There’s so much classical music out there, but a lot of it is old. If you want something new to play, you should support living composers.
You can do this with or without money. Of course, to actually get new music, you’ll need to pay. But when you’re strapped for cash, you can support arrangers and composers in other ways.
Read on to learn how you can support your favorite composers of today.
Free Ways to Support Living Composers
I get not having a ton of money to spend but still wanting to support living composers. Luckily, there are multiple things you can do for free.
Consider the following ways to support your favorite composers when you’re on a tight budget.
1. Follow Them on Social Media
One of the easiest ways to support a composer or arranger is to follow them on social media. Whether you prefer Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or TikTok, you can find your favorite composers on at least one of those platforms.
Give them a follow, and engage with their posts when they show up in your feed. Of course, social media follows don’t pay the bills. But the more followers and engagement someone gets, the easier it is to continue to grow.
The social media platform might choose to show the composer’s posts to even more people. That could help them get more sales, or if they also do brand partnerships, they could make more money that way.
You can follow me on Instagram for more content.
2. Share Their Social Posts
After you start following a composer or arranger, you’ll probably see some of their social posts. If you see a post you really like, share it with your followers to help the composer get more views.
On Instagram, you can share posts through your stories or in DMs. Retweet their tweets, or share their Facebook posts to your personal wall or in relevant Facebook groups.
That can help get someone’s posts in front of more people. So even if you can’t afford to buy music, you might share the post with a musician who does have the means to pay the composer.
3. Tag Them on Social Media
This option to support living composers requires that you get their music or meet them somehow. Of course, you can get their music by paying for it. But maybe you just had a birthday and received the music as a gift.
Or perhaps you’re at a concert where someone is playing music by a living composer. Maybe you get to meet the composer directly at a convention or some other event.
Whenever it makes sense, tag the composer in a social media post. They’ll receive a notification of the tag, and they can share the post to help you get more views. But when people see your post, they might tap on the composer’s profile.
4. Watch Their YouTube Videos
Another excellent free way to support living composers you love is to find their YouTube channels. Watch the videos on the channel, either of their music or of other topics they cover.
If the composer has at least 1,000 subscribers and meets other criteria, they’ll earn money from ad revenue. You don’t have to pay anything to consume the content, but the composer or arranger can make a bit of money.
Of course, you can also subscribe to the composer’s YouTube channel. This is especially helpful if they have yet to reach 1,000 subscribers. You could help them get into the YouTube Partner Program to start making money.
Subscribe to my YouTube channel if you want to hear more of my music!
5. Subscribe to Emails
You can also look on a composer’s website to see if they have an email list. If so, subscribe to it, and read their emails when you get the chance. This can help you stay up to date on what the composer is doing.
Many people use emails to promote their products and services. So you can also stay on top of new offers from the composers or arrangers you love. You might not have money now, but that could change.
After your next payday, you might have some extra cash that you could use to financially support living composers. And having their emails in your inbox makes it easy to find the musicians you want to support.
Paid Ways to Support Living Composers
As an arranger, I appreciate and free support you can give. But free support doesn’t pay the bills for me or any other composer or arranger.
If you have the means, consider the following ways you can support living composers.
6. Buy Their Current Music
An easy and quick way to support a composer is to buy the music they’ve already published. Now, the way to do this depends on if the composer self-publishes or works through a traditional publisher.
If they do both, try to buy directly from the composer. They’ll take home a greater percentage of the sale from self-published titles. Also, try to buy from their website rather than a self-publishing platform since those platforms can also take a big cut of the sale.
Buying current titles from a composer or arranger is convenient. Plus, if they sell digital files, you can get the music right away. Then, you’ll have something fun to learn, and your favorite artist will have more money in their pocket.
7. Commission New Music
If you have a bit more money to spend, you may want to commission a composer or arranger to create something new. This can take time, especially if it’s a larger project, and it won’t be cheap.
However, it’s one of the best ways to financial support living composers. Also, you’ll usually get some sort of exclusivity to the music. That means no one else can perform it for the first year or however long you and the composer decide.
Commissioning new works is also a great way to help diversify the repertoire for your instrument. Sure, there’s a lot of flute music, but most of it is by dead white guys, and it’s time for more diverse composer and arrangers to thrive.
You can commission me to write a new arrangement or composition!
8. Join a Consortium
A consortium involves a group of musicians coming together to commission a new work. That means the fee to join is usually much cheaper than what you’d pay to be the sole commissioning performer.
If you’re interested in commission a composer, you can ask them if they’re willing to do a consortium model. Then, you can both promote the consortium to get more entrants.
Everyone who joins the consortium can get exclusivity for the first year or whatever you all choose. You can also look around for consortiums that are already out there, and you can join one that interests you.
9. Give Donations or Subscriptions
Another paid way to support living composers is to donate. Maybe they don’t have any music for your instrument, or you own all of their titles. If you don’t want to commission something, you can simply donate money.
Depending on the composer, they may use Patreon, Buy Me a Coffee, or a simple donation button. Look on their website or social media for information about how to donate.
If you can’t find anything, you can contact them. Then, you can mention you want to donate money but can’t figure out how. If you have money each month, you could also make a recurring donation.
Support me through Buy Me a Coffee!
10. Sponsor a Commission
Maybe you know another musician who’d love to commission a composer, but they can’t afford it. If you have the money, you could offer to sponsor the commission to help get the project done.
The composer could then promote you or your music business. They’ll get the money to complete a new work. And your fellow musician will have new music to play.
Of course, you could gift the money to a musician wanting to commission a new work as well. Then, they could go to the composer and propose the project.
Why Support Living Composers
With so much music out there already, you may wonder why you should support living composers. After all, there are already probably too many flute works for a single person to learn in a lifetime.
But there are many great reasons to support composers working today.
Diversify Your Repertoire
One of the biggest reasons to support a living composer or arranger is to diversify your repertoire. A lot of musicians are tired of playing the standards over and over.
You can work with a new composer to add new music for your instrument’s repertoire. Also, a lot of living composers are diverse themselves, including women, composers of color, and LGBTQ+ composers.
If you’re tired of always playing music by dead white men, you should support living artists. Then, you can find music by composers and arrangers of all backgrounds.
Support Fellow Musicians
It may not always feel like it, but composers and performers are very similar. We’re all musicians trying to make it in this new modern world. If you have the ability to, you should support other musicians.
That could be sharing their work with your followers or paying a composer to write a piece for you. Either way, it’s good to support members of the musical community.
As I mentioned, many living composers and arrangers are diverse. There are women, composers of color, LGBTQ+ composers, and even disabled or chronically ill composers.
If you want to make the classical music world more inclusive, you should support the composers alive today. There are some straight white men, but many composers belong to some sort of minority group.
Make Better Music
This benefit applies more to groups with unique instrumentation or a variety of skill levels. But if you’re able to commission a work, you can make sure it fits the needs of the players in your ensemble.
For example, you could compose a work for piccolo, viola, and trombone. I don’t know of any famous works for that instrumentation.
Or maybe you have a community group with some beginners but also some advanced players. You could commission a piece where each part is a bit easier or harder than the next so that everyone has a part they can play and that will challenge them.
What About the Standards, Like Bach and Mozart?
You can still play standard repertoire by composers like Bach and Mozart. I’d recommend it, especially if you want to do professional or college auditions.
But you don’t have to only play those works. Incorporate some new music by living composers to keep things interesting for you, your students, and your audience.
How Will You Support Living Composers?
If you want to play new music, you should do what you can to support living composers. Luckily, not all of those methods require money.
You can follow composers and watch their content for free. When you have money, be sure to explore their existing titles or commission them to create a new piece.
Would you like to support me? Head to Flute Files to shop my current titles!