1. Come to our free concerts. We need audiences!Organizations that support and fund concerts often do so through grants - and one measure of an event's success is how many people attended. Having a large audience helps us apply for more funding later on. It's also just a way to support your musician friends and to show them that you care about their work!
2. Advocate for public policies that support the arts and musicians. Call your Representatives and Senators and make sure they fund the National Endowment for the Arts. Make sure your cities and counties and school boards don't cut music programs from the public schools. Support policies for affordable health insurance for self-employed individuals who don't make their living in a traditional 9-5 job with employer-provided health care.
3. Use your networks and your social media to amplify a musician's reach. If your friend invites you to a concert, share the invite with other friends! If you listen to an album that you absolutely love, tell your friends about it and encourage them to buy it.
4. Like/Share/Subscribe. Especially now that so many social media outlets are governed by an algorithm, getting those likes early counts. So, when your violinist friend (*ahem*) posts a video from their recent recital, hit like! And if you REALLY liked it, consider sharing it. I know that YouTube in particular uses subscriber counts, so if a favorite artist of yours has a YouTube channel that you end up watching a lot - hit subscribe!
5. Leave positive reviews when and wherever you can. I know that I read the reviews before I take my car to a new mechanic, or try a new restaurant. The same goes for musicians. If you love an album, review it on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon Music, or wherever you can listen to it. If you absolutely love the quartet that plays at your wedding, find their website and social media and leave a thoughtful, positive review! If you had a great time at violin camp or your kids are loving their music lessons, find that teacher or organization on social media and on Google and leave them a great review.
6. Volunteer at an arts organization. Arts organizations are always looking for people to generously volunteer their time and talents. If you have the right skill set, offer to serve on the board and take an active role in promoting the organization and helping it grow. You can help work in the gift shop, work at the ticket office, be an usher (which can be a great way to hear amazing performances while supporting the arts!), or any other number of jobs. If you’re looking to get involved in the Washington, DC area, I’d suggest looking at the Kennedy Center or any other number of performing arts venues. If you're looking for something a little smaller scale, get in touch with your local school's music department and offer to help out with fundraising, organization on concert nights, or ask what other ways they need your help.
Thanks for reading this second part of my series on how to support musicians! Part 3 will include some handy conversation tips for how to talk to musicians without making it sound like you're asking for their resume and tax returns.