Like it or not, social media is not only here to stay, but also an integral part of the professional musician’s career.
Our path has never been an easy one: learning one’s craft and honing our musical skills on our chosen instruments. As times change, this musical foundation has become a smaller portion of our required skill set, making way for other vital areas. One of which, since the advent of social media and the onset of a pandemic, is self-promotion on platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
The positive aspect of social media is that you can be connected with people from all around the world. (The negative—that your parents now know what you’re doing all the time.)
Gone are the days when just turning up on time and playing well would ensure one’s work security. Now you have to spend more time posting on social media about your gig than musically preparing for it. It can be an overwhelming task, but have no fear—I’m here to take a lot of the guesswork out of it for you. So here we go with the Professor’s Guide to Mastering Social Media.
The most important rule about your posts is that is has to be all about you. Earthquake in Asia? Tell everyone how it affects you. Global pandemic? Get together with your famous tone-deaf friends and sing Imagine.
Okay, so let’s put this self-obsession into practice, so we can rack up those likes on Facebook. Do you have an achievement to brag about, but don’t want to seem like a douchebag? Well, you can maximize your “likes” with something called the humblebrag.
-Make sure you start the post with “I’m humbled” or “I’m deeply honored’ and then proceed with your boast. (But don’t worry about seeming too humble—by starting your post with “I’m,” it’s clear that the focus is squarely on you.) In the old days, “I’m deeply honored” was reserved for self-sacrifice and meaningful life achievements, but those days ore over, thank goodness. Now you can feel deeply honored just for being mentioned in a magazine!*
-If you win an achievement: it’s vital that you shout out to all the other entrants who were “just as deserving,” even though you there’s not a chance in hell you’d give up your award to any of them.
Just remember the golden ratio: the more humbled you seem, the better your achievement will appear.
Instagram is like social media for people too lazy to write, doled out to people too lazy to read. It’s like the adult equivalent of a kid’s picture book, except there a lot more pictures of hot chicks posing in yoga pants acting spiritual. I’ve yet to find a way to incorporate this into my jazz career. (Preliminary tests with me in tight yoga pants have led to shrieks of horror at public parks. I’ll keep you updated.)
Here’s an advanced social media tip: get as many selfies with old musicians as you can. That way when they die, you can immediately post that selfie; then proceed to preach how they influenced you and affected your music. And watch the likes for your post come pouring in!
So I hope that helps you gain some attention in this new age of socially-endorsed self-admiration. And on a personal note, I would like to sincerely thank The Syncopated Times for publishing this month’s article. I am deeply honored, and truly humbled to have my writing included, considering all the other amazing writers that are published. I’m truly not worthy. But enough about me. Let’s talk about you. What do you think about me?
*the cynical tone of that remark is reserved for periodicals other than The Syncopated Times. If you are lucky enough to be given even a passing mention in a celebrated publication such as this; you get down on your unworthy knees and kiss the boots of the great Mr. Senior!!!
Reedman extraordinaire Adrian Cunningham is the leader of Professor Cunningham and his Old School Jazz Band, based in New York City. Adrian Cunningham was voted in a 2017 Hot House Jazz Magazine readers’ poll the Best Alto Sax Player in New York. His most recent album is Duologue, issued on the Arbors Jazz label. Visit him on the world wide web: www.adriancunningham.com.