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Being a YouTube Pianist (Read 1663 times)

Offline opus10no2

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Being a YouTube Pianist
« on: July 29, 2012, 03:50:42 PM »
Personally, I see this as THE real future of piano media and exposure, and a truly democratic way of letting cream rise to the top, as opposed to the rather dictatorial and corrupt route of piano competitions...
What I'd like to discuss is how we could best approach this and get our playing out there...

1 - production values...wise to invest in 4 things.....a, the use of a great instrument ...b, use of great sound equipment and mic placing/venue...c, quality HD visuals....d, good video editing and perhaps creative use of multiple angles.

2 - essential standards and repertoire choice....should you play all the hackneyed classics for exposure or mix it up a bit?

3 - a USP - unique selling point....how do you stand out in a competitive environment? why would someone click to view your video over others?

I'd really appreciate input and advice as this is my plan..and I'm curious who else on here would consider the same. 
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Offline davidjosepha

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Re: Being a YouTube Pianist
«Reply #1 on: July 29, 2012, 06:38:04 PM »
I agree with this, in many ways. The main issue is that non-musicians often have very bad ears. For instance, relatively famous and very talented violinist Joshua Bell participated in an experiment where he dressed in casual clothes and did a street performance in NYC (I think). He left out his hat or case to accept money. At the end of the night, he had about 2 people who recognized him and his talent, and, in his violin case, about the same amount of money as any other street performer. This he earned for playing repertoire on the street that people would pay hundreds of dollars to see in concert.

1. Yes, all of these are things that would make me much more inclined to watch a video on YouTube. I would never consider watching an amateur piano performance with very poor audio quality, and things such as good HD video, lighting, and a nice grand piano make me about 10 times more likely to watch it.

2. Unfortunately, starting out, you'll really only get exposure when people search for a particular piece and your video comes up. Most non-musicians would search for extremely common pieces. Even playing a well-known piece like Liszt's sonata would probably not be common enough of a search to get many views. However, after the first painful performances of K331 and Für Elise, you might start getting subscribers, at which point your videos of less common pieces would start getting views.

3. A clean title is actually one of the most helpful things when posting to YouTube, I find. Example: When searching YT for "mozart rondo alla turca", I received quite a few results. One such result had the title "Turkish march(Rondo Alla Turca ) -mp3 - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart". This, I think, could be the worst possible title for this piece of music. What people want to see is a short, quick way to tell if it's what they're looking for. The first thing this person did wrong is poor syntax. No space between "m" and "(" and an unnecessary space after "Turca". Second thing, is the "-mp3-". What was the point of that? It's not even an mp3, even if that's what he originally got it from. Third thing is that he included Mozart's entire name. If someone wanted to know that his name was Wolfgang Amadeus, they would have looked on Wikipedia. Simply "Mozart" would have sufficed and made it much easier to read. Lastly, poor capitalization. English titles have all (important) words capitalized while most other languages only capitalize the first word, along with any other standard capitalization rules (proper nouns, for example). I would have submitted the title as "Mozart - Ronda alla turca, K. 331". It's best to keep it concise, especially considering that if it's not too short, the title will get cut off in search results and someone might even miss the full name of the piece.

The other thing with titles that many YouTubers do is put the name of the performer in it when they ARE the performer. David Anderson is not a very famous person, I don't think, so in the video of me playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, I wouldn't put "David Joseph Anderson XVII, Third Earl of Normandy - TTLS". Nobody cares what your name is before they've seen the video because no one is searching for a video of you playing at this point. You can include your name in the information area under the video so that anyone impressed by your performance and who wants to hear more about you knows who you are

Another helpful thing is a good thumbnail. I'd say the most attractive thing for me in a thumbnail of the video is a sort of "over the shoulder" view of the pianist at the piano. A strict side view is boring and screams "I videoed my 5-year-old's first piano recital!".

Maybe someday I'll consider this. I'm nowhere near good enough at the moment. I'd like to somehow make a career in music, but I'm not going to pretend like money doesn't matter to me, and I really don't want to teach. So, my options are limited. I'm about to start my first year as a math major and will continue studying piano on the side. I don't want to be famous (which is good, because there's no chance of that!), but I would like the opportunity to perform with orchestras (piano concertos are, I think, the epitome of music) and to have free or cheap solo recitals that would attract a moderate number of people in the area. It's very hard, I know, to compete in a world where there's always someone better than you, but my comfort is that in moderately sized towns, there are fewer than 50 people, I would guess, who can play the piano at a very high level, and among them, very few who actually perform publicly.