My dog is named after composer, Jennifer Higdon.
Because she is the most beautiful dog in the world (I am completely objective on this point!), people frequently stop us on the street so they can meet her.
Then, they ask me her name.
Here is where things get interesting and a little weird. When I tell strangers about my dog’s namesake, they almost always express shock. They say they had no idea people still wrote music for orchestras.
They had no idea people still wrote music for orchestras!
Once the shock wears off, many then say they had never heard of any female composers until they met my dog, Higdon.
They had never heard of any female composers.
When I tell my musical colleagues this story, they usually roll their eyes and lament how stupid everyone is these days. They can’t believe people actually think that orchestral music died with Beethoven. And, they point to this idiocy as the reason the arts appear to be dead, or at best, dying.
It is time for us to switch our thinking around. The arts aren’t dead. We just haven’t told anyone.
Listen differently to people when they say things that seem ridiculous or idiotic about your art form. They are actually telling you what they know, and you can use that info in your marketing and outreach.
Marketing is education. We creatives have to educate the world about what we do.
Other industries do lots and lots of marketing. That’s why people have opinions about which car to drive, beverage to drink, sports team to follow, and designer to wear.
Marketing is education. If people don’t know that there is amazing new music being composed for orchestras right now, it’s because we haven’t told them!
During my conversation with admirers of my dog, I always tell people to look up Jennifer Higdon and listen to some of her work. I urge them to check out Blue Cathedral – not only because it is stunning, but because I think it would be fun to have a Blue Cathedral dog house for my Higgie.
That visual works.
Since adopting my dog, numerous people have stopped me in the street to tell me that they listened to Jennifer Higdon’s Blue Cathedral. The education and enlightenment has begun.
People who thought orchestral music was dead listened to a contemporary piece.
And, they liked it.
My dog has become a marketing tool for orchestral music. If she can do it, so can you.