Anyone who has ever taken Marketing 101 knows that knowing my target market is one of the most effective way to be successful. As a singer and/or teacher you are probably thinking there are plenty of ways this is relevant but ... just in case... here are my top 5 reasons we singers need to know my target audience.
Looking at the lyrics of the song a singer must name who their character is singing. This is one way we know the target audience. If I were singing Heart, We Will Forget Him (A. Copland and E. Dickinson) I know that I am singing to my heart. This song becomes introspective and thoughtful, almost as if I were writing in my journal. If I were singing to a person 20 feet away whose name was Heart I would do this song quite different.
Who will I be singing for? When I am coming up with songs to sing for different groups of people I cater to their desires a bit and also look for things that are approachable but challenging. This past recital I sang "Thank you for the Music" from Mamma Mia instead of a provocative Italian song. My students are ages 7-adult and I think my elementary aged students appreciated the lighter choice. When I chose a song to send to my Grandparents I sent a beautiful arranged folk art song, they were able to recognize the tune but the arrangement made it into an art song.
We must also be award of when we choose music for listening that we consider those around us. An example of this in my day to day is our tea times with my kiddos. During this time I listen to classical music with my kids but I always have something to ask about the piece. Let's say that day we listened to John Adams Shaker Loops, my question might be, "Did the song have a lot of repetition or patterns or did it sound different a throughout?"
There is the obvious example of when you are cast for a gig. Your audience is your patron.
Choosing music for students! This is one of the hardest and most fun things to do with student singers. Knowledge about the voice, range, tessitura and subject matter is crucial. I find it so challenging to be a jack of all trades with any type of genre. When I have a student who loves musicals and listens to far more than me I will take their ideas through a filter and help guide them to the appropriate piece. Your audience as a teacher is your students but you are also helping your student develop their own audience.
I would love to hear how you Know Your Target Audience!