Does a musician need to communicate visually?

We can all agree that music is a form of art, and thus has the function to communicate using its own language. 

As a musician, I believe that people become musicians and interpreters because they have found a way to communicate through their instrument, and to transmit their messages to a public with a desire to hear it. 


   30 years ago, in an Internet-free world, people would attend concerts through word-of-mouth, or newspaper articles. They attended concerts because it was an event... because it was exceptional. If a musician was good, and knew how to communicate through music on stage, then he would get good reviews and people would talk about him. If his talent continued, he would become successful and well-known. This was usually enough to be successful. 


   There are thousands and thousands of magnificent, brilliant musicians out there, as good as or even better than the most famous musicians 30 years ago. 

   For those musicians who are at the beginning of their careers, it’s no longer good enough to just be a good interpreter who can communicate through music. You need more than that to get concerts. 

   Because the community of excellent musicians has become over-populated, the audience is overwhelmed by all the emerging artists, the names of whom we know very few. Nowadays, there is a plethora of musicians who are anonymous to the public. The panorama is different now, and the rules have changed


   The most basic requirement for a musician today is to be very good, of course. He needs to communicate well through music, but also through other media. Musicians need to communicate their ideas, their way of seeing and their life within music over the internet, through press, radio, TV, words, images, videos, with a website, etc.

   We live in a visual world in which we consume with our eyes, and in our societies we take in a lot of visual information every day, with less and less time to reflect upon it. We react to strong, eye-catching images that appeal to us and have an emotional impact. 

   In the era of Facebook/Twitter and other social media, we only have time to scan through hundreds of posts, reading only the ones that catch our eye, without consciously knowing why. And it’s normally a strong image that makes us click and read more

So, if you want to communicate through the internet you must have a strong image!

Quatuor Diotima  - Discover the story behind this picture  here

Quatuor Diotima - Discover the story behind this picture here

But, how can you create this image? 

   The most important factor in communication is a coherence across all media, in all information, pictures, videos, texts, etc. that correspond with the musician. It is therefore indispensable that the musician knows what he wants to communicate.

I advise you to consider the following questions:

  • Who are you as a human being? (your talents, your passions, your roots, etc....)
  • What do you want to communicate?
  • How do you want to communicate it?
  • Who are your audience? For whom do you want to play?
  • What makes you different/special from other musicians?
  • Or: why you, not someone else?

   When you have answers to these questions, all of this communication can be coherent, because they are a result of your communication purposes. They reflect who you are and what you want to tell us as a human being and as a musician. 


   For people to remember you, you need a story; something that separates you from others and that the public will remember. My tip: what people like most is a story about the person, the musician, and his or her life and roots. 

We are living in an exciting time, with many changes. It’s a tough time for musicians, especially those just starting their careers, and that’s even harder if they want to play by the old rules. But, of course, a musician can be successful if he knows who he is, what he wants, and what makes him special. And I encourage each and every musician to find that out. 

Share your experience with us and this post with your friends.

Be creative, and be yourself. It’s an exciting path!