Hey everyone! Happy New Year! Boy, 2014 was an amazing year, and it looks like 2015 is going to be even better!
Fun fact, in 2014 we experienced the last consecutive date of the millennium: December 12, 2019 (12.13.14)! The next truly consecutive date will be January 2, 2018, and I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say that you and I won’t be around for that! 😀
Aside from being the last consecutive date for another thousand years or so, December 12th was also the date of the world’s first #MusiciansInstaMeet!
Before I go too in depth about the #MusiciansInstaMeet, I should probably explain what an InstaMeet is in the first place! In the realm of Instagram, photographers rule. Because of Instagram’s simplicity of posting, liking, and commenting on pictures, many of these photographers developed friendships! As these friendships grew, the photographers started organizing events called InstaMeets where they would get together to share apps, stories, and deepen their bonds! This became so widespread, that entire countries began to host Worldwide InstaMeets, drawing in photographers from across the globe! The networking potential and of these Instameets was unfathomable! Even today, InstaMeets are continuing to be organized, and these cultural events have become an indispensable part of Instagram!
What does that mean for musicians though? Well, for the first few years before the implementation of a video feature, musicians were unable to share their work on Instagram at all. Then, in June 2013, Instagram changes the game. They allowed their users to upload 15 second long videos! Although this was an obvious jab at Vine, it created new, 3rd dimension to storytelling: sound.
Since this implementation, musicians from all over the world have been posting videos of them playing music! Through Instagram, and underground culture of video stitching, collaboration, and composition is emerging! 15 seconds is super unique, for it is long enough to get a significant musical point across, but it is also short enough to create interesting, engaging content on a consistent basis!
Remember how I was referencing the importance of social media in the future of classical music? This is what I was talking about! We classical musicians have an opportunity to connect with people across the world using our music!
Now, I know some people are thinking, “Well, that’s what YouTube is for, right?”
Yes, I suppose so. But I personally think that YouTube is becoming more of a main stage where one builds a nice, well-produced portfolio of their work! You have to ability to really make a name for yourself, but you also have a LOT of competition to cut through! Instagram, however, is still a fresh, new market. Comparatively few musicians are doing anything on Instagram->ESPECIALLY Classical Musicians.
Aside from just posting pictures and little clips of yourself playing, there are an infinite number of ways to engage your audience in a unique way! For example, I personally give #tipsandtricks videos where I share little tricks I have learned at Juilliard that have made my playing better->or I answer the questions and requests of my followers! A lot of them ask for vibrato help, so I post different ways to think about producing vibrato! Every tip seems to help at least one person, and when I state it another way, another person finally gets it! It’s a really fun way to help people become more invested in what we do as musicians.
For a few months last year, my friend @hungrymusician came up with an idea for #ThrowBACHThursday where we post videos or pictures about J.S. Bach every Thursday and encouraged others to do the same! We emphasized creativity and I pledged to permanently feature our favorite clip or pic on my page! Not only was this a motivator for people to get out there and think of creative ways to share the work and life of Bach, but it also brought awareness and a sense of community around Bach’s music!
Like I said in my last post, the key to saving classical music is through the INCLUSION of our audiences. If we include our audiences, we may create amateurs, and let’s face it, amateurs are the reason classical music got popular in the first place! In a day where chamber music was king, people would gather in private parlors and salons to read chamber music! In a way, I feel like Instagram is helping us return to that tradition, all through our phones..
So, what the heck is a #MusiciansInstaMeet?
Essentially, I conceived of the #MusiciansInstaMeet as an event where musicians of all type get together to share Instagramming ideas, deepen existing bonds, facilitate collaboration, and take lots of pictures together!
Held in the Kaufman Dance Studio of The Juilliard School, the world’s first #MusiciansInstameet was as special as the day it was held on! Musicians who I have been following for over a year were flocking to Juilliard to meet ME? WHAT?? It was so crazy and exciting, I can’t even tell you! I have found that the culture and psychology of Instagram attracts some of the nicest, giving, and passionate people around. Complete strangers were having full blown conversations, laughing, jamming on their respective instruments, and taking pictures together!!!
The musicians that showed up weren’t just from Juilliard or even New York! We had people coming from New Jersey, Boston, Connecticut, Philadelphia, and CANADA!! You know you have something special going on when you have people traveling from other countries!!!
After being on Instagram for a little over a year now, I can assure you that the culture and psychology of Instagram attracts some of the most sincere, giving, and passionate people to its platform. Whenever I post something (and this goes for most of the people I’ve talked to as well), there is overwhelmingly positive feedback that floods your way! Instagram is a lovefest! Everyone is encouraging and inspiring each other to create even better content! They’re NOTHING like the literal cancer of YouTube comments. Don’t believe me? Go look at the comment section of any video with over 100,000 views…you’ll see what I mean haha
All in all, the #MusiciansInstaMeet proved to be just as special as the date it took place on! I kid you not, I solidified lifetime friendships with people I had met through this wonderful platform, and I keep getting clamors to host another one! The important point I wanted to drive home is this: INCLUSION is the key to saving classical music.
Classical Music isn’t sustained by the professionals. It’s sustained by the people who love to see the professionals play. Audience building is key, and since most people are on social media these days, why not start there?
I have people from all across the world asking me to host an #InstaMeet in their country. A vast majority of them aren’t even musicians! That’s the crazy part! I can personally say that about five people have told me that they are pursing music because of what so many musicians are doing on Instagram. We are literally changing the game! If we start including more people on our journey as musicians, who knows how many music lovers will be born?
I don’t mean to say all of this to boast! I merely want to drive home the fact that in some small part, this is working! Now is the time to change our strategy of reaching people! Let’s try new things! Let’s fail a bit! However, it is most important to show people that classical music has something for everyone!
I hope you all are having a fantastic new year! I wish you all the best! Until next time!