As I said last month, December can be an opportune time to expand your performance/business experience. This requires not only ferreting out your own performance venues but also experimenting with building 2-3 different programs to suit differing venues, to creating a contract once the details have been settled on like price, time and place of the performance. It’s a wonderful opportunity to hone your business confidence as you continue to gain performance experience. Creating a contract is not complex or difficult. What I would suggest is to either list or mind map all the items that need to be covered in this contract. Ask friends and those in your family, especially if they are involved in the business world to help you with this.

Here are some of the items you might want to consider:

  • 1. Price – When figuring this out you first need to know what your expenses are in preparing for this event plus the extra you will make for performing. You need to think about the cost of coachings, time spent putting your program together, physical programs if required, the cost of a new outfit, if applicable, your accompanist fees, if you are using instrumentalists or other singers, what there fee will be, etc. Also include any travel fee like taxi or car expenses.
  • 2. Once you have this figure, you need to divide it into the number of performances you have lined up for the season. Remember, you have to make money yourself after expenses. This is a business, not personal or emotional. It’s a job, your job right now. So get busy and find how much you have spent on preparation, and how much you need to walk away with after those expenses are paid. Are you going to do it for nothing because you are excited about getting to perform or are you going to do business and make some money this season? It’s up to you. Most people appreciate the fact that you are acting in a businesslike manner and are happy to know you have a plan and know how to carry out that plan. They don’t then have to worry if you will be on time, come prepared, if you will be worth the money, etc.

“Worry is a dark room where fears are developed and enlarged.” – Teresa Eagel

  • 3. Who is responsible for setting up your performance space? Make it clear in the contract. Do you have any additional equipment that needs setting up and who is responsible for doing that? Do you want to make sure their piano is tuned? Put it in the contract.
  • 4. You and they need to know the exact location and time of the event. You need to know the approximated length of the contracted performance, you need to decide if you want to be paid in cash, by check or credit card, and when you expect to receive payment, which is generally right after you perform. If you have that in your contract, they can’t jerk you around and not pay you before you leave.
  • 5. If you are doing this for a charity, you still need a contract with the amount you would normally receive for a performance of this kind, so you can use it for your income taxes as a donation.
  • 6. Make sure there is a cancelation clause as well. One for the Client, that lets them know how much advanced time is required by you before you will collect your fee, and one for you which lets them know under what conditions and how that will occur for them if you cancel.
  • 7. The last item in the contract should be to state that this contract is enforceable according to the laws and regulations of the state of_________. And fill in that blank. This is a legal document and can be brought to court if necessary.
  • 8. At the bottom is a place for the Artists signature and date and the client’s signature and date.

If you are using the same accompanist or other singers/instrumentalists for all your gigs, you will want to put a simple contract together for them as well that includes places, times, and how much they are getting and when they get paid. It will also have their and your signatures and dates on it. This way, there can be no second guessing, or misunderstandings.

When making and then signing a contract each party, the client, accompanist, etc., and you, gets a copy.

“The number of times I succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times I can fail and keep on trying.” – Tom Hopkins

Hope you have a really successful and satisfying Holiday Performance experience. Let me know how this worked for you. It’s always good to be able to pass on any great suggestions, adjustments or additions you might have. Avanti until next time. Ciao Carol

I have added a sample Performance contract for you to peruse. Make the changes that are applicable for your events. And use it. Start acting as a professional and do business. That is your job right now.

Performance Contract

Add your name and contact information here

[Name, address, phone number of person hiring you] henceforth called “Client,” agrees to hire [Your Name], henceforth know as “Artist,” for a performance at [location] on [date].

Artist will provide pre-approved program which starts at [time] and ends at [time]. Client will pay Artist [fee] as compensation for this performance, payable via [check, cash, etc.] at the end of said performance.

Setup for the performance will be the responsibility of [client or artist’s name].

Tuning the piano will be the responsibility of the [client or artist].

If Client cancels the performance with less than [amount of time] before performance date, he/she will pay Artist [cancellation fee].

Artist may cancel the performance if [circumstances under which this may happen], and will forfeit all performance fees.

This contract is enforceable according to the laws and regulations of the state of [state].

Signed this [date] day of [month], [year].

[Artist signature and date]

[Client signature and date]


Discuss this topic in The Forums »