Band Fund Raising
Band fund raising lets you turn music into money. If you have a lot of musical talent, put it to good use by trying out one of the band fund raising events listed below. Your event may be smaller than Live Aid, but it might be just as successful in its own way. Just remember to choose music designed to put people in a charitable mood - no death metal!
Playing music in the street might raise a substantial sum of money from appreciative passers-by. One of the advantages of busking is that people are unlikely to stop and listen for very long, so you won't need to rehearse as much material as you would for a sit-down concert. Choose a small selection of upbeat songs, preferably with well-known tunes. Busking is not the time to indulge in experimental music, so stick to tried and tested pieces. The disadvantage of busking is that different states have different laws about it, and you will have to make sure that you are within the law. This usually means applying for a permit. However, "busking" on private property means fewer legal worries. See if your workplace or school will let you play and collect donations on the premises.
Battle of the Bands
This kind of event is a little like American Idol. The idea behind it is that bands, usually rock bands, play a song and then the audience votes for their favorite band. It usually involves a lot of organization, but can be very popular. Bands may argue over who gets to play when, but you may be able to reduce the squabbles by asking them to draw lots for their place in the billing.
The right number of bands for a Battle of the Bands event is probably around ten. Too few, and the evening will be too short; too many, and the audience will become too bored to give the bands a fair hearing. Remember that problems with equipment are inevitable, and allow extra time for each band to set up their gear and deal with problems.
If you are lucky enough to have more than four good local bands wanting to enter your Battle of the Bands event, you could turn it into a longer-running event where bands are either knocked out or voted into the next round. However, this requires even more organization and hard work than a one-night Battle of the Bands, as well as hiring a venue for two or more nights. You will probably find that the costs and the effort outweigh the financial gains for a longer-running event.
This may seem like the highbrow side of band fund raising, but it can still be easy to organise and very popular. It's easiest of all to organise if you are at school and part of the school orchestra, or if your workplace has a band of musicians who already like to meet and practice. That way, you just have to persuade the existing group to do something a little different for a good cause. At school, you may be able to use the assembly hall or the gym for your recital. You may even be able to perform at lunchtime, when most people will be glad of the entertainment. (Evening recitals have to compete with people's other evening plans and commitments.)
Try to vary the kind of music you play, from well-known tunes to get the audience humming along, to more obscure pieces designed to show off your skill. If your orchestra members love the spotlight, you could have a little audience interaction, perhaps by offering to play a few requests.
Band fund raising doesn't have to include a division between fundraising performers and a paying audience. Perhaps your contributors would like to play too. If your skill with an instrument is sufficient for you to teach, why not hold a music workshop or two? People pay to come along and have a lesson. If you are doing this at school, you may be able to borrow musical instruments from the music department and hold a lesson with several people. If not, you will probably have to stick to one-to-one tuition.