I live in Atlanta, Georgia. So it may come to a surprise to many that I had never been to the Florida Flute Convention, even though many of my students had thanks to being members of Kelly Via's fabulous Metro Atlanta Youth Flute Choir. Many students and colleagues have urged me to go and sell my compositions down at the Exhibit Hall at the Florida Flute Convention. I've always had one conflict or another, but this year I took the plunge and made my way down to Florida.
I was incredible lucky to by joined by a dear friend who made a living in the past in sales. She's a flutist who has performed quite a bit of my music and was familiar with the extended techniques. Let's just say I learned a ton about sales and how fortunate I am to be surrounded by friends who believe in what I am trying to accomplish. She would be mortified if I mentioned her name. But I hope she knows how thankful she came and what it meant to me.
Along with selling my compositions, part of the reason I traveled down to Orlando was because a couple of my pieces were being performed. Laura Clapper from the Flute New Music Consortium performed my work Asphyxia for solo flute. To my surprise, I got a lovely email a few days before the convention from Paige Long that Dayton State College and Community flute choir would be performing my work Railroaded for flute choir. Having a piece or two performed at these conventions helps people take your work more seriously. More than a few times people would walk up to my table and casually browse, but once I told them a couple of pieces were being performed, I got their attention. Its rare that I get recognized at these things, so winning people over when they don't know you from Adam is probably the largest obstacle. I enjoyed meeting all the new people and why they were at the convention.
The Florida Flute Convention was encouraging. We made more sales than I thought we would, and people seemed to enjoy my pieces that were performed at the convention. I also met many people who are interested in what I have written, and perhaps interested in commissioning more. Seeds were planted, and let's hope I'm better at cultivating paid commissions than I am a actual vegetable gardening. It has motivated me to try a few other regional fairs. I will be attending the Atlanta Flute Fair in a couple weeks, and have added the Mid-South Flute Fair as well. Now I just have to pray my poor printer can hold up. That's another blog post.