I’m not the only musician fostering a love/hate relationship with social media. The other day, I lamented that there was this constant pressure to provide evidence of work- and worth. There’s a lot to be curated: a web site, social media streams, interactions with power players, cultivating fans and collaborators, scheduling performances to give these people something to latch onto. Sometimes that part of it feels like a full-time job- I sometimes wonder when we’re supposed to be doing the thing we’re expected to spend all of this time selling?
Alexis Del Palazzo is a big part of the love in my love/hate relationship with the internet. We met on Twitter as like-minded instructors and have started putting together a network of other professionals to serve as a system of support, insight and professional development. We’ve been brainstorming lately, mostly about doing some kind of joint master class/webinar/something fabulous and we got to talking about maybe performing together. While we may end up doing a small live performance when I go up to see her (or she comes down to see me), she excitedly asked me if I was interested in the new Virtual Recital project, which gorgeous songbird Hannah Kim founded this May with vocalist Travis Johnson as artistic director and Alexis on board as program director.
Since I apparently live under a rock, I had to ask her what it was. Confession: I was dreading the answer, thinking it would be some kind of selling platform for people’s indie releases. As it turns out, it’s like a Google hangout had a baby with a master class performance, in your house. Streaming recitals by musicians in countless countries, instantly archived and made available to an ever wider audience. What makes me excited about this venture (that I am not affiliated with) is an extension of my overall philosophy about music- you can perform for 4 people or 4000, but it’s all meaningful. Your living room concert doesn’t have to be attended in person for it to be enjoyed by people all over the world. You also don’t need to construct an epic 77 minute program to have something to say, musically. I’ve often wanted to put together a recital of “just desserts”- my favorite movements of four or five works, under 30 minutes, with conversation added in. This is how that can happen. And if people don’t listen to the live stream, the recitals are all put up on YouTube.
Most importantly, tolerance and an expansive world view are in the mission statement. You know that I’ve had enough of the snobs for one lifetime. I am heartened that there is a new enterprise designed to promote these principles, not a close circle of people who want publicity and to feel better by excluding others. To this end, there are interviews with people discussing absolutely relevant stuff: self-image, business approach, facing uncertainty, etc.
The VR series leaves people like me little excuse not to perform and participate. I’m inspired, and wanted to pass it along to the rest of my peeps, who might otherwise feel like you don’t have a venue or a large enough program to justify the hassle of putting on a performance, or a way of seeing more music because of where they live or a busy schedule.
It’s kind of getting back to what chamber music was, really. Music. In your room.
Find out more about the Virtual Recital Series.
Follow the very flutey, very down to earth Alexis Del Palazzo on Twitter. Only if you want to just love her to death, though.