I have been mulling over forming a Showcase Cooperative to help support musicians in their various personal quests. Here is a preliminary description.
The Showcase Cooperative is a loose network of musicians, singers, and songwriters who get together regularly to achieve the following goals:
- Share the joy of creating music
- Work on personal goals such as musicianship, songwriting, arranging, and performance.
- Support others in achieving their personal goals.
- Support public performances and recordings for those who want to showcase their work.
The cooperative is not a band with a formula (provide music for dances, for entertainment, for money, for fame ...). Members of the cooperative may already be involved with such bands and such bands may form or be supported by members of the cooperative, but the cooperative itself is deliberately not that. Here are some guidelines:
- Participation for any session or activity is purely optional. It is more of a drop-in than a commitment.
- The spotlight will be shared fairly to all who want some help with their own work or performances. For example, one week may focus on Bob and Carol, the next week on Ted and Alice.
- Those who choose to participate in a supportive spirit will need to exercise patience and look for ways to understand and mentor growth for the person in the spotlight. It is their vision and it is their time to explore it with our help.
- Those in the spotlight should prepare themselves and provide materials (song sheets, recordings, , etc) to make it easier for people to help them.
- Support for any specific showcase is purely optional. People should help specific members because they think they can help and want to.
- The person in the spotlight is not obligated to invite everyone to take part in performances or recordings. Just because there is someone in the group has a unique and fabulous talent for playing electric bagpipes in the style of Jimi Hendrix, that does not mean we have to work it into everything.
- It is good form for the person in the spotlight event to acknowledge musicians and supporters in marketing campaigns so they will want to show up and bring their friends.
- If there is any money involved greater than expenses from a showcase, sharing with the musicians and other supporters is recommended. Even if the reward to the person in the spotlight is simply praise and advancement of personal goals, offering at least some token of appreciation to the musicians and other supporters is always welcome.
Where could this go?
- Simply a fun and rewarding thing to do in its own right.
- Demo recordings leading to professionally produced recordings. The recording process itself can be creative and rewarding in itself.
- Performances at parties, art exhibitions, coffee shops, open mikes, concerts at community theatres, arenas, stadiums, festivals, .... It is possible for some that the sky is the limit.
- Some people in the cooperative may have already touched the sky and are looking simply for the joy of creating music.
I am thinking of setting aside a regular time, such as Saturday afternoons in my music room to do this. There are also various organizations that do similar things for singers and songwriters that may already exist in your community. And you are welcome to adapt some of these ideas for your own showcase cooperatives.