How To Make an NPR Tiny Desk Concert Submission (On a Budget)

Tiny Desk Concerts - Wikipedia

Have you always wanted to submit a killer entry to NPR and become the next Tiny Desk Superstar? Every year thousands of aspiring musicians work to become the next Tiny Desk champion.

But many very talented singer-songwriters refrain from submitting because they don’t know how to create a great Tiny Desk Submission. Fear of rejection and tons of expenses stand in the way of making it big…But that’s no longer a problem with this simple guide!

Read on to find out how to make a Grade A Tiny Desk submission at a very low price!

1. It’s Called A Tiny Desk Concert for a reason

You can’t do a Tiny Desk submission without a desk. It should go without saying, but one of the most common mistakes people make is forgetting to include the Desk. This is grounds for instant rejection.

The problem with desks is that they are expensive, cumbersome and serve no purpose other than as a prop for a Tiny Desk concert. I recommend this Alaso brand Computer Desk from Amazon.

It’s cheap, sleek, and the perfect accouterments  to your concert. Clocking in at just over $40, you won’t break the bank buying this desk.

Once you’re done filming your submission you can chop it up with an axe and use it for firewood. Many people spend over $40 a year on fire wood, so this way you are SAVING money as opposed to spending.

2. Wrong or Write?

Young Man Playing Guitar Stock Photo, Picture And Royalty Free Image. Image  10996680.

Now that you’ve got your desk you need to write the perfect song to submit to NPR. There are so many genres of music that it can be a daunting task to choose which genre to begin with.

I recommend scrolling through your iTunes library and determining which artists you like the most. It could be a Pop Singer, a Country Singer, a Rap singer or even Indie. Any genre can be submitted to NPR Tiny Desk.

Once you’ve determined your preferred genre, sit down and write your song. If you’ve already ordered the desk from Amazon, you can use the desk to sit down at while you compose your masterpiece.

Staff Paper for Duets sheet music refill | Etsy

Don’t forget to load up on Music Paper so you can write out your song! If you don’t write down the notes of your song you could easily forget it!

3. Find Your Spielberg

What is Film Stock? (with pictures)

Filming a great Tiny Desk submission can be challenging. Buying or renting state of the art camera equipment is not only expensive but the learning curve is enormous. No one has the time to flip through all of those camera manuals.

Luckily every city is packed to the gills with capable filmmakers who are willing to help! Find your Spielberg by going on a website called and posting in the “Gigs” section. Mention that this is an unpaid internship, but that it will be a great resume booster that will lead to gigs down the road.

University of Georgia students post Craigslist ad for HIT MAN | Daily Mail  Online

This is a tried and true strategy that works every time. Once your Spielberg films your Tiny Desk concert ask them for the footage. You have no obligation to talk to them ever again.

I recommend blocking their email address and phone number to be safe. If you follow my advice, you will have a very good chance of winning the contest, at which point they may become resentful and ask for compensation. Avoid this at all costs by blocking them before it becomes an issue.

4. Pay to Play

ᐈ Woman with money stock pictures, Royalty Free woman money images |  download on Depositphotos®

NPR is a non-profit. Non-profits are companies that ask people for money all the time. It goes without saying that everything in this world has a price. The more you donate to NPR, the higher your chances of winning their Tiny Desk concert competition.

You may have noticed that winning entries from various years are not that good. That’s because the winners were high rollers in terms of their NPR donations.

I’ve figured out a flawless hack to bypass this system. Simply take out a line of credit and donate a large sum to NPR. Your submission will likely win. You can then use the grand prize money to pay off the credit that you took out, leaving you with a great credit score and a championship Tiny Desk status.

5. Conclusion

Creating a winning Tiny Desk Concert video is no easy task. But with this guide it just got a whole lot easier!

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