Q1: What is your name and musical/artistic profession? Which city or town are you based?
Q2: When collaborating with musicians, composers or other people on a new piece, which method of communication do you prefer and why: e-mail, phone, video chat, etc.?
Q3: How often do you think composers, musicians and others should communicate about projects?
Q4: Why should, or shouldn’t, it matter if the person commissioning a new piece of music has a musical background or experience?
Q5: Referring to Internet etiquette, or “Netiquette,” what are the best or worst ways to handle situations where collaborators do not reply to your messages?
Q6: How should you react in a situation where the person who commissions a new work dislikes the finished musical product?
Q7: When is it a good or bad time to address or negotiate a payment for a commissioned work or collaboration?
Q8: What has been your experience with working on commissions or collaborations with strict, timed deadlines?
Q9: When should composers, musicians or others (properly) decline a commission or collaboration opportunity?
Q10: What was the best or worst commission or collaborative experience that you had in recent memory?
I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the detailed responses and criticisms for this discussion. Here are condensed versions of some of the important takeaways from the forum topic:
- Commissions and collaborations depend on the type of project and who commissions them. Commissioners do not necessarily need to have a musical or artistic background to ask for a new work.
- If a person with whom you are collaborating does not respond to your messages in a long time (for more than one week, for instance), send a gentle reminder. Do not, under any circumstances, harass them or publicly write angry posts/tweets/etc. about how they have not answered. Doing so demonstrates unprofessional behavior and is completely unacceptable.
-If a person who commissions a piece of music dislikes the finished product, do not get angry with them. Either accept that the project did not work and that mistakes were made, or try talking with the commissioner to see how similar problems can be avoided for the future.
- Discussions about payment for a commission or collaboration should be completed at the very beginning of a project: usually, in the form of a contract that lets the people involved know how much the commissioner is willing to pay and other details.
-A composer or musician can decline a commission or collaboration opportunity whenever they want to--usually, under the following circumstances:
+ They do not have the time.
+They are not receiving payment for their work.
+ They cannot complete the piece within a given deadline.
+ The performer does not like the finished piece or loses interest in the project.
More information about commissioning new music is available through other websites, like the American Composers Forum: composersforum.org/resources/commissioning-by-individuals/