The P (pee) Factor

If you’re a new artist in London, these three words will shine in your mind as you see them for the first time:

PLATFORM

EXPERIENCE

EXPOSURE

Yes, if you’re new in this big city, you feel an immediate desire to PEE, and you’ll accept every opportunity you can get to PEE. You need a platform, a space where you can perform and show your work to the world. You also need to experience all sorts of challenges and get your own history in the arts business. Finally, you need to expose yourself and make sure that you’re seen by those who will make you build your career.

Be sure not to fall into the over-pee trap though, or you’ll end up with a crazy timetable of volunteer work that gets you nowhere.

THE OVER-PEE TRAP

During my first year in London, I was determined to take advantage of every opportunity that would come to me. One day I got in my college email the following message:

“I’m part of a nonprofit organization and they’re going to need a pianist for their launch event.There will be media coverage, wine, food and a whole load of high-profile guests (such as the dragon’s den investors, ambassadors of various countries, entertainment industry people etc.)

They’d need to play from about 6:30 for a few hours on and off — nice, relaxing, evening music.

Know anyone who might be interested? Be great if you can spread this around!’

Thanks x

Please let me know if anyone is interested! It is a good performance opportunity plus you’ll be seen by high-profile guests who might want to book you for their event!

The big trap of being a performing artist in London with a desire to PEE is that people start undervaluing the work of performers (specially student-performers). They don’t need to pay for our work, as there is always one person in this huge city who is willing (and desperate) to get the gig for free.

drawing 1

The graphic shows what I observed during the evening I took part in that event. It was a non-profit organisation, so they were selling expensive wine and doing all sorts of auctions. However, they did spend a lot of money in making the whole event very elegant, with great food and wine, wonderful marketing appearance and professional staff. I got to understand that the money raised in the event went to:

  • the organisers, who needed money for future market advertisements and (obviously) for their salary;
  • a considerable part for charity work, although far from the total of the amount;
  • all the high-standard marketing presentation of the organisation, with logos, promo videos, merchandising;
  • the stewards and catering staff, who assumed they weren’t there doing volunteering work.

And then there’s the background music provided by the volunteer entertainer. I played for 4 hours (!) with only one break for speeches. I spent money on travelling to the venue and time preparing repertoire.

bulgarian embassy

Here’s the picture of me playing at that event. I didn’t get to talk with many people, as they were almost all gone by the time I finished playing. The famous network environment wasn’t very profitable for me, as I wasn’t presented to anybody. By the time I came off of the piano, nobody was interested in meeting anyone.

The worst thing was when I went to have the dinner that I was promised to, and the organisers told me that the food was all gone hours ago.

credit: MaryLu Tyndall

As I walk past from that very posh event I was involved in, I felt like I just had had the lowest point in my music career. It was a breaking point for me and my London adventure. From this night on, I started to appreciate the true value of my work. We shouldn’t give away our daily hours and hours of sweat, motivation and dedication for people who show no recognition or gratitude whatsoever.

My general advice to anyone that is starting an independent life in London – and this is the motto that has been driving me through this journey – is to have two simple sentences in one’s mind:

London is big. I am bigger.

London might give us everything we want (and by everything I mean everything). But we cannot give it all away and allow it to swallow us.

Be open, but be also very selective.

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Go, Meet & Transform in London

Welcome to London Art GMT ! The place where you have to start, if you want to succeed in the Art world in London.

This blog will give you lots of tips to embrance the arts in London and to let everyone embrace your art! It’s all about GOING, MEETING & TRANSFORMING. If you really experience something and create your own story in London, you firstly need to say YES to the right opportunity that comes to you. And you will find many more opportunities to be creative in London than you expect, but you’ve got to select the ones you’re more passionate about and in which you feel you have something special to say! Because let’s face it, in such a huge city like London, there are thousands of creative minds hungry for opportunities, and chances are that all of them are better than you in a specific area, just because they all SPECIALISE in what makes them unique. So if you want to make it in Europe’s city of dreams, you need to find what really drives you and what you think is special about you. Then the easy part comes, you just have to show the world how passionate and unique you are.

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say YES to London, embrace the arts and live the moment !!
(by the way, nice YES installation in Greenwich Park)

I am a Portuguese concert pianist, in search of my uniqueness as I live and experience arts in London. I often go abroad to perform in classical concerts, as it’s not easy to survive performing classical in London only. I am also very passionate about Musical Theatre (yeah, it’s the right city to be in then), so I am gradually building my training in order to make the most of my piano skills in the MT world.

Here’s my website, just in case someone wants to find out more:

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www.edgar-cardoso.com

I train at Trinity Laban Conservatoire, which has the most beautiful campus on earth (full description and lots of pics will be posted soon!). This blog was created as a project for the London Study Ambassador Programme. As I am the International Student Ambassador for Trinity Laban, I am part of a very special team of 17 representatives from London universities, and we will take part in the most incredible adventures around London, experiencing it in the most elegant way!

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London Study Ambassadors. I’m the first boy appearing on the left side.

Being the only performing arts representative in the group, I get to promote this city in a very different way from my partners. I hope you enjoy reading my tips along the way. Those come from a true experience of life in the trendiest art centre of the world!!