I'll tell you a secret.
Being a known flute player has less to do with your abilities as a player and more to do with the value you give and share with the world.
No amount of practicing and winning will compensate for not being visible online. Today, at the age of entrepreneurs and content creators, combined with the events of the last few years, the path to success is rooted in our ability to stand out online by the agency of the value we offer others.
In contrast to the early 2000s, when I was an undergrad student studying the flute, today we all assume that everything worthy of knowing can be found online.
As the saying has it:
“If a tree falls in the woods, and nobody is around to hear it, and it hits a mime, does anyone care?”― Gary Larson, The Complete Far Side, 1980–1994
Just Do It
With no knowledge of coding or design, I finally embarked on creating my website in the fall of 2017. For someone who at that time had already been playing professionally for at least 16 years, I was terribly late to the party.
Back then, the options for non-coders to build a website were much fewer. I chose Wix because it looked easy enough to learn and had several design options. And so, I designed my first website and I got my own domain: www.naamaneuman.com!
My website has grown along with my career as a performer, arranger, educator, and has been redesigned several times and expanded to include a blog in the last summer. And given the technology and platforms available now, I’m thinking of making further changes!
What’s your story?
If you’re an undergraduate flute student, here are some of the reasons I think you‘ll benefit from having a website up and running as soon as possible:
Domain Getting your domain in your name is today’s equivalent of a valuable piece of land. In contrast to real estate, that address is global, and you don’t need permission to build there. In today's world, everyone benefits from having a website. Without one, especially if you’re a musician and performer, you’ll be falling behind.
Branding If you were born around 2000 you probably know better than me how significant your online persona is. While social media is a valuable tool for spreading your ideas, your website is completely yours and under your control. This means you can create the image you wish to project and share whatever you wish to share. Additionally, keeping your website up to date ensures that it grows with you and represents what you want rather than what the constantly changing social media algorithm dictates.
Digital Portfolio Everyone turns to the internet to learn about what others are doing. Digital portfolios are easy to keep up-to-date, and can include anything you wish to share that can’t fit in the common PDF resume. Whether it's your latest achievements, events, media, blogs and products, all are welcome. Young musicians, perhaps with less official success, may find a digital portfolio the most effective way to gain recognition. And don’t forget that contrary to a PDF resume (which is usually sent upon request), your website is working to represent you 24/7.
Developing skills for the entrepreneur age It’s time to acknowledge the new reality. The industrial age is over and we are now transitioning into the entrepreneurial age. Focusing on getting an orchestra job so someone else will take care of our financial and career needs, has been proven wrong in the last couple of years. Building a website will introduce you to SEO, Marketing, Sales (in the form of teaching, arrangements, concert tickets, etc), branding, design and more. As our world becomes more global and digitized, we need all these skills to keep up with other industries. Being the best at your instrument isn't enough. You need to know how to gain the world's attention.
Building your fan base Why do you follow someone on social media? - Because you get value from them. After all they have given you, is it more likely that you’ll support them if they ask?Of course you would.
"Your story needs to move people's spirits and build their goodwill, so that when you finally do ask them to buy from you, they feel like you've given them so much it would be almost rude to refuse.” - Gary Vaynerchuk
Cultivating your fan base and having a direct line to them is more valuable than gold. Even if you are just starting out on your journey, you have a lot to give others. With a website, like-minded people could find you more easily. With time and by sharing more and more, your fan base will grow and so will your influence. Having a website allows you to create a hub for all of your social platforms and to have more direct and personal interactions with your followers.
Additional value for young flute players
We are very fortunate to be able to play the flute because of its beautiful sound and inspiring repertoire. However, it comes at a price - a lot of competition. So how can a website help you stand out?
By building your website you'll also be developing your brand. This will set you apart from everyone else and position you as a figure of authority.
Just like performing on the flute, understanding our audience online and how to present ourselves effectively to them takes time and practice. The sooner you start, the more time you'll have for developing your skills and expertise, and that will better your chances of receiving more opportunities.
If you want people to know about you, you need to be easily fundable. It takes time for your website to be at the top of Google search results and for your name to come up when searching for words related to who you are and what you do. To get it there you’ll need to learn about SEO (Search Engine Optimizer) and invest the time to develop and improve it. Like anything else that takes time, it's wise to start early.
Create your first website for free
As there are so many options for creating websites nowadays, and costs have never been lower, it's a no-brainer to have one setup as soon as possible. But like anything else, it's not easy to take the first step.
To get you started for free and fast, I’m working on templates and tutorials to help you build your first website in under an hour. This is how imperative I think it is for you to have a website!
Until then, here’s a quick look at what I managed to build for free using three apps: notion.so - The base for the website. super.so - For creating a better looking website. Simple URL and Social Network Buttons. chilipepper.io - For embedding a Contact Form.
Check it out: https://naamaneuman.super.site/
For the Notion template on which this site was built please click the following link and sign up for Notion (the free version is more than enough).
If you wish to make it your own, duplicate the template and change the text, photos, YouTube links with yours.
Sign up for Notion: www.notion.so Naama's Notion Website Template: https://edition-neuman.notion.site/Naama-Neuman-Home-1-52c67d5dca3943979eafac2ae8624c2c
Reach out if you need help and I'm looking forward to seeing your website!