Performing At House Parties

By: Jerry A. Greene

Performing house parties, is quickly becoming a really popular opportunity for bands and solo artists.

It's Not Just Cocktail Piano

Normally, when you hear of a musician playing a private party, you think of a cocktail pianist, or a string quartet. Although these artists still get a majority of the private-party market, the numbers of in-home opportunities have been growing.

Private In-Home Concert

Instead of just providing background music, as in the cocktail piano and string quartet example above, it is becoming a popular choice to have "private concerts". These concerts are the focal-point of the evening. Instead of people just passively listening to the music, they are watching and listening to the band! The setting is just like as if you were at a club, bar, or even major venue, but instead are in someone's house, or backyard.

Hosting Your Own Concert

The first thing you may want to try, is to put together a party at your own house. This will give you the idea of how you would set everything up, and give you the experience you need to put another concert together at someone else's house. It's also a great chance to video, and photograph the concert for your promotional materials and website. Promotion is relatively easy. Ask all of your band mates to talk to their close friends and only invite the amount of people that you think your house can hold. You don't want to go super-big on this, unless you have a huge house on a ranch. Depending on the type of music and crowd, you may find that this can become one super "frat-house-like" party. If that's not what you want, then be very careful

Lower Volumes

If you are playing inside of a house, your obviously going to need to lower your volume. You don't want to blast everyone out of the house and more importantly, you don't want to have neighbors complain and have the police arrive.

Other People's House Parties

Once you have an idea of how you would go about doing these type of gigs, you'll want to venture out and find some! Here are some ideas to help you get some gigs:

  • Your Biggest Fans - Let them know that you are available to do a house party, and they just might ask you!
  • Postings At Music Stores - A lot of music stores have posting boards. Put up a pull-tab flyer letting people know that your band plays house-parties.
  • Your Friends - After attending your own house party, they may want to put one together themselves. Let them know that you're available!
  • Frat Houses - Depending on the type of music you play, this may be a perfect fit. Just remember that these types of parties can get very rowdy. Watch your gear, especially when you take breaks.

Getting Paid For House Parties

If you know anything about playing in clubs and bars, the payment systems can vary. When playing in someone's home, you'll want to know exactly how you are going to be paid. and you'll definitely want to figure this one out ahead of time. Are you going to be paid to play, or are you doing it for fun? Make sure that you are on the same wavelength with the people hosting you. You'll want to have a merchandise table with someone running it at all times. A twist on this can be charging a cover to enter, but instead of just being allowed into the party, they are given your latest CD. This is a sure way to make sure that everyone at the party buys your CD! Personally autograph the CDs and your sure to make the party feel like a VIP event!

One-on-One Promotion

House parties are the perfect place to talk to people one-on-one, simply because the numbers are generally so much lower than at a club. It's a much more "personal" environment and can make it a great place to socialize with fans. The greater you make the experience with you and your band, the more these people become huge fans, and spread the word about you. Make sure you make yourself available to talk to the guests. Also, make absolutely sure that you collect email addresses and add them to your mailing list!