How to market yourself as a musician

Published 30 Sep, 2019

We all know that making it on Instagram can be tough, as is making it as a classical musician -- but when the two are combined, it can seem completely out of reach. Let’s take a look at some of the best marketed musicians on Instagram and see what we can take away from their profiles:


Followers: 120k

Aesthetic: Aquamarine and tangerine 

Projects: Faking Notes Podcast, jamming with Vitamin String Quartet, collaborations with Marriott Hotels

One of the reasons I enjoy following Drew is that despite being very polished (notice the personalized icons for his story highlights, as well as the general tones of tangerine and aquamarine that pervade his photo grid), his captions ring of authenticity and genuine sentiment. In a recent post, he described Schubert as “slept on.” I couldn’t get that phrase out of my head, and it’s probably because I’ve been sleeping on Schubert. 

If you’ve been following Drew for a while, you’ll know all about his trials and tribulations of auditioning for major orchestras. When Drew got rejected from the LA Phil Resident Fellows program, he posted a screenshot of his rejection on Instagram. He doesn’t hide his disappointment. He basks in it. And we like him all the more for it. 

Takeaways from That Viola Kid: 

  1. Consider having an aesthetic “brand” or concept that links all of your posts. This will make it easier to come up with a visual narrative behind your account. 

  2. At the same time, keep it genuine in the captions. We all know that visually, Instagram is the highlight reel of your life. But people also want to relate to the person they’re following.



Followers: 61.5k 

Aesthetic: Tidy, bright shots of NYC

Projects: online violin lessons, vlogging, travel, music festivals

I started following Sumina about a year ago. She’s a current violin student at Julliard, and her insta stories often detail the saga of securing a practice room, or running around with other music students. She’s shown up on the account of @raychenviolin, and he on hers. (There are definitely some lingering questions there...)

One of the reasons I love following Sumina is that despite the chaos of the city -- for surely, living in New York can’t be all that clean and tidy -- her posts are upbeat, cheerful, and all about the music. Her feed looks like Marie Kondo gave her a personal lesson on “sparking joy.” She’s shared videos of Julliard’s orchestra rehearsal, photos of dried flowers next to her violin, short clips of her technique, and of herself in front of a checkered wall. Her posts seem like a breath of fresh air next, especially compared to more negative or critical grids. 

Takeaways from Sumina Studer:

  1. Try to ensure that something about your online presence sparks joy: it could be the humor of your captions, the bright photos you post of rehearsal spaces, or something else entirely. You can keep your posts light and happy while still maintaining an interested fanbase. There’s so many other websites we can go to find doomsday reports of death and destruction. 

  2. You can be a student musician and still have a loyal following. Sumina proves there’s real curiosity out there about the daily life of a music student, and that you by no means have to be a full time professional to have a music insta.

Written by Melia Wong

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