Music Commissions: What You Need to Know

Do you want to learn about music commissions? If you’ve tired of all of the tradition happening, you should find new repertoire.

Music Commissions: What to Know | Hannah B Flute

But if you’re not a composer, a commission is your next best bet. That way, you can help bring new works into the world without having to write the pieces yourself.

Before we get into it, this post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy to learn more.

What Are Music Commissions?

Music commissions happen when performers, conductors, or music teachers work with a composer or arranger to create a new work. Similar to an art commission, the client would request the creative work they want.

Not all composers will do anything a client requests. Some composers might prefer to write in a specific style, for example. As a composer and arranger, I’m most writing for flutes and other woodwinds since I’ve played them.

When you commission a composer, you’ll usually get some perks. You might get to premiere the piece and have exclusive performance rights for a set period.

Why Work With Me

As a flute player and arranger/composer, I stick to stuff I know. Sure, I could write a trombone concerto, but I wouldn’t do a good job.

Instead, there are multiple things that make my music commissions unique. Here’s what to consider before you hire me or anyone else for your project.

Performance Background

While I’m mostly self-taught as a composer and arranger, I’ve performed music in some capacity for over 20 years. I played a variety of instruments before finally settling on the flute in high school.

Then, I took that passion further and earned a bachelors and later a masters of music in flute performance. That experience has helped me understand the current flute repertoire and what’s missing from it.

Of course, performing also helps me understand the quirks of the instrument I’m writing for. That way, the parts will be enjoyable for you and your students to play.

Flute-Specific

I’ve arranged and written for other instruments, but for the most part, I stick to the flute family. When I do branch out, it’s to instruments I’ve played or at least have a good understanding of.

That way, you’ll know the parts you get will work well on your instrument. You won’t have to worry about tons of middle Cs in a piccolo part. And I won’t make you trill from a low B to a low C on the flute.

Many composers that write for just any instrument know the range. But they don’t understand the problems of the instruments they write for. That easily leads to poor writing, which frustrates teachers, students, and performers.

If I do write a part for, say, the clarinet, it will be in the context of a flute piece. So if you’re a flutist, you can find a variety of music here.

Digital Scores

Another benefit of hiring me for music commissions is that I produce digital scores. Specifically, I export and publish PDFs of the final version of my works.

When you buy a digital score, you get it right away. You don’t have to worry if shipping will cost a lot or take forever. And you get to choose the paper, so you don’t need to deal with thin paper or other issues.

Of course, music in the Flute Files Shop is available right now. If you commission me, it will take time for me to complete the work. However, you’ll get the final project much sooner.

Works by Living Composers

Music commissions also help you get to work with living composers. A lot of music is by dead white men. But you can learn and teach the same stuff using more diverse, exciting music traditions.

Us living composers and arrangers are here to help. Plus, you can support your fellow musicians in the process. You’ll end up with a new piece of music that you can perform, teach, or both.

Sure, you can buy existing music by living composers as well. However, commissions offer more support and give the composer more of a chance to work on their craft. Then, everyone can have better, more diverse music.

Original Works and Arrangements

As I’ve mentioned, I’m an arranger and composer. So whether you want to commission a new work or rework something, I’m your gal. I’ve arranged some works by Bach, Mozart, and other composers to give them new life.

Of course, original works are always great. But if you love a violin piece or something originally for the piano, commission and arrangement. As long as it’s in the public domain, we’re free to work together to create something great.

There are a lot of ways to get started with music commissions. If you aren’t sure if you want something completely new, that’s perfectly okay.

Who Music Commissions Are For

Music commissions aren’t for every musician. And not every composer is the perfect partner for every performer.

If you’re looking at hiring me for a project, consider if you fall into any of the following groups. We can still work together if you don’t, but these people are going to be the best fit.

Flute Teachers

Have you ever wished you had a “pre-French book” or some pieces that suit that need? That way, you can still teach your students about that style before they’re ready to get Flute Music by French Composers.

I get it because that book isn’t easy. Finding intermediate repertoire that’s not overly challenging is really difficult. But music commissions could be the solution you need.

Then, you can create music that your students will love to play. You won’t have to push them to play something too hard before they’re ready. If you’re able to do that, you could even increase your retention rate in your studio.

Flute Soloists

If you’re a performer, you’re probably always looking to diversify your repertoire. Maybe you’re looking for some transcriptions of Mozart violin sonatas, or you’d rather have works for solo flute.

Whatever it is, commissioning a composer is great. You can work with them to create a new piece that suits you and your playing. Then, you don’t have to find repertoire that you like.

Whether you have a recital coming up or something else, consider a commission. You’ll have a new piece that people might not stop talking about for long after the performance.

Flute and Woodwind Ensembles

If you have an ensemble, you can also look into music commissions. Maybe you want some challenging and fun flute quartet repertoire. Or you could be looking for a new duet book.

Sure, you could find music that already exists. But that can be difficult, particularly if your ensemble has a weird instrumentation. Music commissions might be your best option.

Then, you won’t have to force existing music to work for your group. You can create music, and you might not have to worry about others playing it, so it could be unique to you.

How to Set Up Music Commissions

If you’re ready to beef up your music library, you should set up a commission. But to do that, you should consider a few steps.

Then, you can make sure the project will be enjoyable and successful. Here are some things I recommend doing before you start with music commissions.

Consider Your Goals

First, you should think about your goals for the project. Maybe you want to add a new piece to a recital you’re planning for next year. Or perhaps you have students who get bored by the standard pieces.

Knowing your goals can help you find a composer who can help you meet those objectives. Plus, it will help you explain your needs and desires regarding the project. Then, you and the composer will be on the same page.

Review the Composer’s Portfolio

When possible, you want to see what the composer has already done. Check out their website, YouTube channel, and social media profiles. See if they have any recordings of their works, especially if they have stuff for your instrument.

Get an idea of their style and consider if you like it. If you don’t care for someone’s music, you probably won’t like what they’d write for you. So you can compare other composers’ portfolios to find someone you want to work with.

Contact the Composer

If you think you’d like to work with someone, contact them. You can message the composer on social media or send them an email. Then, you can mention the project and ask if they’re interested.

Not every composer will be open to music commissions. Some might want to work with you but have a wait list. Still, it’s worth reaching out to someone you like because they may take on your project.

What If I Can’t Afford Music Commissions?

If you can’t afford music commissions, consider buying someone’s existing music. For example, I have a growing digital store, and I add new pieces regularly.

You can also ask a composer about starting a consortium. That way, you get others to also contribute to the project. Everyone pays a little less, so the composer still makes money to write the piece.

Another option for non-profits, like flute choirs, is to look into getting a grant. You could also fundraise, in general, to help earn the money you need.

Flute Music Commissions Made Easy

Are you looking into some flute music commissions? If you want to diversify your repertoire, you’ve come to the right place.

I just opened up arranging and composing commissions for flutists like you. Learn more about my services, and contact me to get started!

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