate social media channels.
It's all about connections. All the new music commissions my ensemble did went to composers we have worked with and admire as colleagues and artists.
That's not entirely true, Erik. There are composers who seem to be highly successful in that public school orchestra market -- Brian Balmages, Richard Meyer, etc. It might be the single most common way to get a composition played by multiple orchestras.
They make a living doing that??
Meyer is a public school teacher. Balmages does composition-related work full-time though, it looks like. But having a significant body of work published and played probably counts as "success" in composition.
I don't know but my thoughts are to start by getting to know your local orchestra teachers and youth orchestra conductors and some people that are frequently asked to do all city, all county, all state orchestras.
It might be harder than you think to get in the middle/high school market. Schools in the US like to participate in competitions- and those have requirements as well as lists pieces must come from. Or the director may want to play something for pedagogical reasons.