Social media: 5 things every musician needs to remember

Check out five top tips from our BMus tutor Ben Jones on how musicians can use social media wisely...


As you know, social media is an important part of the modern musicians’ tool kit.

Not only is it a cost-free way of marketing yourself but essential to connecting with others and finding additional opportunities.

At the same time, social networking is not without its downsides. If you’re at a gig these days, then there will be as many people filming the performance as those watching. And for musicians and artists, they need to be wary of being consumed by social media to the detriment of their music or, in some cases, mental health.

Ben Jones, Performance Coordinator on ICMP’s BMus course, recently explored the subject at our Research and Development (R&D) Conference.

Check out Ben's five essentials musicians need to remember when it comes to social and their online presence...  

Social media is growing faster than anything imaginable

By the end of 2017 Instagram had 700m daily users. More than one in three British 15-year-olds are “extreme internet users” who spend at least six hours a day online. And social media is at the heart of this.

91 percent of 16-24 year olds online are on there to interact with social media. The figures are staggering and show that social media is not only here to stay, but growing at an astonishing rate…

Social media is necessary for musicians

Music by its very nature is social. Playing music is a social activity but if you want to make a career from it, then you need to engage with others too, whether that be in person or through social media platforms. These channels offer you free advertising so it’s tough to be a musician in 2018 without a fairly active social media account.

Remember that online life is edited

The most important thing to understand is that social media can be edited. This means you’re seeing what somebody wants you to see and not necessarily reality.

When it comes to imagery or videos, it’s really important that you remember that you’re only going to see the highlights. No one puts the bad part or the bloopers online." 

However, it is essential to remember that these mistakes have most likely happened behind the scenes and you are seeing the “perfect” take.

With media, you can pick and choose what goes up there - if you see a great video of a performance, there might have been 40 takes of it before it went live. People need to remember that there was a journey to get there and that journey is an essential part of what makes a musician.

Success is rooted in knowing every aspect of yourself: both good and bad

This applies whether you want to be successful as a musician or even a person! You need to embrace every aspect of who you are - so learning from the things that you don’t do so well alongside the things that you do well, or you know you’re bad at and taking responsibility for both sides.

Give meaningful reward to your successes and embody that same mentality for your failures or struggles.

Hearing about your flaws and the areas that you can improve is an essential part of growth as a person. It’s empowering and powerful. It’s understanding that this is also part of a life-long journey of learning as a musician." 

Seeing the journey and not the destination allows us to be grateful and enjoy all aspects of improving our craft as musicians because we see the whole picture (life-long fulfillment) rather than focussing on singular events (bad gig/rehearsal). One of my favourite quotes is: “Champions are forged in the crucible of defeat.”

Being human is what makes us unique  

Every time you make a mistake you’ll learn more. Music shouldn’t be perfect all the time. You don’t just go to a gig to hear something that is perfect. You go for the real experience and the journey from start to finish.

For example, The Who's 'Live at Leeds' album is riddled with mistakes - but it’s human, it’s full of passion and that’s what makes it so powerful. It is this human quality that will (hopefully) stand the test of time as technology continues to replicate more and more human abilities...

Read our previous blog from the R&D event with our tutor Leddra Chapman on beating performance anxiety. 

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by Jim Ottewill
August 1, 2018
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